Presidential election 2015: Key lessons

Published : 12:06 am  January 16, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, Nalin Jayasuriya  |  2 Comments  |  909 views  |  
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The anxiety, tension and fear of violence that existed up to 9 a.m. on 9 January vanished completely with the presidential balance tilting significantly in favour of Maithripala Sirisena. According to the Colombo Telegraph dated 9 January, the outgoing President wanted to declare Emergency and annul the election results but with God’s providence, the plan was aborted. The incumbent President is the captain of his ship and the master of his fate. He is an uncorrupted politician who came up from humble beginnings. This is the character and calibre of a president that this country needs   The day 9 January became significant in the history of local politics where the countrymen were clearly... 

The end of the kingship

Published : 12:05 am  January 16, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, Harsha Gunasena  |  2 Comments  |  774 views  |  
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An epilogue to Rajapaksa regime The presidential election ended and power was transferred from Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was referred as the ‘King of Sri Lanka,’ to a commoner. Rajapaksa, when he was the Minister of Labour under President Chandrika Kumaratunga, used the funds of the Employees Trust Fund to purchase Salt Corporation, which was privatised by the then Government. After a directive of the President, he sold it. He wanted to have control of the Salt Corporation in expense of the hard-earned money of the contributors to the ETF. Later when he was the Prime Minister, several private companies including John Keells contributed to the tsunami fund and he transferred the funds... 

Racist tom-toms and electoral statistics

Published : 12:04 am  January 16, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion and Issues  |  2 Comments  |  1,097 views  |  
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“We must remember they got their majority vote from Eelam…” – Mahinda Rajapaksai     Mahinda Rajapaksa lost not just because he failed to gain the support of minority communities; he lost also because he failed to retain the support of the majority community     By Tisaranee Gunasekara During election season, the UPFA tried to win enough Sinhala votes by inciting minority phobia – and failed. Post-defeat, what the severely-truncated UPFA continues to beat this racist tom-tom, in the hope of making a quick comeback. Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa led the way by informing supporters in Medamulana that he was defeated because northern, eastern and plantation voters... 

Regaining our sovereignty: A third independence

Published : 12:03 am  January 16, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  1 Comment  |  443 views  |  
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Ithin hadamu api Aluth Ratak …. (Now let us build a better country)   President Maithripala Sirisena being sworn in     Lost and found – the people’s sovereignty Last week (see ‘My new year’s wish – a change of status quo’) I quoted excerpts from the US declaration of independence, that said, “… when a long train of abuses and usurpations … evinces a design to reduce (the People) under absolute Despotism, it is their right, their duty, to throw off such Government.” Well the people have done just that. Sri Lankans have exercised that right and spoken in an overwhelming majority and instilled their 6th Executive in office. Thus if 4 February 1948 was our first... 

The day after yesterday: What tomorrow brings

Published : 12:02 am  January 16, 2015  |  Category: Ajith de Alwis, Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  354 views  |  
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In economic terms perhaps we witnessed a nonlinearity on 8 January. The combined action of many, through decisions taken individually created the nonlinearity. The nonlinearity only indicates that conditions related to a particular path did change and does not classify the change qualitatively. It would indeed be interesting to observe what happens tomorrow. I am however referring to much more than politics as I view tomorrow. The future just not happens. It is created literally through our action or inaction today. What you do today is quite important. The big picture of the world is important and this enables perhaps one to determine one’s own place within it. How will our politicians obtain... 

Army/CR and Havies/Police the games of the week

Published : 12:00 am  January 16, 2015  |  Category: Arthur Fernandez, Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  223 views  |  
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Round one of the rugby season was brought to a close during the first weekend of the month and the brand new year. Since then a lot of changes and events have taken place in the country starting with the presidential elections, the visit of the Pope, the canonisation of Sri Lanka’s first Saint and the inevitable change of guard at the various sports bodies. Hopefully, the end of politicisation of sports is at an end. The service teams have enjoyed a fair degree of funding and it is left to be seen if this trend will continue. CH have been lamenting in the past few weeks on the lack of funding, the clashing of the cricket season with the rugby season and the resultant loss of a venue for practices. It... 

Cut-outs knocked out

Published : 12:52 am  January 13, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  2 Comments  |  807 views  |  
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The much-awaited outcome of the presidential election results clearly showed that the electorate has made an informed judgement as to who should govern the country for the next six years. The country was replete with cut-outs of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa all over the country and this phenomenon was never experienced by the electorate. Even during late President Premadasa’s time there were cut-outs but not on this scale. People began to wonder as to where the money had come from to erect such gigantic cut-outs. The main theme of the Opposition campaign gained ground because there were allegations of ill-gotten money by a handful of persons.                               The... 

Deliver promise of new country in 100 days, with best practices in project management!

Published : 12:49 am  January 13, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  2 Comments  |  1,301 views  |  
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Morning has broken with bright yellow sunshine warmly welcoming the new future of Sri Lanka. Hopes of a country with no ethnic divide have inspired the whole nation. I looked around to see people walking through the beautiful garden which has been recently developed to world-class standards. Despite all the beautification and infrastructural development activities carried out by the previous Government, today people have voted for the promises made for good governance. A country free of corruption with an ethical code of conduct, the reinforcement of law and order, a new political system, unity among people from all ethnic and religious backgrounds, reduced cost of living and reasonable increases... 

New ‘asses,’ same ‘liquors’

Published : 12:25 am  January 13, 2015  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists  |  4 Comments  |  756 views  |  
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This column is not about donkeys. It’s not even about the indigenous Mannar species we have on this once, late lamented, ‘Wonder of Asia’. Neither is it about alcohol. Not even about exotic beverages that were served, until recently, at the highest level – Johnny Walker Blue Label or Chivas Regal – we have heard, of ‘Mathata Thitha’ fame. Nor is it about the more mundane ethanol and the related moonshine a.k.a. the common or garden kassippu, which is the source of many a politician’s unaccountable wealth, busted up on elections to subvert the voter’s democratic choice. For the reader to appreciate the true meaning of the headline, ‘New asses, same liquors,’ I will repeat... 

Departure of the Anointed and arrival of the Elected

Published : 12:15 am  January 13, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  453 views  |  
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“In politics as in womanising, failure is decisive. It sheds its retrospective gloom on earlier endeavour which at the time seemed full of promise” – Malcolm Muggeridge on Prime Minister Anthony Eden after the Suez debacle   It was manifest from about the second week of the contest that Maithripala Sirisena would emerge the winner, but there was a grave sense of uncertainty on the succession. The numbers though inevitable did not make the outcome inevitable. This writer, an ardent champion of the Maithripala candidacy, exhaled a breath of relief only when the Commissioner of Elections stroked his shaggy beard and expressed his deep appreciation of the outgoing President for his graceful... 

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