The Post Election Saga

If Sri Lanka intends to recover from the current unfortunate situation it has fallen into, it must honestly and retrospectively look at the way things have happened from independence to the present.

by Victor Ivan

After the election, it is likely that the political system of Sri Lanka in its entirety including the President, the Prime Minister, the ruling party and the opposition will end up in a severe deadlock.

If the government fails to achieve a favorable result conducive to enhancing the trust of the people at the parliamentary election, it might lead to weaken the dominance the government has established at ideological level.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa after the polls
Although the government has a big dream to abolish the 19th Amendment and restore the powers of the president, it is unlikely that it will be able to secure an adequate power to realize it. Even if it gains the required majority to amend the constitution, it might not be easy to reach a consensus between the two brothers, the President the younger brother and the Prime Minister, the elder brother.

In the constitutional sense and in terms of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, the power of the President, the younger brother will automatically diminish making the Prime Minister, the elder brother, the real power after the parliamentary election. In the circumstances, either the President, the younger brother must admit the powers of the Prime Minister, his elder brother and take a step backward or the Prime Minister, the elder brother must be prepared to relinquish some of his powers allowing his brother to maintain the extent of power that he had been wielding up to now. Failure to do so may result in disagreements between the two brothers.

The pitch darkness of the economy

Whatever the strength of the result of the parliamentary election secured by the government, it would be unavoidable that not only the affairs of the government, but also the standard of living of the people will fall into a major crisis because of the enormous financial difficulties the government will be compelled to face in maintaining its activities amidst the yawning gap between the income and expenditure of the government. Despite certain aspects of income of public servants like overtime pay has been clipped, still the government is compelled to pay the salaries of public servants from loan overdrafts obtained from state banks through the Central Bank. This system cannot last long. If it persists, a situation might arise in which even the state banks might collapse before long.

The collapse of the economy is unlikely to be rectified and restored soon. The impact that the Covid 19 pandemic has made on the world economy tends to have its depressing repercussions on the economy of Sri Lanka as well.

The job opportunities of migrant workers, especially those employed in the Middle East, which has been the main source of foreign exchange earnings of Sri Lanka, is at a severe risk. It is estimated that around 500,000 jobs might be lost resulting in a steep decline in the transition income Sri Lanka used to receive from migrant workers, which is unavoidable.

The tourism industry, another major source of foreign exchange earnings, is also in a state of total collapse. The garment industry is also in a similar situation. A large number of jobs in the garment sector have already been lost. The risk of losing more jobs persists. In addition to all this, the government will be compelled to impose more and more taxes to meet its needs and to cover the expenses which in turn will oppress the people who have already been hit hard by the economic downturn. .

Exacerbation of the Problem

Inevitably the nature of the crisis will become more complex and oppressive when all the problems that are bound to arise are converged in a welter of multiple issues. According to World Bank projections, the growth rate of the Sri Lankan economy will fall down to -3%. The number of jobs lost will rise to 10 million. The lives of those living on interest earned on savings will become miserable. The cuts in wages, overtime and the other allowances will result in making the lives of those who are employed also equally miserable.

The socio-economic atmosphere will lead to conflicts, labor disputes and public unrest. Theft, robbery and crime will increase in the country.

Failure to manage properly the crisis of balance of payments amidst the potential scenario outlined above will have serious repercussions. Especially if the country fails to pay at least one installment due on commercial borrowings obtained from international capital markets on commercial terms, Sri Lanka is likely to be declared a bankrupt country. If that happens Sri Lanka will fall into an abyss from which it cannot recover easily.

Such an eventuality could be avoided only by pursuing a policy of selling valuable resources of the country to foreign powers. The political establishment of Sri Lanka has no knowledge whatsoever of the practical alternatives that can be used to resolve the crisis the country is facing. Therefore, it is most likely that they will choose and be more willing to choose a policy that promotes the sale of valuable resources of the country to foreign powers.

Roots of failure

If Sri Lanka intends to recover from the current unfortunate situation it has fallen into, it must honestly and retrospectively look at the way things have happened from independence to the present.

Sri Lanka cannot be described as a democratic country merely because it conducts elections regularly. It’s a fact that Sri Lankan society had turned somewhat modern by the time the country gained independence; yet, the society in general and the political leaders in particular had not become mature enough to maintain a democratic system of governance, successfully. The independence gained without having to make a discernible struggle can be considered the main reason for this backwardness.

We did not have mature leaders; mature leaders should have emerged through a freedom struggle. All the Heads of State from the time of the first Prime Minister to the present day can be considered as unconscientious leaders who have violated the Constitution of the country. The Sri Lankan society does not appear to have considered that it was a serious offense to violate the Constitution of the country. Even the judiciary, the supposed protector of the Constitution tends to be encouraging its violation by the politician. This reflects the level of degeneration and the extent of unconscientious and uncivilized character of political and bureaucratic structures of Sri Lanka.

The failure to build a modern nation disregarding the recognition accorded to ethnic, religious and caste differences can be considered as the main reason for the failure of Sri Lanka. The compensation the country has paid for the violent conflicts that arose as a result thereof was enormous. The damage caused by violent conflicts has been estimated as US $ 200 billion. One can imagine the extent to which we have ruined the progress of the country.
The next reason for the failure of Sri Lanka can be attributed to the rapacious policy of large-scale plundering of public property pursued since 1978, by people’s representatives elected by public vote, when they were under their temporary custody. The State of Sri Lanka can be considered not as a democratic State but a State of pirates and bandits.

The opportunism and impotence shown by the judiciary of Sri Lanka can be considered as another important factor affecting the failure of Sri Lanka.If Sri Lanka seeks to recover from its present miserable situation it must find a way to overcome these three basic problems.

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