Some describe it as protest vote than endorsing Mahinda
by Latheef Farook
( February 12, 2018, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Failure on the part of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe to fulfil their election pledges and the shameful revelations of corruption of the present government have been two of the most important factors that contributed to their humiliating defeat and the sweeping victory of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).
The SLPP is a relatively new political party -proxy of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Humiliating second place was for Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) while President Maithripala Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party was even worse.
The (SLPP has secured 222 Local Government (LG) bodies including Municipals Councils, Urban Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas., UNP won 41 LG bodies , Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) won 34 LG bodies while SLFP secured 7 LG bodies..
Many describe SLPP victory a protest vote than the endorsement of Mahinda Rajapaksa whose lawlessness, crime, corruption and atrocities remain fresh in the memories of people.
Fed up and disgusted with the lawlessness of Mahinda Rajapaksa government, accused of widespread crime, corruption, plundering of nation’s wealth , mismanagement and communal disharmony, people voted for the Maithripala Sirisena –Ranil coalition in the hope they would rescue the country from these evils.
In fact this is what Maithri-Ranil team promised to the country. Beleaguered people trusted them. However three years later today they have miserably failed to fulfil their pledges. There was confusion from the very inception when the government was formed with previous government ministers accused of corruption.
Dismissing the sentiments of voters, President Maithri nominated defeated politicians on national list as members of Parliament and later as ministers.
The irony is that these very same people in the opposition accused of various crimes were not only remain free but challenge the government. Both President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremasinghe were also accused of manipulating the judiciary to protect those accused of corruption.
Commenting on the government’s humiliating defeat Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake had this to say in an interview with the Island.
“People have shown the red light to the Government for not taking appropriate action against those who plundered public funds. The Government did not arrest anyone who engaged in robbing public funds during the earlier regime, during the last three years and the people have protested against it. Those who were accused in the Bond Scam were arrested but that was too late as it was done in the last stages of the elections, Results would have been different if all those who had been found to have robbed public funds and abused their powers were put behind bars”.
People in general were fed up. Added to this the ever growing corruption within the Yahapalanaya government made the people sick and tried. The entire country was shocked at corruption involving the bond issue .It was worse with the shameful disclosures involving Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe.
Instead of sorting out burning issues they were more interested in implementing the American agenda in various fields. For example International Monetary Fund was accused of drafting Inland Revenue amendment bill without the knowledge of Inland Revenue officials.
.Many also complained that rather than attending to urgent issues both president and the prime minister were busy travelling worldwide signing bilateral agreements.
Despite winning some seats in this week’s local government elections indications are that the UNP, under its present leadership, will never be able to form a government on its own. The UNP got an opportunity to rule after losing more than two dozen elections. However it has missed the opportunity.
They pledged to end racist attacks on minorities especially Muslims. Instead of protection, Muslims who voted in bulk to the government, were quick to realize that they were virtually abandoned .The racist attack on Muslims in Gintota showed that anti-Muslim racism remains alive.
President Sirisena’s directive allowing Defense attaché Brig. Priyanka Fernando, at Sri Lankan High commission in London .suspended for making a slitting the throat gesture during a protest by a group of LTTE supporters outside the High Commission in London on the Sri Lanka’s Independence Day , dealt a blow to so called reconciliation efforts.
Foreign policy had no direction. For example the government failed to condemn the genocide of Muslims in Myanmar though even United Nations Security Council took up the issue twice.
Economy is in bad shape though the Prime Minister claim otherwise .Much talked about foreign investment never became a reality. Even small time traders began complaining that routine business dropped though they expected to improve.
Meanwhile President Sirisena blaming Prime Minister Wickremasinghe for all economic ills, failures and bond scam corruption in election meetings dealt a destructive blow, perhaps the final blow, to the unity of the government.
Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne attributed the government’s humiliating loss to ruling regime’s own candidates accusing each other of being rogues. ”
In fact the sweeping victory for SLPP is the outcome of miserable failure of President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickreamsinghe to understand the mood of the people.
Rajiva Wijesinga urged President Maithripala Sirisena to immediately remove Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister and replace him.
The JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told a media briefing that” people had rejected the government as it had put aside the mandate to eradicate corruption and to resolve other issues faced by them. The government failed because it was not able to take the nation out of the debt trap and economic turmoil. This, he said, had helped those who were defeated in 2015 to raise their head. The corrupted lot which was defeated in 2015 had come back to power.
General Secretary of Jathika Hela Urumaya Patali Champika Ranawaka said “The election result clearly reflects that as a government we have failed to fulfill the promise of ‘good governance’ given by us to the people at the 2015 presidential election.
President Sirisena and Prime Mnister wickremasinghe will be solely responsible for the political crisis in store for the country in future. Ends