Friday, December 11, 2009

Sarath Fonseka and his 3 Cs: Confusion, Contradiction and Capitulation?

by Sumanasiri Liyanage

When a country elects a new president or reelects the incumbent, it has to think seriously how the policies that are offered by different candidates would affect the future of the country and its people. Of course, every candidate would be careful to make her/his election manifesto attractive to the people of all walks of life so that some of the promises and policies may lose their practicality. People also know from their own experience that politicians when in power will not fulfil all the promises they had made prior to the election. Nonetheless, looking at the past track record of the politicians and their party affiliations, people can see, to a significant extent, the direction in which those in power would lead the country. For example, it was not difficult to foresee that Ranasinghe Premadasa would adopt capitalist economic policies but with pro-poor bias. On the other hand, Ranil Wickremesinghe is known for extreme neo-liberal economic and social restructuring of the country. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s opposition to federalism and his orientation towards more interventionist state were well known even before he presented his Mahinda Chintanaya. However, when the candidate’s past track record is not known and her/his party affiliations are weak or non-existent, making decision would become an extremely difficult. This was what happened when people seeking for a change voted for Chandrika Bandaranaike in 1994. The Opposition and democratic social movements and the JVP badly needed a change. Almost all the significant and well-known political leaders, like Vijaya Kumaratunga, Lalith Athulathmudali, Ranasinghe Premadasa and Gamini Dissanayake were assassinated. While JVP was responsible for killing Vijaya Kumaratunga, others were killed by the LTTE. So there was a big vacuum. Chandrika Bandaranaike was elected. But she finally ended up being the worst Sri Lankan executive president.

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