President Election in Sri Lanka!

In 1948 with independence the United National Party (UNP) known since as the grand old party came to power and the country entered the fifties as a successful nation in the region.  But as the development of political institutions lagged behind social and economic changes, political gaps began that resulted in the failure of democratization and political decay set in slowly. By the mid-fifties with UNP splitting to form the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to open the political gap wider with these two main political parties fighting for the majority community votes. Thereafter to remove the equality of conditions that was provided in the first constitution fit for a multi ethnic and multi religious country was rewritten to meet the Sinhala Buddhist nationalism. With it came the upsurge of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism which could not be abated once unleashed and ethnic bidding became the political strategy. Thus absence of a holistic rule left the emerging political institutions and politics in general at the mercy of ethnic and religious conflicts; and quite predictably country become hostage to many ethnic forces. It is a folly that the rulers blame and keep punishing the ruled for any resulting extremism in the country.

As per the present constitution that has been revised nineteen times, though the President is a member of the Cabinet and is described as being the Head of the Cabinet, it is only a transitional provision in the 19th Amendment that has enabled the current President to assign many ministries to himself; it will cease to operate when he ceases to hold the office of President. Next President shall appoint Ministers from among the Members of Parliament on the advice of the Prime Minister, for the new President to be elected by the people at the next presidential election, will have no powers.  Further the next President not being a Member of Parliament and not benefiting from the current transitional provision, cannot therefore hold any portfolio. Thus with only a Member of Parliament  appointed as a Minister, the next President will not be entitled to assign to himself any Ministry or any subject or function of government, as it the Cabinet of Ministers who is charged with the direction and control of the government are collectively responsible and answerable to Parliament. This explains why the present government’s draft constitution provides for the President to be elected by the proposed two Houses of Parliament and even the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) own draft 20th amendment which provides for the next President to be elected by Parliament.

With the main political parties in the process of nominating their candidates to run for the presidency, UNP membership has in mind a young, energetic and visionary probable president candidate who does not have any racial or religious bias, but the leadership seems to hesitate in putting him forward as its candidate; it does not reflect well for the grand old party. Then the split SLFP is yet to decide if it would field a candidate at all, while the new party Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) has picked an able administrator as its candidate even though not popular with the minority communities and further his eligibility to contest the top post has been challenged as he holds dual nationality.

Earlier SLFP splitting to form the SLPP has only widen the political gap with these two parties and UNP fighting for the majority community votes. Bitter Truth is any of them given the opportunity to form the government will bring ‘old faces’ with the past conflict-ridden mindsets that would prevent the country having a holistic rule. In reality what is required in the country today is a change in the system of governance instead of a mere changing of governments as only such sweeping action would salvage the country from further disintegration.

On the other hand the 2015 candidates JVP returned to parliament were good, honest, hardworking people and as a political party are in fact committed to see a more vibrant society for the larger goal – the common good for the people and the country. JVP worked hard from the opposition and have been successful in educating the people regarding the pitfalls and the cons in the corrupt system of governance of this country and has in the past four years demonstrated maturity to govern the country; a far cry compared to old hands fielded by UNP, SLFP or even SLPP. Perhaps it is possible with JVP leading the majority community for they will no doubt ensure equal status to all languages and faiths to accommodate all the minority communities as citizens of the country. Refer ‘A Third Force needed to take over from old brigades!’ highlighted in an earlier post on Northern Breeze @

The JVP led National People’s Power (NPP) movement, named as ‘Peraliye Maha Raliya’ held its meeting at the Galle Face Green last Sunday evening with the participation of thousands of supporters. As expected at the rally JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake was named as the Presidential candidate of the National People’s Power (NPP), built with the JVP and several democratic, left biased progressive political parties and civil society organizations. The presidential candidate said that the NPP struggle to create a better future for people will have a winning end; speaking on the presidential election said no extremist or racist could ensure public security as it could only be ensured by creating national harmony; that there are two ways ahead for the people of the country; the old traditional out-dated way and the other is the road to prosperity offered by NPP and invited the entire nation to unite and rise to achieve victories.