Happy New Year to all followers of Northern Breeze,
Last year in Sri Lanka saw the erosion between the Prime Minister from United National Party (UNP) and the President from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) reaching an all-time low with the President suspending the 225 member legislature, to give time to the newly appointed Prime Minister from his party the SLFP with around 100 law makers to gather more support through defections from UNP the party when the current Prime Minister’s government was overthrown. The lawmakers of the minority political parties the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) in opposition refused to support the newly installed regime of the President instead supported the UNP camp at a time both rival camps claimed they had the majority. This act would take these minority parties into the history, as the great contribution to the development of democracy in this country. But it was the gigantic mass uprising for democracy that was unique and the national unity was inspiring in a spirit of solidarity to people that forced the President to accept defeat and was promptly reinstated the ousted Prime Minister.
Then the abrasion opened up again with another controversy when the announcement came that the displaced Prime Minister would be the new Leader of the Opposition in parliament; this led to a similar to earlier situation of having two Prime Ministers, where there are currently two Leaders of the Opposition and the TNA leader who holds the post challenged it stating that he is yet to be formally removed. The appointment of former president, who was voted out in 2015 to get a corruption free government as the opposition leader is a paradox and a legal question arises whether a member of the President’s party could be given the Leader of the Opposition’s position. Once again the judiciary needs to be called on to look into the legal aspects of the conflict and ways of ending it. It is essential that politicians in general and their leaders in particular should be held accountable for the actions and assertions they make if the people are to have confidence in governance.
In 2015 the government formed by the two main parties UNP and SLFP in alliance with few small parties were mandated to get a clean administration in place and in opposition were the two main minority political parties that included JVP from the southern region that managed to get out of its anti-democratic reputation and the TNA that gave voice in parliament to those with this reputation who controlled northern region of the country. Both these minority parties understood the nature of the crisis in democracy and in the four years that passed kept their independence and played a role of a political giant to move politics in the correct direction. TNA demanding devolution of powers to resolve ethnic issues backed the government to introduce a new constitution to guarantee political freedom for the minorities. Earlier the former President was ousted by a popular movement for reforms backed by all communities in 2015, returned with his team just as members in parliament worked in unison to dash the efforts of the government. Sad but true in the past four years many minority parties from all corners of the country only interested in money and power supported the former president. Thus the former president supported by many law makers with corruption tolerant genes in the legislature whipped up majority nationalism and swept the local polls held in February last year in the majority community dominated areas. Finally it triggered the unprecedented constitutional and political crisis and finally it was resolved by the Supreme Court.
Thus in the four years these ruling class have failed to deliver the promises made to the people and appears to have degenerated with their long-term objective to fill the parliament completely with law makers of corruption tolerant genes and to develop corruption tolerant members who can withstand corruption at the provincial and in the local government bodies. Today, the country is at a crossroad where it has to make a crucial choice between democratic consolidation and a retreat to authoritarianism and the judiciary seems to be the only institutional vehicle in the polity at the present time that can ensure this level of democratic accountability. Now the judiciary induced by the mass uprising of people demanding justice so far they played extremely well has a crucial task at hand. With the minorities getting betrayed again by the ruling class all eyes are now focused on the Prime Minister, who will have to face this terrible mess and bring rationality before the elections due this year. As the political parties are gearing up for elections. UNP the Grand Old party has opted to form a new alliance called ‘Democratic National Front’ (DNF) along with the like minded parties such as Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), the Jathika Hela Urumya (JHU) and the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) with Prime Minister as leader of UNP holding on the chairmanship of this collegial leadership body. Both TNA and JVP to really keep democracy alive and kicking should grow out of the feeling that they have no chance of forming a government should join DNF to take the country forward, by resolve their differences before the elections.
Now time is apposite for all Sri Lankan loyalists who wish for a democratic consolidation and with retreat of authoritarianism to have a stable government needs to make a New Year resolution not to blindly support any of these ruling parties and waste their vote, instead select wisely from any political party candidates with corruption free genes to defy the ruling class preference to fill the legislature with law makers of corruption tolerant genes. Thereby deliver justice and democracy that people from all nationalities in the country are yearning after the war ended decade ago in 2009.