Searching for the meaning of the word “legitimate,” I referred dictionaries. Piled up a cross-section of the meaning in Collins, Webster’s, Cambridge and Britannica, as given below: They define legitimize/legitimacy as to make something legal or to make it acceptable, permissible or correct.- to give official or formal sanction; to authorize, to make lawful; give legal status. In law, “legality” is distinguished from “legitimacy.” An act can be legal but not legitimate or it can be legitimate but not legal.
DS Senanayake took oaths as First PM in 1947, [with the help of some independents and Tamil parties who opposed UNP at elections], though he gathered only 39% of the total votes cast, which gave the UNP only 43 seats in a house of 96. The appointment was Legal; but was it Legitimate? Dudley Senanayake, the son of DS, was legally appointed to succeed his deceased father as the new PM, overlooking other seniors, like Sir John Kotelawala in 1952: the decision was legal, but was it legitimized? Our political history is inundated with similar events.
As for Ranil Wickremesinghe, his opponents say his election by parliament is legal, but not legitimized for the reason he failed to win a seat or he was rejected by the voters at last elections. There are certain negatives; his childish behaviour in the August assembly and appointing his chum, a dubious character as the Governor of Central Bank; a huge blunder that resulted in billions of rupees frauds under his administration.
Even his critics have confidentially expressed, reluctantly though, the fact that he will haul this country out of its backward status, and give back his people some self respect. That’s the optimism we all must share. Ranil Wickremesinghe, may be the most unpopular and hitherto unsuccessful political leader of our lifetime, whereas Mahinda Rajapaksa was the most popular and charismatic leader ever reigned. But today, Ranil remains the only capable leader who can pull us out of this calamity.
Ranil did not waste time; he cracked down on, the few goon squads and arsonists operated under the guise of Aragalists. By doing so, the genuine Aragala that organized the ‘operation’ leading to the forced exit of Gotabaya in a massive people’s collective on July 9 have been cleared of the mess created by mobs that launched lethal violence and manslaughter taking cover under great Aragalaya for political purpose.
Full force under the emergency laws are required to punish the ‘terrorists’ who committed heinous crimes; murder and arson on May 9 and July 9. Fix them, who operated behind or alongside the Aragalaya and discredited the great movement. Protestors, who forcefully ousted lawfully elected Sri Lankan President, needed the legitimacy to do so as per legal pundits. Protest group that failed to control their violent acts lacked neither legality nor legitimacy.
What does “legitimacy” mean? How is it different from “justice” or “rightness”? Those are deep questions—deserving of a book-length answer. Let’s avoid controversial assertions about arguable matters of legal theory. The real problem is that the idea of legitimacy is usually under theorized and ill-defined.
Ranil needs all the encouragement and he deserves praise for keeping his head when all about him were losing theirs and heaping blame on him. His opponents were taken by surprise as the legislators’ marked their secret vote overwhelmingly in favour of him; the high margin of 52 was unexpected making them look for alternative reasons to be critical of the whole episode delved upon the ‘Legitimacy’ theory. “It is legal, but not legitimate”, they would say.
There is an urgent need to continue IMF negotiations to reach a staff-level agreement, without further delay. The 21st amendments to the constitution as proposed and the call for state-owned enterprises like CPC and CEB reforms are among key priorities.
Thomas Miguel Hilbink in his publication “The Power of Legitimacy in Obedience to the Law” suggests that the power to induce obedience to the law, is derived from the power to influence public opinion, to the conviction that the law and its agents are legitimate and worthy of this obedience. Other legal experts think Legitimacy as a word much tossed around different ideas without much focus.
They say, ‘Legitimacy is a psychological property of an institution, authority, or social agreement that leads those linked to it to believe that it is proper, suitable, and just.’
Legal pundits argue, the ‘boys’ were to go the next day, apparently legitimizing violence.
By forcefully and illegally occupying state’s main administrative premises, what right do they have to decide when they should vacate? A DIG, according police spokesman, had visited the site a couple of days before and pleaded with the illegal occupants to leave. If the narcotic barons ask for time to stop their dealings, will the police allow them time to give up drug business? Soon you will find a child rapist on the job asking for a couple minutes to end the crime….legal pundits can argue, although the act was illegal, apprehension of the criminal cannot be legitimized for, the criminal had already announced his withdrawal in a few minutes!
We are in such a hopeless situation; we cannot stick to our or my policies and approaches unless we expect the already bankrupt treasury to disintegrate, causing permanent disaster. However, Sri Lanka in the safe hands of Ranil Wickremesinghe, had affirmed himself to be Grusha, who altruistically rescued the baby from harm. The scenario for democratic system may not be excellent. Wickremesinghe has wanted to reassert state authority, while recognizing the right of the dissent and disapproval to continue its fight, notwithstanding violence. Ranil is on the right path; he has been rewarded for his loyalty to the Party. A significant section of the lawyers have expressed support for measures taken by Ranil Wickremesinghe. In a talk show on TV recently, Srinath Perera PC and Tirantha Walaiyadde PC, strongly backed the declaration of Emergency. He deserves the time and space to deal with the unprecedented problems at hand.
Speaking to journalists after visiting Joseph Stalin, Leader of Opposition Sajith Premadasa, has said he would give up politics if undue influence is inflicted on SJB Members to join an all-party government. What a childish comment by a Leader of the Opposition! He is weak, indecisive, who cannot bear any pressure, if he cannot keep his men together, he should not play political games, and people are fed up of them. He should allow the brains in SJB, likes of Harsha de Silva, take up key positions.
Using bombastic words or archaic obsolete dictionary terms does not make a good opposition leader. Ranil outsmarted him; more SJBs would return to SIRIKOTHA. He could have easily submitted his name as a presidential candidate, when Gota offered him Premiership, he refused. Running away from politics because Ranil is fishing for his MPs, is a very weak argument, and it shows that he lack leadership qualities. This mess is because he didn’t have the guts to form a government and take on the corrupt Rajapaksas. All these guys are champions of human rights when out of power, but violates them in a masterful exhibition of hypocrisy once back in power.