Throughout history we saw many alterations of political leadership in which some had coursed to be biggest turnovers the country relied upon for a change. Into what extent the promises made by political leaders of yesterday were fulfilled is a different conversation. In recent history, only unfolded around a month ago, events of October 26 made Sri Lanka glided across into an uncanny economic and political disaster through strongly interpreted unconstitutional and illegal decisions made by a President whom was appointed by a mandate only three years ago entrusted with a promise to save us from the wrath of executive powers to establish democracy.
Almost a month passes, we, the citizens of Sri Lanka, are still being forced to delay in the time corridors raising question as to whose decisions can be of an interpretation believable for the credibility of the future of the Sri Lankan people.
Sooner passing a Supreme Court decision shifting course of action made by President Maithreepala Sirisena announced to have the Parliament prorogued and a sudden need of an election, the Parliament was reconvened and no sooner a rampage caused in the chambers the day after Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced that there was no recognizable prime minister or a government in accordance with the constitutional framework, following a no-confidence motion pressed by the JVP against President-appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakshe approved by a majority. The parliamentarians, significantly of SLFP, threw chilli powder and furniture at each other and disrupted the proceedings of Parliament on the second day following the Speaker’s claims, Friday, forcing him to summon Police officers inside the chambers and adjourn the session until Monday.
UPFA Kalutara District Parliamentarian Kumara Welgama said that that it was questionable for the party to remain in the Government by force without the support of 113 members of the Parliament. He added that the UPFA must leave the Government if it did not have the majority’s power.
The unforeseen act of appointing a prime minister blemishing the value of people’s mandate questioning the Constitution of the country was once demonstrated by former Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera a ‘Monsterrule’ (Yamapalanaya). What had happened on October 26 was a slap on the face of everyone who relentlessly made sacrifices to get President Maithreepala Sirisena elected three years ago.
President Sirisena’s sudden act was largely interpreted on the media, especially when he made a statement before the public that he had many differences with former Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe, the leader of UNP. However, his actions may not be fully justified given the current situation the people are in, because it is apparent that the leaders of the UNP are also responsible.
The Government was born by the hand of the UPFA and the UNP. Leaders of both parties should be responsible for what has happened in the country, because they were entrusted with their duty of which the track was lost at their utter failure. Is there a justification knotted with morality, legitimacy and democracy on which the sudden course of action was made?
The rate of a US Dollar has increased in a historic remark. The International Monetary Fund was suspended. The US Moody’s indicator downgraded Sri Lankan Government from B1 to B2. The displeasure the country was stumbled before the international community has negatively begun to influence on the tourist industry, hotel industry as well on financial sector. Worsening amidst the crisis, it was recently reported that the Government treasury has no sufficient amount of money to allocate payments for the public service employees. The disaster caused by the events of October 26 was unprocessingly visible to the naked eye on the streets as well as on social media, and the chaos will continue to grow reaching far unpredictable consequences if the President does not act sooner.
Further, if this is dragged on, this crisis will acutely polarise along class, ethnic, religious, party and regional fault lines. The political developments over the last couple of weeks have unfortunately further hardened positions and heightened acrimony unnecessarily among all communities.
The solution, as per many professional interpretations, to hither away the damage caused to the country, is to honour and accept the Parliamentary decision in which the majority emphasized that the events caused since October 26 shall be rearranged in accordance with the Constitution; or, as per some demonstrations, holding an election. The earliest is a presidential or a parliamentary election. It is proposed by some, especially Ven. Rathana Thero, to have a small, all-party caretaker government led by a neutral prime minister selected from among existing parliamentary members.
Nevertheless, leader of the UNP Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe does not agree to the idea, given that they already have the majority in the Parliament.
But at a closure to the article, leaving a remark, all bodies, i.e. the politicians, civil societies and religious leaders, of all colours, need to remember that amidst such political crisis emerged in the country they should be sparing their differences and holding the prejudice aside to move beyond the catastrophe as a form of collaboration to save the country. The crisis must be solved within the framework of democracy and legitimacy. Otherwise, our very hesitation would be our greatest depression to leave for the future generations, enabling them into an alien country that rules irresponsibility, bigotry and selfishness.