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Rajapaksa Rajya! Vandana, Vandana! Voters of Sri Lanka Have Through Their Franchise Handed Over the Sovereignty of the People to the Rajapaksa Kingdom

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The voters of Sri Lanka have created the new Kingdom, the Rajapaksa Rajya.

This is a very rare example of how a democracy can move into a realm ensuring the sovereignty of a single family. It will certainly be recorded in the history books of this era, documenting the vast move from universal franchise to a grand revival of the royal or Rajya Rule of the past.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabaya Rajapaksa and all others in this realm of power have reached the peak of their power, just as the Royal rulers of the past. Hail Rajapaksa!

Having very comfortably won 145 seats from electoral voting, the SLPP only needs five more seats, from its Nominated Members totalling 17, to make the 150 for two-thirds of the Parliament. It is a political saga that has beaten all previous political leaders. Getting two-thirds from an election based on proportional representation is certainly bigger than JR Jayewardene’s 1977 five-sixth majority in the old parliament, with fewer seats and elected on first-past-the-post.

The Rajapaksa Rajya now has the power given by the people to have a new constitution, remove the obstacles they have seen in the 19th Amendment to the present constitution. Those who have faithksaKingdom. in democracy, or the sovereignty of the people through the ballot, must now begin to think of how meaningful this sovereignty is or will be.

The Rajapaksas can take pride in their achieving such a decisive victory in a wholly free and fair election, organized so well by an independent Elections Commission, with a polling in excess of 70 percent, and at what hopefully is the tail end of the Coronavirus trail.

Let’s make no mistake, this is what the people wanted, the reality of electoral democracy. This is what a huge majority of the people of Sri Lanka showed they wanted in three elections – the last Local Government poll, the Presidential Election last November, and this General Election.

Sri Lanka has come to the deeper and even deadly political reality of majority rule through the ballot. We have given hope to all political leaders who seek overall dominance that is away from the democratic values of universal franchise. Sri Lanka will go down in the annals of modern politics as a country that elected a Kingdom from an electorate of citizens, who have shown a desire to be the vassals of the realm. This is clearly what the voters wanted and they have every right to enjoy this victory of democratic choice.

What about those who have been defeated in this rise of a new kingdom. It is the Elephant, the powerful jumbo of politics from 1948 that has been thrown even beyond the wild. In the UNP’s traditional stronghold of the city of Colombo, even a single lame elephant has not been elected. Looking back at the trend of politics, the leaders of the UNP – Ranil Wickremesinghe and Ravi Karunanayake – both from Colombo, must understand why the people turned against them so harshly and decisively. The UNP gave leadership to the promise of Yahapalana or Good Governance in January 2015. What did it do in the fight against corruption, by the Rajapaksas of that time?

If the various institutions of government that are meant to deal with corruption were so slow, weak and twisty in fighting the forces of corruption and fraud, other than many and lengthy days in Remand Custody, the people have now shown who needs punishment for this political farce. The emergence of the Rajapaksa Rajya is certainly the result of the hugely farcical moves in supposedly fighting corruption that the UNP and the Maithripala Sirisena-led SLFP shamelessly displayed, through a near five-year domain of political cheaters.

The humiliating defeat of Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP shows the people have certainly taken revenge and more for what was done with the two Central Bank Bond Scams.

The voters have punished those who had crooked deals with a dodgy Governor of the Central Bank, who was wrongly under the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe; and the benefits that the ever forgetful Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake allegedly obtained from the Perpetual Treasuries. The voters have not forgotten the warped move on a Volkswagen factory and many other moves by the leader and key members of the UNP.

The party with the symbol of the elephant, has also been crookedly silent on the threat faced by the elephants in our jungles today. Let’s hope the defeat of this political elephant, may lead to the public looking with more concern and sympathy for the elephants that are being killed so often, with their wild terrain shrinking daily.

The winners will certainly have to build their own place and positions in the parliament under a new Rajya. There are certainly many questions about the leadership capability of Sajith Premadasa, although the voters of Colombo stood with him strongly. Does the SJB have a line of leadership that can effectively criticise, oppose and also advise the powers and beneficiaries of the Rajapaksa Rajya. One must not forget that most backbench members of the SJB bowed down and even supported the larger corruption of the UNP leaders.

It will be good if the key members of this Opposition spend more time in the library of parliament, to read and learn more of how the weighty opposition leaders of the past such as NM Perera, Colvin R de Silva, Dudley Senanayake, MD Banda and others, performed in dealing with different governments, in the early years of universal franchise.

The opposition members of the minority parties, so much smaller in this parliament, will also have to rethink their goals and strategies, in a situation when majority dominance has been the overall message of the voters. The results did show increasing differences among the political parties of the Tamil minority, and divisions among the Tamil people too. The Muslim parties must also study more on how they must represent the Muslim people in the new political and wider national context.

The old State Council was called the Rajya Sabhava in Sinhala, when we were under the British monarchy. The next parliament will certainly be a new and definite Rajamedura. The Opposition will have to learn the new behaviour and traditions of a Rajamedura or Raajasabhava of the Rajapaksa Rajya.

Let’s begin to settle down under the new Regime so decidedly elected by the voters of Sri Lanka, through the power of universal franchise; giving the sovereignty of the people to the Rajapaksa Rajya. Vandana, Vandana!

Courtesy:The Island