Redemption by referendum

Tuesday, 16 June 2015 00:04 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By T. E., Kotte

The political horse trading continues ad nauseum. One has only to watch the regular TV debates to realise that both major parties are jockeying for positions, while the so-called small or minor parties are whining that they will be left only with scraps from the dinner table.

It is patently obvious to the public that neither of the two main political parties is working in the interest of the people. The Blues are playing for time to bring their former strongman into the fray for fear that they may not be able to win an absolute majority and divide all the ministerial positions among themselves without a coalition or a unity government; protection from prosecution also being a major priority, not to mention getting back to business as usual!

This writer wonders what happened to the JHU Leader’s promised blacklist of corrupt politicians due for publication. Second thoughts about being sued or friends on the list perhaps?



Sabotaging election promises

The Greens want to avoid a no-confidence motion on their Leader and belabour the theory of a unity government, whatever the outcome of the upcoming election, because they also doubt their chances of winning an outright majority anyway.

The President promised a unity government for two years at least until he can put the national political house in order during his term of office. This seems to have been abandoned.

Meanwhile the amendments are watered down with no guaranteed outcome at a Parliamentary debate, with the Greens compromising to salvage what they can at any price and the Blues holding them to ransom.

All the President’s men with a few exceptions are doing their utmost to sabotage the very election promises to the people that won him his mandate. After all, they were his promises. Not theirs.



What about the people?

What about the people? While they are convinced that the President is doing his utmost to keep his promises, they sit helplessly on the sidelines, watching the systematic destruction of his initiatives.

The people know that the only way to help the President and themselves achieve the collective goals in the interest of the country is to support him to implement all the initiatives enunciated in the President’s program including the abolition of the preferential system through a referendum.



Minor parties

The 20th Amendment allegedly cannot be implemented immediately because the electorates cannot be geographically re-demarcated in time. Hence the minor parties demanding 255 seats to be allocated among the existing electorates for the upcoming election. Why demarcate anyway? Why not just amalgamate suitable electoral segments with common boundaries and allocate the 225 seats accordingly?

Who are these minor parties anyway? Are they not better off joining one of the mainstream parties of their choice and wielding their influence from within whichever party wins? Who are these minor party leaders? They are mostly trade unionists engaging in politics.

To this writer’s knowledge, a trade union leader contesting an election is forbidden by law in democracies across the world. They must relinquish all trade union activity to be eligible to contest. Where do union leaders remain unelected their entire lifetime, ruling a trade union as a personal fiefdom? Other than their personal agendas, for lack of any other means of livelihood, they will live on members subscriptions for life. Laughable, shameless opportunism at its worst!

As the late, great leader of the communist party with a penchant for three-star brandy and good cigars when asked why he was a communist with such capitalist tastes, he famously replied, quote, “I prefer to be a big fish in a small pond than a minnow in a big one dominated by the Senanayakes and the Bandaranaikes.”

So there you have it: The essence of the small party leader theory. Far removed from political convictions.



Buddhist clergy

The President needs all the help he can get with no strings attached. He needs respected, credible allies to win the majority Sinhala Buddhist vote in favour of the candidates who support him on his journey.

Who better than the Buddhist clergy, the majority of whom in the most venerable positions have openly expressed their support for his policies? With temples now the campaign venue of choice, who better than the prelate of each temple to espouse this cause?

It appears to this writer at least that the Buddhist clergy (with a few exceptions) have remained the sanest, most steadfast and outspoken supporters of the President’s vision. He would be wise to invite their support toward his cause. The disruptive forces would not dare to intimidate these prelates for fear of public outcry and repercussions.

The current attempts to instil fears of another northern uprising with the sole intention of securing a vote must be neutralised. It is possible that they may be willing to instigate the illusion to justify their re-election to face another war?

Ironically, it would appear the President will be supported in his efforts to amend the Constitution as promised only by the Greens, albeit for reasons of their own.

If the President is thwarted in his attempts to implement his policies there is a greater likelihood that the next uprising will be in the south! For the third time!




Neilsen surveys published last week clearly indicate that almost 70% of the population is in favour of the President’s policies with 15% more being unsure. A potential 80% support.

Why not a preferential vote on multiple issues at a referendum? With a simple questionnaire based on exactly the same survey conducted by Neilsen with a simple tick box for the yes vote only. This would provide the two-third majority of the people on each and every issue.

As is, all parties are trading only for their own benefit with absolutely no reference to the people. Only the people can vote for themselves. That is a referendum.