The 2020 General Election comes after important assertions made by the President and his government earlier this year on the Independence Day, the President reaffirmed the government’s commitment to basic democratic values and to the rights of all citizens by saying “We will always respect the right of any citizen to follow the religion of his or her choice. Every citizen has the right of free association and of free assembly. We consider all these as rights of human beings that no one can challenge.” Later this year, at the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, the Foreign Minister stated that “The Government of Sri Lanka will address outstanding concerns and introduce institutional reforms where necessary, in a manner consistent with Sri Lanka’s commitments, including the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda (SDGs). We will implement policies rooted in the Government’s commitment to the people by advancing individual and collective rights and protections under the law, ensuring justice and reconciliation and address the concerns of vulnerable sections of society.”
Despite all the challenges that the country is facing at present, these important assertions from the government must be acknowledged by all Sri Lankan. In return the President and his government must follow it up in the manner they were asserted for the good of the country and its people. In a global context in which there is a general retreat from the values that inspired the formation of the United Nations, these reaffirmation from the government are seen by visiting international delegations as positive aspects in the country. Thus despite many dark clouds that were gathering on the horizon, Sri Lanka must remain a country that can provide a positive example of solving intractable political and nationality conflicts while preserving the basic human freedoms, duties and responsibilities that the larger humanity itself must strive for. This will enable Sri Lanka to remain as a South Asian country in which civil society has the most amount of space for work in the areas of human rights and peace building.
Whereas, prior to independence in 1948, when the Soulbury Commission decided to grant independence to Sri Lanka, then called ‘Ceylon,’ there was an opinion expressed in the British press that “Ceylonese were not ready for a civilised government”. Looking back at the events in the country during the past 72 years of independence, it is clear that this prediction has been proved right as a reality. As all major political structures in this country have been ineffectual, irrespective of their shades and symbols. This occurrence is quite apparent even at present, with a general election just around the corner; to witness how the two major political parties bickering over party symbols; how their members of parliament appear in front of TV cameras, making a mockery of the entire political process in this country and fighting their internal battles, rather than concentrating on future polices to save the county from its present predicament.
Bitter Truth is most of the politicians have not proven their mettle or the capacity to be true patriots of this nation in its entirety; as the result the country was dragged into a civil-war that country could not afford has put the island nation in dire straits today, making three generations to become debtors to many major countries. It was for this reason and to salvage the country from the present calamity that the majority people in the country opted to elect as the Head of State the current President; a strict disciplinarian, not a politician like previous heads of state. The President, who as the Defence Secretary in 2009 demonstrated his ability by guiding the tri-forces of the state to bring the three decade long civil-war to finish. Thus, the 2020 General Election on April 25 could become the stability election for the country to end years of near anarchy hatched by many miserable elites led governments has to be turned around and reversed in a way that’s solid and confidence rousing, if not permanent. For this Sri Lankan must weed out all failed representatives from the political party they support and select a quality candidate from the list fielded by their political party to cast their vote at the 2020 General Election in April.
Sri Lankan voters must study the candidates put forward by the political party of their choice and pick a quality candidate to vote at the next election, who is wise and true patriot. This will ensure that the legislature gets filled with a healthy collection of representatives committed to basic democratic values and to the rights of all citizens; helping to address outstanding concerns and introduce institutional reforms where necessary, in consistent with the government’s commitments, including the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda (SDGs) to ensure reconciliation and address concerns of vulnerable sections of society; to make laws to enable all communities to contribute positively and participate in the economic activities for a proper development beneficial to all citizens in the island nation.