Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sri Lanka’s Presidential Elections: Thoughts for the Floating Voters/New Voters on the Common Candidate

The floating voters and the new voters are 2 important segments in the arithmatic that would decide who would emerge as President in January 2015. The floating voters are people who may have at one time voted for different parties and now disgusted with voting and contemplating whether to vote or not. The new voters obviously excited about exercising their first time voting right may also be puzzled to determine who to vote for – the incumbent President or a contender in an alliance that will be President for 100 days and thereafter hand power over to another. The floating voter and new voters are important because they can realistically view the campaign slogans from a point of view that would question which candidate is most suited to lead the nation and provide peace and stability to Sri Lanka both at local and international level, which is what all voters need to think about before they place their vote.

What is important about the challenge to the incumbent in the form of a new alliance is that it is promising CHANGE – but this change being promised is by a same set of politicians who have been in politics, enjoyed perks and privileges of office, crossed over several times and have had to tag on to larger political parties for survival at different periods under different leaders. On the face of it there is no CHANGE as the people coming forward with the change mantra are the same politicians wanting to hold on to power under a new set of rules and conditions.  

You want change – But what is the Change you are getting?
  • The same people are appearing with a different theme
  • The same people are singing a different song
  • The same people are promising a difference – but their terms in office was nothing the country could be proud of
  • Can the same people be trusted when they had broken our trust some more than once?
  • Do you trust Chandrika? Do you trust Ranil? Do you trust Mangala? Do you trust Wickramabahu? Do you trust Sambanthan? Do you trust Champaka R? Do you trust Rajitha? Can you trust Maithri? – Can they be trusted to entrust the country with 20m people to safeguard?
  • If the same faces that held power and wish to continue power are lining up to promise change, do you seriously think they can bring about change. More importantly is the change they are promising, the change that YOU want to see?
  • Is the risk worth taking in wanting to vote for CHANGE but knowingly voting for people who have been proven failures in office?
  • More importantly these failures are currently taking a back-office role because they cannot come out before the people to contest on their own however, floating voters and new voters need to realize that a future Maithri Government will place all of them in Ministerial roles and these are the very people who were failures in office.

    The ambiguity – Maithripalanayak for 100 days and what thereafter?
  • The 1st important thing that floating voters/new voters must note is that the Opposition lobby was one created not amongst them or by them but by another secret group because the main Opposition party’s Leader the present Opposition Leader cannot win elections. He will neither step down as Leader of the Party nor change the party’s Constitution though he wishes to change the country’s Constitution for which he went to get trained in the US.
  • The 2nd important point is that no person or party or parties can form an alliance and contest without drawing the UNP given its traditional vote base.
  • The 3rd important point is the assurance that in exchange for the UNP votes contributing alongside the votes of others forming the new alliance, the deal is for the UNP leader to be handed power thus the 100 day story. Why is it then that the election manifesto, campaign slogan all speak of a ‘Maithri’ – Compassionate ‘palanayak’ only under Maithri …. Shouldn’t the campaign be a joint Maithri-Ranil palanayake? Is it not for this reason together with certain slip ups by non-UNP supporters in the Maithri wing tilted more towards CBK that they are beginning to wonder whether Ranil or the UNP will have a future or role if Maithri were to emerge President and Maithri would prefer tutelage under CBK instead.
  • If Maithripala Sirisena cannot win without the UNP votes, why should the UNP voters vote a non-UNP when they easily have people to prop up as a contestant instead of Ranil. If everyone was surprised at the meek-looking former General Secretary of the SLFP emerging as a Presidential Candidate what is the harm in fielding a UNP candidate as there are enough of charismatic and strong personalities within the party to select from? Why have none of the other UNP leaders being considered to be groomed as Presidential candidate? Is it because Ranil would lose his place in the Party as a result so he prefers hiring an outsider?

    Do you trust the Opposition Camp?

  • Can you entrust the country’s stability to the same faces that have been proven failures in leadership roles?
  • Can we be assured that the peace and stability that currently prevails will continue under their leadership?
  • Can we envisage decision making when all of them can’t agree on anything except wanting to somehow come into power.
    What will bickering amongst these element result in when it comes to crucial international matters where forthright, stern and nation-centric decisions require to be taken?
  • When some in the camp are for division of the country, some want devolution, some want separatism, some want foreign powers to control the country, some will siphon of everything for profit and some are willing to go along with anything because all they want to do is enjoy perks and privileges – what is this scenario likely to lead to for the country?

    An important factor for floating voters/new voters to take note of – no Conspiracy theories
  • The Presidential Election is about voting for a leader that can bring stability and peace to Sri Lanka and handle the international lobby against the country. The crucial point is that the nations that are punishing Sri Lanka for ending the war using their influence in the UN/UNHRC are the very nations that are behind the Common Candidate.
  • What is the likely danger if such people are ready to give everything and anything on the deal that they would be kept in power – these are no laughing or exaggerated scenarios for the very nations backing the common candidate have been successful at dividing Yugoslavia to pieces, creating an independent Kosovo and then leaving the people in chaos, arming insurgents in nations that they want stakes in so that the people are kept embroiled in eternal conflict while they escape with the loot (Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and now Libya prime examples) These are certainly no conspiracy stories. These nations have been destroyed by the very nations that are today responsible for selecting a candidate calculating the arithmatic on how votes are likely to sway on paper unless people are informed enough to realize the dangers.
  • Much as most voters may hate informing themselves of what is happening around the world and to countries around the world in particular smaller developing nations that are strategically placed beneficial for global geopolitics, it is time they should especially the Colombo and other urban voters. It is the realization of the gameplans and plots taking place around the world at a political level that a country needs a strong leader and a strong government minus small parties with small vote bases but with the ability to hold a coalition to ransome by their demands.

    Is the country safe in the hands of people who have lead the country before and failed?
    If we have not forgotten we need to now recall that
  • More than half of total soldiers deaths occurred during the reign of Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga, most battle failures took place under her reign.
  • She was together with Ranil Wickremasinghe ever ready to sign the PTOMs and ISGA whereby legalizing eelam in all but name allowing LTTE to negotiate directly with foreign nations, trade directly with foreign nations, transfer funds directly etc.
  • Ranil Wickremasinghe the supposed visionary of the UNP signed a ceasefire agreement with the LTTE without even showing the UNP leadership the contents of that agreement – only later the country came to know that the agreement legally allocated sovereign territory as LTTE areas and the Colombo backers of the CFA were not bothered about what allocation of territory to the LTTE would mean to the country because they were over the moon that the military checkpoints had been removed which was more of a hassle for them. We cannot afford to function with such short-sightedness for the damage is irreversible.

    Do you believe the slogan ‘we will end corruption’?
    Please remember that the people now claiming to have come together to end corruption have themselves proven records of mass scale corruption during their tenure in power even those that have crossed over. They too have families – siblings and children very much waiting in the fray to take over. The CHANGE will only be changing the Cover of Corruption only. We must all be realistic to the fact that corruption is embedded in today’s society – even ‘donations’ for school admissions are corruption, even giving Rs.100 to the office peon to place one’s file above the rest is an act of corruption, even bribing the policemen for traffic violations is corruption. Both giver and taker are thus guilty.

    The golden rule on integrity
    Anyone claiming to be virtuous and uncorrupt can do so ONLY IF they go against coruption when it is taking place and come out against it by claiming to want to have no part in it. No one can claim to be uncorrupt if they have been enjoying privileges themselves and then having been selected as Opposition Candidate point fingers forgetting that four fingers point back at them in return. Let us all note that all those now pointing fingers were very much part of the corruption that they are accusing of – if they themselves were people of integrity they should have come out before elections were announced and before they had been selected to be fielded to form the Opposition.

    If we know that
  • Corruption wont end
  • We don’t know who the actual leader is – Maithripala is coming as the Presidential Candidate of the New Democratic Front, he next says he’s going to abolish the Presidency (totally ignoring that he has no mandate to do so), he says he’s going to appoint Ranil (unclear how that can happen too), then CBK who is politically now a nobody is assured of a role, the other supporters have all ruined the ministeries that they had been holding whatever party they had been in – is this a rosy picture post-2015 for the people? There are more questions than answers!
  • How can CHANGE happen with the same people in a new camp especially when they have a history of crossing back and forth for OPPORTUNITISM and nothing else. Should we not ask whether this is also not an OPPORTUNISTIC decision and thus the camp have no common agenda to serve the people except serve themselves

    These are just a handful of questions for the Floating Voters and New Voters to think about before they cast their vote. It is also good for them to do a good background check on all those in the Common Alliance and they question how far they can be trusted to lead a nation and ensure Sri Lanka remains peaceful and stable as it has been since 2009 devoid the threat of terrorism and separatism. Two factors that Sri Lanka does not want is Terrorism or Separatism/Division under any name.


    Shenali D Waduge

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