By Hilmy Ahamed –
The President’s resolve to make sure the passage of 20A in its present type, is noticed by more than twenty minor and minorities parties as a blatant attempt to dislodge them from parliament. His commitment to 20th Amendment could be due to the assurance that he gave the SLFP members when he sought their help for the 19th Amendment, yet it is crucial that this approach is not bulldozed.
The group of little parties that met at the headquarters of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) wants the gazette notification published on the 20th amendment withdrawn and a correct consultation undertaken. Failure would mean that it passage would be challenged both in and outdoors parliament.
While, it is agreed and accepted that delimitation and constitutional reforms to rid the scourge of the preferential vote are an absolute necessity, and a guarantee in Maithripala’s Yahapalanaya manifesto that needs to be honoured, it is critical that the fears expressed by the minor and minority parties are addressed forthwith.
President Maithripala Sirisena could stand accused of entirely betraying the minority communities that ensured his victory at the Presidential election of January 2015. The 20A will get rid of the representation from parliament most of the minority parties who helped him reach the presidency. Many of these parties do not command a big enough voter base to win electorates but are sturdy enough to win representations in the districts. They fear that if 20A is implemented in its present kind, it would cement the two celebration rule. This may auger effectively as a nation to move away from ethnic primarily based politics, but, Sri Lankan electorate has been polarized along ethnic and religious lines. We want to go back to the days when the elected legislators represented all the folks and communities alike. This might not be the effortless following more than 35 years of ethnic/communal politics that was introduced under the JR Jayewardene constitutional reforms.
Numerous amongst the minority communities see this the push for 20th A as a Hela Urumaya (JHU) agenda to dilute the influence of minorities in government. This calculated move would force minority parties to kind alliances with Maithripala’s Sirisena’s SLFP or Ranil Wickremesinge’s UNP for their political survival. This will at some point make certain that no minority celebration could dictate terms or hold the remote controls of government.
The late MHM Ashroff, the founder leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) during President Chandrika Bandaranaike’s government used to claim that they held the remote controls of government with their numbers in parliament. The mainstream parties saw this as holding the majority view to ransom. This may or could not be a accurate assumption, but they did have the clout to demand and receive genuine dues for their constituencies. They also employed this clout to receive undue perks and privileges for themselves. If the 20A goes through, the controls of the remote would end up in the hands of either Maithripala Sirisena’s SLFP or Ranil Wickrmesinghe’s UNP.
One may possibly wonder why the JHU is on a suicidal mission to remove themselves from parliament, but the reality is that they have ensured their place in Maithripala’s SLFP, understanding really nicely that their saffron politics will be entirely rejected by the folks at the subsequent General Elections. There is no way that they could contest alone and anticipate to survive, so this is a face saving agenda and a convenient route back to parliament through con the 20th Amendment as all minor and minority parties would be compelled to be portion of 1 alliance or the other.
If candidates from minority parties had been to be elected from the districts exactly where they are a minority, they would need to type alliances with major parties to be granted the benevolence of an chance to contest from 1 of the significant parties. Under the current Proportional Representation, minor and minority parties can seek their votes from the complete district. Proponents of 20A will argue that they can still obtain that by means of the district preference, however is it the exact same?
On the other hand, this could also lead to additional polarization of the various communities, ought to they commence forming alliances based on religion or language.
20A could not influence the bigger minority parties line the TNA in the North and East and the Muslim Congress in the East, but it will affect these parties and all other minor and minority parties in each and every electorate outside their bastions.
The minority parties are convinced that the JHU and other Buddhist forces had this strategy to minimize the dominance of minority parties in government correct by means of out the presidential campaign of Sirisena. The UNP, which would stand to obtain substantially if minorities have no option but to vote for one particular of the principal parties, stay uncommitted. On the other hand if minority parties kind their own coalition, the UNP would stand to be the greatest looser.
All credit must go to Maithripala Sirisena for the passage of the 19A , however he is in an unenviable position with regard to the 20th A. On a single hand, as the leader of the SLFP, he need to continue to lead the SLFP to victory at the subsequent general elections, and on the other hand, he requirements to maintain his promise of the one hundred-day reforms to the typical opposition that got him elected. To get anywhere close to reaching it, he demands the numbers in parliament, exactly where the opposition commands the majority. Through this the majority in the SLFP has managed to hold President Sirisena to ransom.
The average civilian wants an end to this wheeler dealing and an early election may possibly be the only selection, but without having the passage of the 20th A, Maithripala would be observed as a weak president by his SLFP and the group led by former President Rajapaksa. This has driven President Maithripala Sirisena to compromise on all aspects of the reforms that he promised by way of the Yahapalanaya Manifesto.
It would be tragic if Maithripala pushes 20A by deceit. He may possibly not require the voters in the course of the existing term as president, but exactly where would he be if the UNP and the minority parties that propelled him to the presidency were not part of his campaign in January 2015?
Amongst different proposals put forward by the professional committee on 20A of Asoka Abeygunawardene, Dr Sujata Gamage and Kirthi Tennakoon is the alternative of seeking in to the suggestions of the Muslim Congress and All Ceylon National Congress to accept the dual ballot notion. This may satisfy the demand by the minorities as it would give them a chance at the preference vote, however has it been researched effectively to push it by means of in this mighty hurry. Will this not drive us back to the “manapay pora” that we have skilled? If implemented, the largest winner of this would be the JVP. Most individuals may not want to dilute the value of their vote on the JVP which stands a poor likelihood of acquiring elected below FPTP, however numerous would not hesitate to vote for the particular person in the JVP list.
Whatever the method that would be introduced require not be pushed through in haste. Fresh elections and a fresh mandate ought to be given to the next government to formulate a new constitution where all Sri Lankans would be able to live in dignity and peace.