His Eminence the Cardinal recently told a wonderful story.
The president, who came through the back door, will not do justice. Let’s build a new Sri Lanka…’
This story is not only the story of Cardinal but the whole world. Only the Chinese President congratulated Ranil as soon as he became President. India is usually the first to congratulate a new president of Sri Lanka. But Modi congratulated Ranil after about a month. US President Joe Biden has not yet congratulated Ranil. Although the Chinese President congratulated Ranil, when he spoke to China to restructure the Chinese debt, China said to hold a election and get people’s mandate.
India and America are the same. Another thing is that the International Monetary Fund is the same. After Ranil became president, the representatives of the financial fund who came to Sri Lanka said in the press conference that Ranil needs a mandate from the people to fulfill the conditions of the financial fund.
Ranil is a leader who can easily deal with America. India has good experience dealing with Ranil. China leased Hambantota port from Ranil’s government.
Then why are all these people asking Ranil to go for a mandate…?’
A mandate is requested because Ranil does not have a mandate. Ranil does not even have a mandate to hold an MP position. Ranil was a losing candidate in the 2020 general election. Ranil did not want to give Johnston a ministerial position, but Johnston has more mandate than Ranil who holds the office of the country’s president. Because he is a candidate who contested the 2020 general election and got 1,99,203 preferential votes.
JR decided that the president of the country should be elected by popular vote and based on that, the 1978 constitution was enacted which based on the theory that executive power should not be given to someone who does not have a popular mandate of 50% of the people of the country . Such a president should take decision about the country and grant freedom from court verdicts.
Then how D.B. Wijetunga became president…?’
D.B. Wijetunga was not a candidate for the 1989 general election. He is a retired governor who left politics. Premadasa asked him to resign from the post of governor and contest the general election in the hope that he would be appointed as the prime minister by popular mandate. Wijetunga contested the general election in 1989 and won Kandy by getting the most votes. Premadasa made him Prime Minister. When he asked for the presidency after the death of Premadasa, the first reason why the opposition SLFP did not run against him was because the SLFP did not have the majority of votes in the parliament. The second is because Wijetunga had a public mandate to become president. The third is because he was not a controversial figure in politics.
Ranil can be an experienced leader. His international connections can be phenomenal. He may know the language of the financial fund. But whatever this is, it doesn’t matter. He must have won the will of the people. The only reason for Rajapakse family to appoint him as Prime Minister and susequently the President may be because he is not liked by people. But these are not relevant for international community. The international community recognizes the head of state who receives a mandate. Even though Western countries including America dislike the Rajapaksa, they are not reluctant to accept the Rajapaksa when the Rajapaksa became president with a mandate.
So looking at it like that, what the country needs today is not any other election, but a presidential election. According to the constitution, Ranil cannot call a presidential election at the moment. But Ranil who strived hard to get two-thirds to pass the 22nd constitutional amendment, should have brought a constitutional amendment to call an emergency presidential election and hold the presidential election.
Why didn’t Ranil do that…?’
Ranil knows that if there is an emergency presidential election, he will not be guaranteed if he is not able to win the candidacy of Pohottuwa. Constitutionally, there are 100 weeks left for the presidential election. Gotabhaya became the President of the country on November 16, 2019. Nominations for the 2019 presidential election were called on October 7, 2019. Then Gotabaya’s presidential term ends in November 2024. Before that, nominations for the presidential election should be called.
That means Ranil has less than two years left. Usually, the year before the presidential election is not a working year in the country. It is a year when the country is preparing for the presidential election. This time is spent to find out who is the candidate. The best example is Maithripala’s last year in 2019. There was no government in the country since November 2018.
‘Will Maitri contest?’
Will Ranil come from U.N.P.? or Sajith?’
Will Gota be nominated by Pohottou…?’
The main duty of the public service and ministries was to find solutions to those problems. Then comes the political instability. It was at this time that a wave of strikes and agitations starts in the country.
Looking at it in this manner, 2024 is not a year for Ranil to rule a country. If it is difficult even for a president who was elected by a popular mandate to govern the country stably in the last year, it makes no sense to talk about a president who does not have a popular mandate.
So, Ranil should immediately call a presidential election and prove that he has a public mandate. If it is not, hand over the country to someone who has a public mandate.
Ranil has been Prime Minister for 6 months this November. At the time of the economic crisis in Greece, the government and the opposition came together and elected the Deputy Governor of the European Union, who was not a politician, as the Prime Minister within 6 months called an election. The reason is that the first condition presented by the financial fund and the European Union to recover Greece is that the government must have a new mandate.
The financial fund meant the same to Sri Lanka today. Ranil is not only afraid of a general election, but also local government election, so he says to forget the old differences and come together. There was an opportunity to forget old differences and come together. That was when Gota resigned from the presidency. At that time, Ranil was asked to step down from the post of Prime Minister by all other parties except Pohottuwa and the speaker of the parliament.
Ranil promised to quit and disrupted the appointment of an all-party president by demanding the acting presidency from the Rajapaksa family. Now Ranil asked everyone to join but no one wants to join. If an all-party president was appointed at that time, JVP too cannot avoid supporting that all-party president. Because of this, Ranil cannot get anyone to join him. At least the pohottuwa cannot be put together. In that case, the country should not be allowed to go astray for the next two years and a presidential election should be called immediately.
Will Ranil contest?
If Ranil is to contest, Ranil should be given candidacy of the Pohottuwa. It is impossible to think that Pohottuwa will give Ranil the presidential candidacy. The Pohottuwa means Basil. To prevent Basil from coming to Parliament and contesting the elections, the 22nd constitutional amendment is being brought to take over the power of selecting the candidate of Pohottuwa. But if Basil wants to, he can give up his American citizenship and come to parliament.
Well, if Ranil breaks the Pohottuwa and forms an alliance with the U.N.P..’
The Pohottu councilors who want to become ministers come after Ranil and only those who want to play the role of Sirisangabo are going to contest elections with Ranil. In 2015, Sri Lankan MPs went behind Maithripala to become a Minister. But when Maithri was about to contest the 2019 presidential election, they all joined the Rajapaksa knowing that Maithri could not win.
it is not known what happened to Maithree will happen to Ranil when a presidential election is announced. Because the Sri Lanka Freedom Party has accepted the Ministership of under Pohottuwa today and when a election is called, they are born experts to turn away.
By Upul Joseph Fernando