Election 2015: Our selection

Given what we know of the Opposition&#8217s declared approach and policy at this stage, I am unconvinced that we should vote Mahinda Rajapaksa out. Adjust is required even imperative. But what type of modify, where, when and to whom? There is a case for peaceful democratic regime change, but what has the current Rajapaksa regime to do with the decades older Executive Presidential technique, which is a kind of state?
42cb8 a ADGs Election 2015: Our selection
The present decision in Sri Lanka &#8211 and the answer to those vital questions &#8211 is excruciatingly straightforward. On 10 December, International Human Rights Day, Sirisena addressed a civil society coalition and assured it (and the nationwide tv audience) that he &#8220was searching for to occupy the chair of the presidency not for the goal of remaining in it but precisely for the objective of abolishing its power and going home.&#8221&nbsp42cb8 a setyd Election 2015: Our selection
Now this was throughout the exact same television newscasts that showed the correct nature of the place and the persons he was pledging to transfer the power of the Presidential chair to, namely the parliamentarians who just before our quite eyes, and at that quite time, have been engaging in a game of musical chairs! So, if we are to trust Sirisena&#8217s pledge, we can anticipate the disempowerment of the Presidential chair (and its occupant, to wit, Sirisena), which is anchored in the democratic consent of the majority of our citizenry (50.1% of the vote), and the empowerment of an institution susceptible to musical chairs.
Who is to say that in a post-Mahinda period, a hung parliament barely topped by a self-enfeebled presidency with residual executive powers will not be susceptible to decisive manipulation by a concerted infusion of money from the secessionist network of the Tamil Diaspora? Who is to say that such a maneuver by the Diaspora Tamil Eelamists will be unable to engineer a government of its decision which will pledge the withdrawal of troops from the North?
In the new configuration as created by the Opposition&#8217s strategists, domestic and external, the residual presidency of Sirisena will not and structurally cannot be the decisively preeminent power center. It will be the PM and the Cabinet. The dominant political poles of attraction are far more than likely to be Ranil Wickremesinghe and Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.&nbsp9a765 a SEG Election 2015: Our selection
One doesn&#8217t have to be Hobbesian (though it assists) to concur that the principal duty of the state towards its citizenry is not very good governance so considerably as the more fundamental existential one particular of the protection of life and limb from a violent, determined, ruthlessly marauding enemy. Chandrika and (a lot more so) Ranil miserably failed that most essential test whilst Mahinda Rajapaksa passed it with flying colors.
He protected this nation and its men and women, liberating us from Prabhakaran&#8217s reign of terror. Therefore as a student of politics, I can’t advocate an outcome that sends Mahinda Rajapaksa packing although restoring Ranil and Chandrika to prominent positions of energy and influence &#8211 equal to, if not surpassing that of Sirisena. Right after all, Mangala Samaraweera did solemnly declare that it is Wickremesinghe who will be &#8220the 1st amongst equals.&#8221
Wartime indecision
It is correct that Gen. Sarath Fonseka was perhaps the primary driver of the victory insofar as the ground war was innovatively made and determinedly driven by him. It is no less correct that this administration treated him disgracefully.
Even so, an outstanding troika, Generals Fonseka, Janaka Perera and Gamini Hettiaarachchi have been in Chandrika&#8217s army for her two Presidential terms and she failed to win the war &#8211 simply because she didn&#8217t think it could be won that Prabhakaran could be militarily defeated. Or, due to utter ideological and philosophical confusion, she didn&#8217t consider it as desirable.
Mahinda Rajapaksa won the war for us due to the fact he had political will and clarity &#8211 and he had a brother, Gotabaya, who could handle the war effort with zealous dedication and expertise. With each other, Mahinda and Gotabaya have been capable to mitigate the bitter inter-service (Fonseka-Karannagoda) and intra-service rivalries.
In the loop in the early 1990s, I watched helplessly as the Waidyaratne-Kobbekaduwa split paralysed the war work during President Premadasa&#8217s term, while he refused my entreaties to step in and regularly spearhead the National Security Council, asserting that that &#8220we ought to leave it to the experts &#8211 the Tamils should be in a position to see that the Presidency was not straight involved in the war.&#8221
What was the critical moment of the war? It was a replay of that moment in 1987, when the Sri Lankan armed forces were about to prevail over Prabhakaran in Operation Liberation but President Jayewardene received a deterring warning from Higher Commissioner J.N. Dixit. In 2009, President Rajapaksa had two fairly similar moments about which I heard, not only from him, but far far more credibly and at 1st hand, from the Norwegian Ambassador Torre Hattrem and the French Foreign Minister of that time, Bernard Kouchner.
It is Mahinda Rajapaksa who sought India&#8217s backing and overruled the US evacuation attempt which had been facilitated by the Norwegians. A lot more crucially, it is he who curtly told an arrogant, blustering David Miliband that &#8220Sri Lanka is no longer a British colony&#8221 when pressure was put on him for a &#8216humanitarian pause&#8217 in the fighting and a resumption of negotiations, a few weeks prior to our soldiers accomplished final victory. (Kouchner&#8217s story, connected to me and my wife at a lunch in Paris, came as no surprise given that I was element of the discussion in early 2007 when President Rajapaksa told US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher &#8220I am sorry Mr. Boucher, but what can I do if my terrorists are not Islamic?&#8221).
Champika Ranawaka, who claims credit for the drive to finish the war, was not even a peripheral figure in those decisive discussions with the worldwide powers. Gen. Sarath Fonseka was not present in the area. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was in the loop but not on center stage. The selection not to blink and to take the war to a finish what ever the consequences was a political and existential one, and it was produced by President Rajapaksa.
In the final analysis, it wasn&#8217t Gota&#8217s war it was Mahinda&#8217s, and he have to not be made to spend a price tag at our extremely hands for his resolve in our defense and his defiance of the West. The Tamil Diaspora desires revenge for the defeat of their Tigers and the death of Prabhakaran. The West wants to make an instance of Mahinda for far higher stakes: he opted for China and Russia over the West. The two compulsions converge (most overtly in Geneva).
Take into account this very carefully: are we ready to threat the possibility that Rajapaksa could be a 21st century Rajasinha (the last king of Kandy), carted off by the West to be made an instance of i.e. legally lynched, for his defiance in our defense? Do we want that on our collective conscience? Is that how we want future generations to view us? I rather doubt that history will absolve us.
The Joint Opposition&#8217s present plan combines the prospects of radical politico-constitutional change and no much less radical financial change, provided that Ranil Wickremesinghe is an ideologically conservative, neoliberal privatiser and freezer of public expenditure (as confirmed for the duration of his mercifully brief tenure as PM).
Punishing a verified leader
If the contrasting fates of Gorbachev/Yeltsin&#8217s Russia and Deng Hsiao Peng&#8217s China demonstrate anything, it is that political and economic reform have to not proceed simultaneously, if 1 is not to risk meltdown. The scenario of a self-diminished Sirisena Presidency, a shift of energy to a volatile Parliament, an economically neoliberal Wickremesinghe Prime Ministership, a &#8216CBK as Sonia Gandhi&#8217 aspect, an assertive Northern Provincial Council, cosmopolitan civil society-human rights NGO-Western pressures on &#8220cooperation and compliance&#8221 with the UN probe on international law and accountability concerns, and radical privatisation, fill me with foreboding since the centrifugal elements outnumber and outweigh the centripetal ones.
Are we prepared for a Western dominated, semi-colonial Sri Lanka of the sort we lived in for the duration of the Ranil&#8211Chandrika-Solheim years that disgraceful decade of diminished and retrenched national sovereignty? Are we prepared for the inevitable blowback, polarisation and radicalisation?
In its narrow judgment in favor of the 13th Amendment in 1987, Sri Lanka&#8217s Supreme Court ruled that this structural reform, which made for provincial autonomy, remained inside the framework of the unitary state due to the fact of the executive presidency and its powers more than the council as vested in the Governor. Without the magnet or &#8216maypole&#8217 as it were, of the elected executive presidency, the centripetal prospective of the provincial councils would be greater than their centrifugal prospective. This is yet an additional, doubtlessly unwitting, danger posed by the joint Opposition&#8217s stated project.
A presidential election is not about constitutional modify. It is about choosing a leader for the nation, the state &#8211 or more fundamentally, the collective, the neighborhood, the tribe (if you favor an anthropological existentialism).
I am reluctant to dispense with the services of the leader who passed the crucial test of &#8216domestic R2P&#8217 &#8211 the &#8216Responsibility to Safeguard&#8217 his men and women and country from the armed enemy. I hesitate to ditch a sturdy leader and confirmed success in the most crucial matter, and replace him with an unproven if courageous, decent man who will cede a lot of his energy to two established failures.
(Dayan Jayatilleka was Sri Lanka&#8217s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva from 2007-09, and until not too long ago, Ambassador to France. He is the author of &#8216Long War, Cold Peace: Conflict and Crisis in Sri Lanka,&#8217 Vijitha Yapa Publishers, 2013.)
Supply: http://www.ft.lk/2014/12/20/election-2015-our-decision/

Tumbling Of Crude Oil Costs: Economic Laws Say That This Is A Short-term Phenomenon

By W.A. Wijewardena -

f2fe7 sri lanka W.A. Wijewardena 150x150 Tumbling Of Crude Oil Costs: Economic Laws Say That This Is A Short term Phenomenon

Dr. W.A. Wijewardena

A drastic reduction in crude oil rates

Crude oil rates in the planet marketplace have tumbled and they are nevertheless tumbling. The average price of the West Texas Intermediate category of crude oil stood at a level of $ 100 per barrel, which is equal to 159 litres a handful of months ago. It has now fallen to a level of $ 60 per barrel final week. This is practically a decline of 40% in an important commodity within a couple of months.

Supply has grown quicker than demand causing prices to fall.

The price of any commodity falls mainly due to that commodity getting an excess provide. An excess supply can occur due to a fall in demand or an boost in provide or both. In the present predicament, when the Northern Hemisphere of the globe goes into winter, the demand for oil merchandise usually rises simply because of the require for heating. Hence, if there is an excess supply this winter, it is primarily due to the supply of crude oil increasing faster than the improve in demand.

Two theories have been raised to explain the present excess supply of crude oil in the marketplace. One is financial and the other is political.

The US going into tapping shale oil sources

The economic motives are significantly less unknown in this part of the world. That is, the United States has, in a massive way, explored oil in new oilfields recognized as ‘shale oil’ fields by utilizing a new technology referred to as ‘fracking’ which is the shortened kind of what is ordinarily referred to as ‘fracturing’.

Oil shale refers to a rock situated about 4-5 km beneath the surface of the earth containing solid bituminous components referred to as kerogen that are released as petroleum-like liquids by heating the rocks (accessible right here) The shale oil is in strong form and for that reason can’t be pumped to the ground like the oil that is extracted from conventional oil fields. Hence, even although the availability of oil in shale rocks was known for centuries, the industrial exploitation of shale oil did not take spot until the early component of the second decade of the new millennium.

Even as late as 2011, the US Bureau of Land Management had concluded that “there are no economically-viable ways but identified to extract and process shale oil for commercial purposes.”

The fracking technology to bring shale oil up

But this was not to be for extended. A new technique of tapping the vast deposits of oil and gas contained in shale rocks was employed on a industrial basis in the US right after about 2012. That was called hydraulic fracturing or merely ‘fracking’.

With this approach, what is becoming done is that a vertical hole is drilled up to the formation of shale rocks, which are located about four km beneath the ground level. This vertical drill is continued horizontally via the shale rock related to the ‘donas’ which a single finds in gem pits in Ratnapura. Then, about 4 million litres of water mixed with sand and chemical compounds are injected at higher stress to the horizontal section of the drill causing the shale rock to fracture and crack open, similar to the fracturing which could happen in a bone of the physique when it is subjected to a heavy blow.

The fissures developed by the fracturing are kept open by the sand that is released along with the water mixture. It causes the shale rock to release the gas and oil which had been contained within it for a lot of millions of years. The oil and gas mixed with water are then pumped back to the ground, separated and employed for further processing. The recovered water is initial stored in open pits and then removed to treatment plants.

The fracking revolution

Fracking has revolutionised oil and gas exploration in the world. This was hitherto a commercially untapped resource and now it is getting tapped on a huge scale, especially in the northern portion of the United States.

Its sudden proliferation has helped the United States to increase production of each these energy things. By 2014, the US became self-adequate in natural gas and in the case of oil, emerged as the world’s biggest producer of crude oil, driving Saudi Arabia down to second spot.

It is estimated that by 2020 the US will grow to be self-enough in crude oil as effectively. This was excellent news for Obama administration which had been beleaguered by all for a lack of visible financial recovery in the country. Hence, despite the protests against fracking on environmental grounds, the Obama administration is openly supporting the new oil exploration venture which US companies have undertaken.

The world’s fracking mania

Shale oil is not confined only to the US. It is abundantly accessible in the southern provinces of Canada, Lithuania, China and New Zealand. Soon after it was proved that fracking technology was a industrial good results, all these countries have now started plans to exploit their shale oil resources. The enhanced oil and gas production in the US has decreased its imports making a glut in the present power marketplace, sending prices down.

Planned future shale oil exploration by other nations will hold the market place glut going for numerous a lot more years. The present surplus as effectively as the anticipated surplus has sent oil costs tumbling in the globe industry. That is the economic cause for the present decline in oil prices.

A conspiracy theory to clarify falling oil rates

The political cause is connected with a well-liked ‘conspiracy theory’. The present glut has been augmented by Saudi Arabia’s refusal to reduce oil production to match the decreased import demand to sustain oil prices at its historical typical of $ one hundred a barrel.

The Saudis have rationalised that even if oil prices have come down to $ 40 a barrel, they would nevertheless not take into account cutting oil production. The present low oil costs are a loss to Saudis and other members of the Organisation for Petroleum Exporting Countries, popularly recognized as OPEC. But if costs further tumble to a $ 40 level, their losses would be augmented beyond recovery.

In this background, what has prompted the Saudis to stubbornly refuse to reduce oil production? The conspiracy theory has been harboured to justify this irrational behaviour.

Bringing Russia to its knees

It has been argued that the Saudis want to punish 3 parties by permitting oil costs to fall in the market place. First, it is to punish Russia which is supporting the Assad regime in Syria which the Saudis want to topple. Russia is heavily dependent on its oil sources for financing the price range and earning foreign exchange. About a half of its budgetary revenue and about 60% of its export earnings come from the oil sector. When these earnings dwindle on best of the present financial sanctions against Russia by the US and the EU on account of its expansionary policy toward Ukraine, Russia is anticipated to fall to its knees, completely appreciating the emerging stark economic realities.

Currently Russia has been punished by these two counts: its currency, the rouble, has fallen in the marketplace from about 30 roubles a dollar to 70 roubles a dollar. The Russian Central Bank is desperately trying to maintain the rouble from further falling by releasing some of the dollar reserves it is holding and escalating interest rates to an unprecedentedly high level of 17% per annum. Each these measures are anticipated to punish Russia in the long run by shrinking its economy.

Punishing Iran for getting nuclear ambitions

The second celebration which it is claimed that the Saudis want to punish is the unfriendly regime in Iran. Iran’s nuclear ambitions have been deemed by the Saudis as a threat to their existence. Since it is unlikely that Western sanctions against Iran could force the regime to abandon its nuclear ambitions, it is said that the Saudis want to make their own attempt. That is, by forcing oil prices to fall in the market place and sustaining them at those low levels for sometime the Saudis want to provide a fatal blow to that nation.

Damn the US shale producers

The third party to be punished, according to this conspiracy theory, are the shale oil makers in the US. Tapping shale oil resources is a costly affair and if oil prices fall beneath $ 80 per barrel, offered the current expense structure, the boom in the shale oil sector in the US will come to a sudden finish. Thus, it is alleged that the Saudis want to get rid of a single of their rivals who has resorted to option oil exploration.

Can the Saudis be on a self-destructive path?

This conspiracy theory is rationalised by pointing to the low expense of the production of crude oil in Saudi Arabia. Because Saudi oil is found pretty close to the surface level, it is blessed with the lowest expense among all the oil producers in the planet.

Its charges range in between $ 15 and $ 25 per barrel whereas in all other nations they are above 50 per barrel. So, the Saudis can still survive even at a price tag of $ 40 per barrel whereas all other producers, including the US’s shale oil producers, will vanish from the industry at that value level.

It is economics and not conspiracies which rules markets

Several believe in this conspiracy theory due to the fact it is exciting and attractive to the well-liked sentiments of people. It is the big and potent guys who are to be punished and not the poor nations in the world. Hence, a conspiracy theory which suggests that the US is going to be punished has considerably a lot more appeal than any other conspiracy theory.

But if this conspiracy theory is true, then, the Saudis are on a self-destruction path. Saudi Arabia depends principally on its oil sector for wealth, export earnings and prosperity. If oil prices are at a low level for a considerable period of time, it is Saudi Arabia which is to endure more than these countries which it desires to punish. Additional, though the Saudis can withstand and survive through a cost reduction, all other members of OPEC can’t do so due to the higher price of oil production by them. A lot of such producers, especially Venezuela and Nigeria, have to close shop if they are hit by such an external oil value shock.

It is as a result unlikely that any rational selection-maker would go for such a self-destructive choice. Hence, it is more probably that these punishments are basically a natural consequence of the present global oversupply in oil rather than deliberate action taken by 1 of the major oil producers.

Market’s reaction to low oil rates

Hence, the all-natural industry forces will do a series of market adjustments to right the present fall in oil rates. Pressure would be exerted on Saudi Arabia to cut output and thereby bring oil prices up once more. Investors in shale oil in the US, obtaining that their oil wells are no far more economical, will voluntarily restrict oil production thereby permitting oil imports to the US as soon as once again.

These nations which are blessed with shale oil deposits will postpone their plans to tap this resource thereby taking out the anticipated market place provide of crude oil due to new shale oil exploration. Accordingly, marketplace costs will start moving up once once again and get stabilised at around $ 80 to $ 90 per barrel. That cost is an economic value for all other oil producers in the globe.

Low oil rates are an inhibiter to Sri Lanka’s Mannar Basis ambitions

Sri Lanka’s existing oil consumption stands at about 1 billion litres of petrol and two billion litres of diesel per annum. It would have gained a substantial advantage due to the low oil rates had it not enhanced its vehicle imports in a massive measure in the current past via a supporting duty reduction.

Vehicle registrations are increasing at a rate demanding a lot more oil and diesel imports. Accordingly, though the price is low, the volume will improve, decreasing the total advantage which the nation would have gotten out of the decline in oil rates in the planet market.

Sri Lanka’s nascent oil exploration efforts in the Mannar Basin will also suffer if oil rates are at a level of $ 80 or beneath. These offshore oil explorations are such a pricey affair, even North Sea oil producers cannot survive unless oil rates have risen to a level of $ 90 and above.

If the prices are reduced than this threshold value, the Mannar Basin oil could be pumped up only with a supporting subsidy by the Government. Hence, it will be a lot more economical for Sri Lanka to hold the oil under the sea level in the Mannar Basin alternatively of taking it out.

The current value fall is a temporary phenomenon

Consequently according to economic logic, the present tumble of oil rates in the globe markets is going to be a short-term phenomenon. They will stay at these low levels only for another six to eight months. Soon after that, prices will settle when again at a level of about $ 80- $ 90 a barrel.

*W.A Wijewardena, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, can be reached at [email protected]

Namal Has No Inhibitions About Discussing His Profitable Organization Offers

By Rajiva Wijesinha -

4543e sri lanka Rajiva 150x150 Namal Has No Inhibitions About Discussing His Profitable Organization Offers

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

Enemies of the President’s Guarantee: Dopey 3

Namal in fact had no inhibitions about discussing with buddies the profitable enterprise bargains he was involved in. But it is attainable that he did not think there was anything incorrect with all these. More than the years a culture of close involvement of politicians with the enterprise sector had created, and the favours received from them had been observed merely as tokens of friendship – as were the concessions and contracts the complaisant businessmen received. So Chandrika Kumaratunga benefited as President from the largesse of a businessman known as Ronnie Pieris, who did extremely well beneath the regime, although one more close pal who had worked for Emirates ended up, when he was appointed head of Air Lanka, as it employed to be identified, by subordinating it to that airline. Emirates emerged strengthened immeasurably by the partnership while Air Lanka lost a lot of the reputation and the attain it had earlier enjoyed. But these seemed isolated examples, and the connections to any incentives had been never direct.

But by the time the Rajapaksa regime was settled in, the potential for company had expanded immeasurably, and Namal, with initially a lower profile than these holding executive positions, but with certainly the greatest influence of all, was soon swiftly befriended by several regional and foreign businessmen. But as with the Packer deal, he could doubtless convince himself that he was advertising far more financial activity in Sri Lanka, and that the nation would also advantage.

809c9 sri lanka Namal and Mahinda Namal Has No Inhibitions About Discussing His Profitable Organization OffersOne more region in which his friends had a field day was the Stock Exchange, which it quickly became identified was being ruthlessly manipulated. The President’s vital innocence about this sort of thing seemed apparent when he appointed as its Chairman Indrani Sugathadasa, a former senior public servant of wonderful integrity, who was also the wife of his Secretary Lalith Weeratunge. But just before lengthy she felt obliged to resign, and the President accepted her resignation. She had asked her husband just before she resigned regardless of whether it would impact his position, and he had reassured her because he did not consider he could contribute to the vitiation of her integrity. But, offered that it was rumoured that Namal had played a function, on behalf of his buddies, in generating her position untenable, the matter obviously impacted his personal feelings and his possible effectiveness.

Mrs Sugathadasa was replaced by an additional figure of known integrity, a former Member of Parliament, Tilak Karunaratne. He was also concerned about education, and was a member of an advisory group I had set up named Religion, Education And Pluralism. After he was appointed, he recommended that we meet in the Security Exchanges Commission office, since that would save him the extended journey to my Reconciliation Office which was near Parliament. I asked him then how confident he felt about his position, and the clearing up he thought was vital, and he told me that the President had assured him of a totally free hand to restore self-confidence. But inside a handful of months he too resigned.

His successor was deemed far more prepared to oblige those in power, but even he, shortly following his appointment, was rumoured to have attributed a shaky transaction to the Secretary of Defence. The matter was hushed up, but it was a sad decline for Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whose reputation for economic integrity had earlier been above reproach. The association with Duminda Silva had dealt it a blow, but now it seemed that he also had systemic involvements with big company. This seemed additional established with the incident at Weliweriya, where it was claimed that the forces had been referred to as out at the behest of the Chairman of a organization which was under criticism for polluting the water provide.

Ironically, there was no evidence that the firm had deviated from safety requirements, and Gotabaya’s view that the protests had been orchestrated was almost certainly appropriate. Entertainingly, if tragically from the viewpoint of the bereaved, the protests against the business had been promoted by Mervyn Silva, who was believed to be close to Basil as a major politician of the Gampaha District where Basil had headed the poll for the government. But the initial qualms of the individuals about the water provide had not been addressed, even though misleading details about the PH aspect of the water in the area had contributed to anxieties which burst out in fervent protests. The selection then to deploy the army may possibly have been made in the belief that, if protracted and violent, the factory would be damaged – but the upshot was that the factory had to move, given the resentment the deaths roused. That this was largely due to internal rivalries was symptomatic of how far the government of President Rajapaksa had moved from its initial unity. And the absence of any systems to appear swiftly into public grievances created it clear that no one particular was interested in advertising the grass roots level consultations, with prompt redress for issues, that had been a cornerstone of the Rajapaksa manifesto.

Though the President must in the finish take responsibility for the failure to live up to his ideals, the truth is that he was now operating in a planet really distinct from the easy understanding of politics that he had evinced in his own profession, and which he had inherited from his father and his uncle ahead of him. Mahinda Rajapaksa was the initial elected leader of Sri Lanka who did not come from the Western Province, and his commitment as a result to rural improvement was special (although it should also be granted that President Premadasa before him, from the Western Province but a comparatively deprived background, also understood and worked on the want for equitable development). But he left the bulk of activity in this regard to Basil, who concentrated on cement rather than people. Gotabaya, although devoted to his soldiery, often thought safety required repression of men and women who evinced hostility, even of the mildest sort. And Namal, who ought to have been most concerned with the Rajapaksa legacy, was emphatically a child of Colombo, devoted to the concerns of the rich with whom his closest associations have been.

Mahinda Rajapaksa had perhaps been lucky in that his mentor had not been capable to gain him admission to S. Thomas’ when he moved to Colombo. He had been told by the then Warden of the College that it was too late to bring the boy into conformity with the culture there. But Namal’s admission to that elite establishment was facilitated in the nineties and, although he did not shine in school, and was certainly deemed a straightforward but decent youngster, he absorbed a culture which was by then orientated towards the consumerism of the West. The magnificient collection of watches that Namal possessed, brand names in designs and colours to match whatever else he might be wearing, was probably the most critical symbol of what his education had given him

But what was far more critical than such tastes was his potential to finance such tastes. My personal understanding of how the young man operated created when I was told by Arjuna Ranatunga, former Sri Lankan Cricket Captain, how Namal had sought to profit by investment in cricket. Arjuna had been an SLFP Member of Parliament, but he had left the celebration in 2010 to help Sarath Fonseka, so it is feasible that his story was coloured by his political position. But he had generally had a reputation for integrity as well as strength of character, and I had found him a committed colleague at the Committee on Public Enterprises, exactly where he had also evinced a powerful social commitment.

He had been particularly scathing in the examination of Sri Lanka Cricket, exactly where his brother had been the Chief Executive whilst also operating for the Carlton Sports Network. His questioning made it clear that the award to that Network of telecasting rights for cricket matches, a especially profitable contract, had been irregular. But Arjuna also noted that the losses Sri Lanka Cricket was creating was because of huge expenditure to develop up stadiums for the Globe Cup in which we had been co-hosts. His point was that this was unnecessary, since when he had been in charge of Sri Lanka Cricket he had reached an agreement with the World Physique that the facilities we had did not call for enormous upgrading for the purposes for which they would be used.

Later he told me that the President had wanted him to develop a globe class cricket stadium in Hambantota, his personal District, the list of representatives for which in Parliament was now headed by Namal. Arjuna had told him that such expenditure would be a waste, and that it produced much more sense to create facilities in schools in the area to train up youngsters. The President had seemed annoyed, but he had evidently taken to heart Arjuna’s point that, whilst the nation must not invest on this, he was prepared to function on it if there had been an investor – for Namal named Arjuna up soon afterwards to say he had one particular accessible.

The dilemma was that, when Arjuna had told him it would price about 15 million dollars, Namal had asked him to say it would be 30. Arjuna stuck to his figure when the man was brought to see him, and the man had seemed interested, but stated he wanted to be confident Arjuna remained in charge. But Arjuna stated he could not assure that, provided his political commitments, and the investor lost interest. But the stadium was then constructed, at huge and unnecessary expense as Arjuna described it.

The President doubtless went ahead with the project simply because of his devotion to his residence District. He had already had a harbour built there, which created a lot of sense provided that it lay on properly employed sea routes. Though there have been difficulties connected with a rock that seemed an obstruction, those could doubtless be overcome, and in time the harbour would probably prove a sensible investment.

There was much less optimism about the new airport that had been constructed in the Hambantota District. Even though a second airport was a good idea, its siting left significantly to be preferred, considering that it was far from the coastal areas that it should have serviced if tourism was a priority. And no work had been made to develop the infrastructure in the region and guarantee excellent cause for passenger planes to get in touch with there. So the couple of that had began operating there gave up, and inside a couple of years there had been no typical flights there, except for some Sri Lankan Airlines flights that known as there en route to or from Colombo, an workout that was wasteful of time and income.

When to this was added a stadium in the District, it was clear that sentiment had overcome rationality. But the added difficulty, about the further cost which Namal’s involvement seemed to entail, was possibly not anything for which the President could be held straight accountable. It was clear nonetheless that his excessive indulgence was proving especially tough on the country.

And no matter whether Namal understood the needs of the country, as opposed to his own, seemed in doubt. One particular of the saddest stories about him was that he had not been worried about Sri Lanka losing the vote in Geneva in 2012, because that could be utilized to win votes at elections in Sri Lanka. It is tough to think that he could have been so callous about the forces who would be the victims of the Western try to pin war crimes charges on Sri Lanka, but it was argued that that may well clarify the own goals the Sri Lankan team engaged in, ignoring the approach of our Permanent Representative, Tamara Kunanayakam and her efforts to create up defences internationally. Sadly, inside a couple of years of Mahinda Rajapaksa becoming elected to his second term, choices seemed to be in the hands of those without having the capacity to program or think beyond their own interests.

Rajapaksa Family members Dynasty And Namal’s Business

By Rajiva Wijesinha -

e4336 sri lanka Rajiva 150x150 Rajapaksa Family members Dynasty And Namal’s Business

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

Enemies of the President’s Guarantee: Dopey two

Another consequence of the electoral system from which we now suffer is that simple name recognition is generally enough to ensure election. Frequently voters, possessing chosen the candidate from their constituency, use their other two preferences on these whose names they know. Naturally posters place up all over the electoral catchment area support in obtaining one’s name identified, but there are other simpler factors as well for some men and women to get votes. So film or sports stars do quite well at elections, as do these who receive publicity for other factors, by way of eccentric behavior, or even by being jailed, as occurred with a fairly unknown character from the opposition in the 2010 Basic Election.

And of course if one’s father or mother or brother or uncle is already an established politician, then 1 is more probably to choose up the loose preferences of a big quantity of the voters. In short, the kids of well identified politicians start with a built in advantage. Contrariwise, in the previous, when candidates had been selected for distinct electorates, they had to establish themselves in that location, as people with some connection with the constituency they wanted to represent. Now however they merely have to command patronage in order to get their names on the electoral lists. So in recent years there have been escalating numbers of children standing for election, and several of them have completed really properly. Whereas Mahinda Rajapaksa had to prove that he was the most capable of his siblings to step into his father’s seat, and whereas he lost elections under the 1st previous the post program and was not in Parliament for several years, Namal had no difficulty in acquiring nomination for the Hambantota District, and in topping the list there on preferences at the election. And he will certainly be in a position to get enough preferences in any future election to keep in Parliament, even if the SLFP becomes much less popular in the District than yet another celebration.

fbac7 sri lanka namal colombotelegraph 6 Rajapaksa Family members Dynasty And Namal’s BusinessNamal then is here to stay, and with the passing of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution that removed term limits, his father would naturally be capable to keep on as President, or to be precise as the Presidential candidate of his celebration, till Namal have been prepared to take his place. This was of course understood by other members of Parliament, and many saw friendship with Namal as their route to political advancement. Sensibly, Mahinda Rajapaksa did not give Namal a ministerial position, though this as well had adverse consequences, since it meant he did not give any new entrant to parliament executive workplace (the only exception initially being the former LTTE military wing leader, Karuna, whose support had been invaluable in dealing with his intransigent former comrades, right after he left the LTTE when it was clear they have been not interested in a negotiated solution).

So the President had to leave out folks of verified ability since, had he appointed them, the stress from sycophants to promote Namal, which had in any case arisen, would have been irresistible – and Namal too would have had stronger claims to a position. Certainly, when the President 1st gave Deputy Minister positions to new entrants, he gave a couple to those who had carried out ideal in their Districts, which would facilitate Namal’s appointment at the subsequent reshuffle – or rather, at the subsequent accession of Ministers, considering that in Sri Lanka no one is left out when modifications are produced.

But there were other methods to provide Namal with the possibilities for patronage for which ordinary politicians needed executive workplace. He headed a youth movement known as Tharunayata Hetak, a Future for the Young, which engaged in a variety of activities that brought him prestige and publicity. He was invited to preside over ceremonial occasions, and offered credit for what was carried out. And when the government settled folks from the south in some regions in the North, he even had a new village named right after him, Namalgama.

The forces indeed gave him considerably prominence. He had to be present when former LTTE cadres were released soon after rehabilitation. I came across a single specifically sad example of the unnecessary difficulties caused by this rage for recognition – or possibly the rage to bestow recognition, given that Namal probably would not have minded if he had not been invited to all such occasions – with regard to the restoration to their owners of some boutiques in Kilinochchi which the army had occupied. I was asked about these at a Reconciliation meeting, and I suggested the neighborhood organization that raised the question meet the Civil Affairs Office of the military, and find out what was planned. I often noted that the military had a proper to take over lands if important, but they had to make sure that this was indeed important, and that owners were properly compensated.

The officer who came to the meeting promised to look into the matter, but as we went out he mentioned they had already decided to give back the boutiques. When I asked why this had not been carried out, he stated that they had been waiting for Namal to be present to restore the deeds at a formal ceremony. This struck me as ridiculous, since it caused unnecessary suffering to the owners, and in any case it was the army that required to win hearts and minds, not politicians from the south. But the system of sycophancy rather than practicality was also effectively entrenched for my argument to have any effect, even even though the officer concerned understood the point.

Underlying the promotion of Namal by the forces was his association with Gotabaya who, without any obvious ambitions of his personal as it seemed early on, clearly far preferred Namal to Basil as the putative heir apparent. Although he by no means evinced, and most likely did not feel, hostility towards Basil, he produced no bones about his commitment to Namal, and the forces accordingly pushed the latter forward.

What appears to have been Gotabaya’s indulgence of Namal contributed to the erosion of the reputation he had previously enjoyed for honesty. In 2011, when it became clear that the Ministry of External Affairs was dysfunctional, the President took the choice to appoint what he termed Monitoring Members of Parliament to a handful of Ministries, to overlook their perform. This was an outrageous thought, due to the fact it suggested that Members of Parliament must in effect supervise the perform of Ministers, but in fact it was applied to quite handful of Ministries, and in most of them the Monitoring Member did extremely tiny. The exception was External Affairs, where Sajin Vass Gunawardena, confidante of both Namal and the President, constructed an empire for himself, but certainly there were special circumstances there.

Certainly the strategy seemed to have been made only for that Ministry but, possibly since that may have looked inordinately absurd, it was produced slightly much less so by being extended to a few other people. Later the President claimed that he had asked Members of Parliament to apply for these positions, but that was not the case, and the honour, such as it was, had been extended to just half a dozen of the new MPs.

Amongst these, apart from Sajin, the most prominent had been two really close pals of Namal, who were appointed as Monitoring Members for the Ministry of Defence. A single was Uditha Lokubandara, who was almost as young as Namal, and was the son of the former UNP Minister and Speaker, who had in impact supported Mahinda Rajapaksa right after he became President, and had been appointed as Governor of Sabaragamuwa Province right after the 2010 election.

Uditha was an enthusiastic young man, who did not present any problems. Nor maybe did the other Monitoring Member, offered the tight hold Gotabaya had on his Ministry. But this was Duminda Silva, who was alleged to be involved in drug dealing. Regardless of whether or not this was accurate, it did not redound to Gotabaya’s credit, which had previously been unsullied with regard to shady activities.

Matters became worse when Duminda, who had come over to the government from the UNP, was involved in a shootout in the course of a local election with a long standing SLFP politician, Bharatha Premachandra, for the causes of electoral rivalry recorded above. The latter died, and Duminda received a wound to the head which necessary protracted therapy, and seemed to have resulted in some sort of brain harm.

Gotabaya had rushed to hospital when Duminda was taken there, which might just have been standard decency for somebody supposedly involved with his Ministry, but it highlighted the association and led to speculation about the exact nature of the connection. Provided the extent of the fortune the Silva household commanded, which integrated also a media empire, it was naturally assumed that the Rajapaksa regime had benefited from their largesse. But to find it connected closely to the Secretary of Defence was a surprise that for the first time raised doubts about Gotabaya’s commitment to the ideals he professed.

This was especially ironic, given that he had recently launched a forceful campaign against drug dealers, and certainly Mervyn Silva, a maverick member of Parliament who was a single of Basil’s chief supporters in the Gampaha District, was reported to have been amongst these whose activities was below suspicion. Since frequent parlance had it that his associates had been distinct from these of Duminda Silva, the public revelation of Gotabaya’s closeness to the latter was specially worrying.

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Namal meanwhile, provided the need for aspiring politicians to have access to huge amounts of funds for the electoral motives detailed above, was actively involved in company. He had set up a media organization known as the Carlton Sports Network, Carlton becoming the name of one particular of the loved ones homes in the south, and this quickly obtained a monopoly on the telecasting of well-liked sports programmes. The income the network could make from marketing were of course colossal.

Namal was also capable to command sponsorship for any activities he undertook. He had a penchant for quickly vehicles, so he set up an annual car race in Colombo for which sandbags had to be set up to permit for daredevil motorists, at least those capable to drive high-priced racing automobiles, to profession around. Early on in his parliamentary career, he arranged a enormous tamasha in this regard for which popular Indian film stars came down.

Initially this gave his profession an impetus, especially when some of the stars participated in programmes for former LTTE cadres getting rehabilitated. But as time passed, these events seemed quite a lot the preserve of privileged youngsters, and served to alienate him from the vast majority of Sri Lankan youngsters. Therefore Sri Lanka seemed to be playing out the tragedy of some a lot of other third planet nations, exactly where the scions of potent and apparently unassailably entrenched political families, such as Gaddafi’s young children, whose amusements were distinctly international in orientation, held unchallenged sway. And regrettably for the President, this was the much more marked since Sri Lanka had not suffered from such excesses ahead of. Dudley Senanayake had been a thorough and quite basic gentleman, so his father’s indulgence had triggered no issues, while he himself was unmarried and had no young children Jayewardene’s son had been fairly old when his father lastly came to power, and each Bandaranaikes as effectively as Premadasa had maintained discipline amongst their youngsters and not provided them political prominence.

As time passed, Namal’s company activities also took on distinct types. When in 2013 a scandal broke about a strategy for the Packer dynasty to set up a casino in Colombo, initially the assumption was that this was yet an additional of Basil’s enterprise offers, in terms of what he saw as priorities for financial improvement. But Basil was vital of the enterprise, and it was then rumoured that it was Namal who had established connections with James Packer. Definitely he felt himself entitled to negotiate about investment possibilities, with both neighborhood and foreign businessmen, and the rumours spread that all offers involved substantial commissions.

Does Gotabaya Drag Military Into Politics?

By Laksiri Fernando -

ba5eb sri lanka Laksiri Fernando 150x150 Does Gotabaya Drag Military Into Politics?

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

It seems that the Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is openly taking inspiration from ‘terrorism.’ He at least defends his actions on the basis of terrorists. According to the lead story of ‘The Island’ newspaper yesterday (15 December 2014), reported by Shamindra Fernando, he has stated, “If terrorists can enter politics, why not forces personnel?”  

This is a dangerous trend. If the same logic is extended to human rights violations or war crimes, he can argue, ‘If terrorists can do such and such issues, why not forces personnel?” The citizens of Sri Lanka (such as myself) would like to know whether or not this is just an argument or whether this is the way he has been acting and intends to act.

He has employed the terrorist title for the LTTE (rightly so), and for the JVP (correct for the past), and claimed the same entitlements for the armed forces personnel. I do hope that the professional soldiers and their officers/commanders completely disengage and distance themselves from this sort of thinking and stick to their ‘code of discipline’ totally free from partisan politics.

It was like cat out of the bag. The occasion for this revelation, as reported by ‘The Island,’ was as follows.

The Maithripa la Sirisena’s Camp yesterday told the media that Defence Secretary Rajapaksa was utilizing Urban Improvement Authority (UDA) in President Rajapaksa’s campaign. Addressing the media, Opposition spokesman attorney-at-law Shiral Lakthilaka alleged that the UDA was operating digital screens in Colombo 24 hours a day to promote President Rajapaksa. Lakthilaka stated that the Opposition had a list of serving military personnel campaigning for the incumbent president.”

Not Denied

Let me take the most significant matter 1st, with my emphasis in the above quote. Defence Secretary has not denied the accusation that “serving military personnel campaigning for the incumbent president.” What he has mentioned is the following.

The vast majority of military would help the government simply because whatever the allegations, no one particular could deprive President Rajapaksa of giving political leadership to the effective war effort.”

Of course he has not admitted the accusation straight either. What he has clearly admitted is the use of “retired military personnel in President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s campaign,” according to the report. He has defended that ‘use,’ citing the example of Sarath Fonseka.

4787b sri lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa Does Gotabaya Drag Military Into Politics?Even so he has gone some distance to prove that Fonseka entered politics whilst he was in workplace which clearly gives the indication that he most almost certainly using serving officers or the military for the election campaign. Two examples that he has given are the resignation letter of Fonseka as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to the President, and his consultation with the JVP in late 2009 when he was in the US, nevertheless holding the CDS position.

I was 1 (among other individuals) who criticised Sarath Fonseka’s entry into politics at that juncture as a wrong precedence and also as a major military danger. That was 1 explanation why I supported Mahinda Rajapaksa at that election. Even so, 1 wrong does not make one more wrong (in this case a larger a single) excusable. Similarly, I have also criticised the retired judges getting into into politics, whatever the causes. There is no doubt that those who supported or promoted Fonseka at that election was imprudent whatever the discrimination or harassment that he had undergone beneath Rajapaksas. It is not private hatred or judgements that must govern our positions, but great governance and democratic principles.

Present Dangers

It is on record that many retired military and police officers have entered active politics. If it is just one or two, that could be ignored. Even so, when there is a trend or a horde, then that is alarming. If folks enter into politics from sectors exactly where independence is needed, then these persons’ independence for the duration of the service become questionable.

I bear in mind an ASP’s name allegedly implicated in repression in Jaffna in early 1981 when I visited there on a reality finding mission. Then he became a DIG and later entered politics.

Politicization of the armed forces (or police) is one particular of the key dangers of any society. That cannot be excused by referring to terrorism or taking the example of terrorism. Civilized globe anticipate various norms and behaviour from security forces to that of terrorists. The argument that “If terrorists can enter politics, why not forces personnel?” is undoubtedly a strange and an abhorrent argument. All professional soldiers and the officers need to reject the equation of the armed forces to terrorists.

It is very clear that the Defence Secretary is using (some) forces personnel for his brother’s election campaign. He is also performing this as a ‘civil servant’ and as a Secretary of a Ministry. This is a extremely clear violation of election laws and ‘free and fair elections.’ One particular proof of this violation is his utterances themselves and the press interview that he has offered to ‘The Island.’ He has currently admitted the violation.

For the opposition accusation that “Defence Secretary Rajapaksa was using Urban Development Authority (UDA) in President Rajapaksa’s campaign” and “operating digital screens in Colombo 24 hours a day to market President Rajapaksa,” he has admitted the use of the screens but has stated “those ads didn’t carry images of him or the President.”

The problem in Sri Lanka below the Executive Presidential Constitution is that not only the President is immune (with impunity) of any wrong performing, but his brothers also think and claim that they have immunity with impunity.

Barking Up The Jilmart Tree

By Ruvan Weerasinghe -

e6e58 sri lanka my photo 2012 150x150 Barking Up The Jilmart Tree

Dr. Ruvan Weerasinghe

So we come to however another time of electioneering where politicians run a circus to amuse the rest of us. And, to a huge extent we oblige, exchanging cartoons and videos through social media and even reading posters and cutouts smiling down on us from giant hoardings.

Nearly specifically 5 years ago, I had to lead a team from the University of Colombo College of Computing to help the Elections Commissioner in the final processing of results. As has been accomplished at all Presidential and Basic Elections considering that 1982, our group ensured that an error-free of charge processing was carried out in the course of that election as well. Nevertheless, most readers would bear in mind that specific election for the new term coined by an opposition politician, namely the pc jilmart, which was alleged to have taken spot to make the incumbent win. In hindsight, this was completely understandable owing to the heightened expectations of the opposition at the time. It was nevertheless distressing to our group, since it marked the very first occasion for aspersions getting cast not just on our competency (which of course is crucial to us), but more crucially also our independence. Although the independence of universities even given that then has eroded, the University of Colombo College of Computing has in all its dealings at least with the Elections been fiercely holding on to our reputation of neutrality. Those who are even indirectly involved in politicking are not welcome on the group assisting the Elections Commissioner.

How then can we clarify the ‘computer jilmart’ phenomenon, or the scenario that prompted it – an apparently inexplicable defeat of a well-known opposition candidate? Elsewhere I’ve written about the focus of the two campaigns – a single on these aspects considerably far more standard and reduce down on Maslow’s hierarchy of wants, and the other on problems considerably higher on that scale such as the freedom of speech, anti-corruption and the rule of law. Here I wish to focus on one thing significantly much more fundamental, and effortless to comprehend: the whole election method.

545bd sri lanka brg smarasinghe   mahinda rajapaksa colombotelegraph Barking Up The Jilmart TreeIt is our extremely own honorary citizen Sir Arthur C. Clarke who famously stated that any sufficiently advanced technologies is indistinguishable from magic. It is also in the human psyche to attribute things that are inexplicable to a pretty surface level logic, to that identical ‘magic’. Offered these two, it is not rocket science that enabled the esteemed opposition politician to conclude that the election loss, which so defied the logic of what occurred on election day (fairly peaceful if my memory serves me), was due to the magic of technologies.

5 years on, most severe observers are clear that the election of 2010 was not won or lost on Election Day – just as this one particular wouldn’t be. Rather, it is to do with a program that is doomed to have a common outcome that hugely favours any incumbent. Even though at the outset, incumbents (initially Prime Ministers sans the executive powers of the President of the 1978 Constitution) have been not prone to blatant exploitation of a constitution that didn’t call for them to step down prior to elections, the powers of the executive presidential system tends to make the population have to depend solely on the magnanimity of an incumbent in order to enable the utopic cost-free and fair election to be held. This is hardly a hope that a hapless voter can hold on to specially at a Presidential Election. Its effects even so will also frequently spill over to Parliamentary Elections as we have witnessed in the past. What is even a lot more depressing nevertheless, is that nowadays, they even reach down to Provincial and Local Government levels.

The Treasury is reported to have already released a preliminary estimate that the coming Presidential Elections will cost the government some Rs ten.five billion – of which just Rs two.five billion is for the Elections Commission. This is with out taking into account the huge magnitude of the private funds that the country will commit on this election, in a context exactly where the ordinary voter is challenging pressed to eek out an existence amidst an escalating cost of living.

Far as well few efforts have gone into enumerating the several and often ingenious techniques in which a common incumbent utilizes their position of energy during election time to use the state machinery for unfair advantage. This is celebration owing the difficulty in acquiring correct details and partly owing to fear of over stepping the mark assigned to the media. Considerably of it is also in English rather than Sinhala or Tamil, which an incumbent can tolerate, with the sole exception of social media channels. The unfortunate reality is that social media information is often construed to only be partially true and far more typically exaggeration and not really precise.

Far more lately however, some of these hidden modes of operation have begun to be seen by the public, typically owing to over-enthusiastic politicians wanting to hit the radar of the incumbent himself. Although expenses of a helicopter ride for political motives can not be readily identified by the public, a rally of heavy-duty SUVs or higher-powered motorbikes is a much far more identifiable misuse of public property for political gain. People are also becoming far more conscious of the expenses of huge posters and cutouts than ahead of, because these have turn into commonplace now.

Nevertheless, behind these sorts goofs that some crass supporters make, come ever a lot more sophisticated and subtle methods of abuse that is below the public radar. Even right now, the news and data channels most widely accessible to the majority constitute of these nearly solely under an incumbent administration. Whether Tv, Radio or Newspaper, these project nearly solely a single view, with even the mildly critical views getting zero airtime/space. Even the most obvious of ‘gimmicks’ such as short-term price reductions certainly are profitable in communicating subliminal messages to an economically challenged populace. The shameless purchase of opposition MPs and coercion of own MPs with threats of disclosure are each largely beneath the table dealings that an incumbent is properly placed to exploit. ‘Progress review’ of ministries with the incumbent are yet another subtle subversion of the program, often exercised utilizing the reputable powers of Secretaries of Ministries. These are even better guised, since they are named by these CEOs of the respective Ministries, who have the energy to take action against those who do not comply. Owing to the level of executive powers vested in any incumbent, and their rising tendency to use all at their disposal, the bureaucracy is typically compelled to comply or jeopardize their careers. We require to salute the extremely couple of independent folks who created that ultimate sacrifice of relinquishing their public office or becoming demoted or transferred on account of valiantly attempting to remain neutral. Some of them, such as CJ43 are respected and could even be reinstated some day, although other individuals in much reduce positions, such as Government Servants or Police Officers, will never ever be really identified or recognized.

So, what hope is there for a non-incumbent to win an election? Really small, in the new dynamics of absolute energy and sophisticated concealment. If an opponent can only match an incumbent in terms of issues facing the country, he is almost doomed to drop – he has to far surpass the incumbent in order to come anywhere near his 50% objective. Almost any campaign that is fought fairly on troubles, is bound to be won by the incumbent owing to the motives above, as well as to the basic fear of the unknown of the masses. Enfranchised Sri Lankan society initially had pretty quick memories and kept electing alternate parties to energy till 1977. Since then even so, the pattern has changed drastically. It is not to do with longer memories that we have been abruptly bestowed with, but rather the physical exercise of the improved executive power by the incumbent, which renders it nearly self-destructive not to use such power during elections. If we place ourselves in the shoes of an incumbent, would we have what it takes to defy all our advisors and supporters and desist from using the powers that we legitimately enjoy under the constitution that we govern below? I like to recommend that the answer is yes, if we have a larger sense of accountability than the letter of the law. However, that kind of magnanimity would be rare not just in Sri Lanka, but also in much (if not all) of the building globe.

What does all this mean to us at this election? Please, please, don’t wait for the election day, and then get in touch with foul – spelt j-i-l-m-a-r-t in Sri Lanka now. The jilmart happens ahead of the election, as it has happened in increasingly far more sophisticated techniques ever because the executive presidency started in this country. It is embedded in the constitution, it powers the campaign of an incumbent, it is in the valiant and disproportionate efforts of opportunistic junior (and even much more disappointingly inept senior) politicians, it is in the thousands of squandered man-hours of disempowered public officials, it is surprisingly in the prospering organization neighborhood benefiting from direct and indirect cronyism (in the name of ‘stability’) and it is in the voices of the destitute who’s only hope is to hang on to meager handouts already received, in the hope for more in the future.

Does this imply that a alter of regime would solve this difficulty? Clearly not! Whilst successive Executive President’s have misused their powers to differing extents, it is clear that none have been in a position to be entirely magnanimous in desisting the use of their legally bestowed powers. This is why, the only way out of this cycle – or rather, this downward spiral, is to get rid of the inordinate powers vested in any future President. The present incumbent, far more than any other could have carried out it with the huge majority he had in Parliament. Most would argue that these powers had been required for wartime, even though some would dispute that too. Some would go onto argue that such powers are needed for fast financial improvement, even though most would dispute that. This argument nonetheless hinges on the emergence of a so-referred to as benevolent dictator which by now even the most optimistic Sri Lankan need to relegate to wishful pondering. There is almost certainly more sense in waiting for Godot. In such a context, it seems that there is no other choice in this post-war era in Sri Lanka, but to change the executive presidential method by whoever wins the election on January 8th.

No matter whether the incumbent wins, or the challenger is productive, we as citizens of this nation, need to have to make it clear in no uncertain terms that we have had sufficient of this method, and demand that our voices be brought to bear on any future Sri Lankan government. The vote on the eightth of January is not so considerably to do with which of the major contenders are more worthy of our allegiance, but rather whether Sri Lankan society has come of age, to send a clear signal to whoever who wins, that we do not trust any individual with the absolute energy that the presidential program endows them. It is in the end no matter whether voters can give a clear message to whoever becomes President that their vote is for ushering in a new type of democracy primarily based on the principles of meritocracy rather than of cronyism.

Ruvan Weerasinghe – Former Director, University of Colombo School of Computing.

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