Maithripala Sirisena unconstitutionally removed Prime Minister Ranil and installed Mahinda as Prime Minister and dissolved Parliament exactly 365 days before the 2019 presidential election. The 2019 presidential election date was announced on September 18, 2019. Maithripala was in a political frenzy by September 18, 2018. By this time he was dreaming of becoming the common candidate of U.N.P. in 2019 presidential election. He understood that if Ranil was in the leadership, he would not be able to get the common candidacy from U.N.P.
‘I have only 365 days left…’
He told his colleagues who came to meet him that there was nothing to do.
‘If you don’t do something before 365 days, you will miss the next presidency…’
They whispered to Maithri.
‘If Ranil is removed and Mahinda is made Prime Minister, we will get the presidential candidacy of the Podujana Peramuna…’
This is the rope that the Rajapaksa gave to Maithripala who was helpless and had nothing to do.
‘The drowning man struggles to hang on to the hay…’
That’s what politically knowledgeable people, say after seeing Maithripala dancing in fear during those 365 days. He became so politically obsessed that he threw the constitution to a side and made Mahinda the prime minister and dissolved the parliament. He made that conspiracy in October 2019. The number of days the president can stay in the chair has been calculated.
‘What is the obsession with these presidents during their last 365 days…?’
The other president who developed this obsession was D.B. Wijetunga. In the 1995 presidential election, everyone was of the opinion that D.B. Wijetunga would have won if he had contested. The reason is because there was a conflict between Sri Lanka Freedom Party leader Mrs. Bandaranaike and her daughter Chandrika for the presidential candidacy.
It was not a problem for DB to take the presidential candidacy from UNP. But D.B, before holding the presidential election, dissolved the Southern Provincial Council and a provincial council vote was held saying that this is the battle of ‘GalaUda’. It defeated him. After that defeat, he was afraid to go to the presidential election. When the party opposed him, he calls a general election to decide whether to run for the presidential election or not.
He went to the general election with the U.N.P. The government still had a year to go to a general election. He danced a great political dance. The UNP was devastated. The UNP did not know that Wijetunga was going to dissolve Parliament. He thought that the UNP would win the general election. His plan was to go to the presidential election when the UNP wins the general election. But the UNP was defeated. Wijetunga also danced this dance of political madness there was 365 days to the next presidential election. He put all the dances and pomp that could be danced during these 365 days.
As of last Friday, there are 365 days until the 2024 presidential election.
‘What kind of pomp Ranil would adopt…?’
When the 365 days to the next presidential election are completed, out of those 365, a president has the strength to do anything only for 182 and half days. In other words, 6 months. The reason is that the next 182 days or 6 months will be spent preparing the country for a presidential election. Then candidates are nominated from different parties. During that time, the judiciary, the police, and the public service will have a lot of freedom. The reason is that time is the time when the wings of the President are getting clipped.
‘Does that mean that with in another 182 days, Ranil’s wings will also be clipped…?’
Maithripala was a president who was elected by popular mandate. His party won about 12% of the votes in the 2018 LG poll. He was accompanied by powerful ministers and members of the SLFP. But it was unclear from which party he was contesting. He was so upset that in September 2019, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party informed the Election Commissioner that the Party would present a candidate for the presidential election. At that time, a presidential election had not been announced. But Maithri’s frustration was clearly evident from that notification. In the end, Sri Lanka Freedom party did not field a candidate. The SLFP stalwarts who were with Maithrie joined the Podujana Peramuna, understanding that Maithrie has no political future.
‘Will the same happen to Ranil…?’
Ranil’s media has been selling the name of Podujana Peramuna MP Nimal Lanza for a week or two now and Ranil is making a new alliance. News plants are saying that 50 to 60 members of the Podujana Peramuna will join the alliance with Ranil. Ranil is also playing the media game played by Maithri during these 365 days.
‘Karu-Sajith in an alliance with Maithri…’
U.N.P. 50 to 60 MPs broke away from the Podujana Peramuna and entered the presidential election with a new alliance…’
If you look at Sri Lankan newspapers between September 2018 and September 2019, news of this calibre was crowded in publications every day. There is a historical similarity in that news and Ranil’s new alliance news today.
‘Does that mean that Ranil’s disciples’ seats are getting hot…?’
It’s not getting hot, it’s already hot. These days, the members of Podujana Peramuna who say that Ranil should be the presidential candidate, the members of Samagi Jana Balavega, who say that Ranil and Sajith should unite, are being sold at a high price. Podujana Peramuna MLAs, U.N.P. MPs were sold at very good prices.
This is the time when Ranil disguises himself to take Maithri’s place. I don’t know what position Ranil, who does not have the people’s mandate that even Maithri had, will take. If he does not get the presidential candidacy from Podujana Peramuna or Samagi Jana Balavega, no matter what ground he touches, he will also shrink like Maithri.
‘Why is Ranil going to a general election…?’
If Ranil goes to a general election, Ranil’s advisors who will govern the country with Ranil today will be eliminated from politics. In 2020, they sacrificed their necks for Ranil and lost their seats. It is impossible to think that they will make that stupid cry once again. This time they are struggling to find a way to get rid of Ranil’s neck.
By Upul Joseph Fernando