17 December 2018
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Some people are inflicted with an anti Ranil disease – Gamini Viyangoa

gamainiWhen Silumina newspaper had a discussion with Gamini Viyangoda an active political analyst who is always vigilant of the current politics was able to take important topics of the current political context.

 

Now there is a widespread controversy about the dissolution of the parliament. When a group of people say that parliament should be dissolved another group challenges that it is not necessary to dissolve. How do you join this debate?

It is like this, the main argument of the group which say that parliament should not be dissolved is still the promise given to change the electoral system is pending. I am not against that argument. I also think the president and the government has a moral obligation to fulfill the promises given to the people prior to January 8th.

There is no contradiction for that, but I wish to question, the parliament should not be dissolved, is that to fulfill that obligation. It is very clear this demand is not for that. We all saw the devious intention behind the 19th amendment. Today the 19th amendment what we all wanted was not this. It was a diluted 19th amendment which finally came out. The amendment was hindered to its maximum and the best example for that is the establishment of the constitutional council.

The constitutional council was brought to promote non-politicization. Despite the case there were seven politicians already included in that council. I wish to stress how can we none-politicize the council with seven politicians. It is absurd. Some regressive forces together with the opposition completely reversed the 19th amendment. If the recent experience was such that we cannot keep any hopes for the 20th and go for any other political goals. That is contrary to the Good Governance.

What is the political objective you assert?
Delaying the General Election to its maximum and provide the space for the Rajapaksa platoon is the main objective. It is very evident. These days Mahinda Rajapaksa visits all temples. Today there are no religious activities performed in the temples instead the temples has become a political centre to exercise politics of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

It is very regrettable that today the monks do not understand what is to be done and what not to be done inside a temple. For example when you take Abayaramaya instead of the preaching and pirith we can hear the pirith of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Mahinda Rajapaksa is shamelessly using the temples for his political campaigns.

It is not only the pro Rajapaksa who emphasize that it is not necessary to convene a General Election but the Jathika Hela Urumaya who is an alliance member of the present government. The president too is reiterating that he will never dissolve the parliament without adopting the 20th?

We had a discussion last Thursday with the President and the Prime Minister. The president said that even to win or lose it is necessary to bring the 20th. His argument was despite we lose we should present it. If we lose we can tell the country that it is due to this group. There is a fact in that logic but the problem is how long would that take? If that can be done by the coming week it would be good.

Whereas it will not take place, Now see, until now the constitutional council was not made. Involuntarily we are giving the required space for the opposite party to hinder. Instead we should set a date in the coming week and present it. On that day we should know who comply and who dislikes. Thereafter we can move forward. But this is not happening. This is deliberately getting delayed. What you said is true.

It is not only the pro Rajapaksa who reject this proposal but there are people within the government as well. Champika Ranawaka and Rathna himi are the main factors who were responsible to dilute the 19th amendment to such an extent. They have their own political agendas. At the same time they are inflicted with an anti Ranil opinion. Many people suffer from the anti Ranil disease. Their duty is nothing but to promote this anti Ranil agenda.

Why you went to meet the president with the people who suffer from anti Ranil opinion?

No we never went with them. We went as the “Citizen’s Force” to meet the president as the partners of the memorandum we signed with the president during the president election.

There was an public opinion societal that all those groups who went for the discussion on Thursaday demanded to dissolve the parliament following adopting the 20th amendment. Is that story false?

No, nothing like that happened. As a policy we agree for the 20th amendment. We have to understand the ontological and the objective of behind this. This is not to adopt the 20th. We clearly told that during the discussion.

Although there were 40 partners who signed the memorandum were invited to the discussion what I said earlier Rathna himi was also present. We were thinking how Rathna himi came there. When we were signed the memorandum although Rathna himi was there he abstained to sign. He never signed. Jathika Hela Urumaya has not taken any decision during that time.

Do you think Jathika Hela Urumaya has a hidden agenda?
Of course it is very clear. They have a hidden agenda. As long as they restrain the early election they anticipate they can prevent the majority victory of the UNP.

UNP too is fueling that. For example the Central Bank issue, that shouldn’t have happened. They attack against that. The removal of the director general of the customs is another issue. The opposing party knows that such discrepancy happens. Therefore they know they can weaken the UNP as long as the election gets late.

They know the UNP would win with a majority. They are trying to reduce that majority and replace that with the opposition and balance the force. Only then they can pull the lever and create deals.

Under this critical context what would you think be the role of the president?

I hope the president should be able to understand the insights of the current political alignment.

Isn’t that better to give a significant time frame for that?
It is like this. What we are talking now should have been done within those 100 days. Now the 100 days has elapsed and it is reaching 200 days. So another how many days we should give? The more it gets delay the consequence would not what we expect. Therefore this time frame has to be reduced. The president should understand this. He has that comprehension.

However due to his ontology the president wishes to somehow fulfill most of his promises. Honestly I don’t like if he somehow try to fulfill his promises by fowl means. If he tries to induce and fulfill his promises I don’t like. I see giving ministerial positions as a bribe.

You can bribe and get only thieves. You cannot bribe and buy people with policies. Therefore by offering ministerial positions you can get only rogues. We don’t need such reformations. Those types of reformations would be diluted. Running behind a 20th and adopting in such a way would be a meaningless exercise.

As you said I feel the time is very important, but what is most important is not to get fixed to a time frame but to fulfill the promises he gave during the presidency, isn’t it?

That has to be fulfilled. Then the question arises why we promised to fulfill the agendas in 100 days. There was an estimate that these agendas can be done within 100 days. That is a false estimation. On the other side there is a problem of legitimacy. What is that legitimacy? During the presidency Maithripala Sirisena said that he would appoint Ranil Wicramasinghe as the Prime Minister. Ranil Wicramasinghe and the UNP are a rejected leader and a party from the 2010 general election.

Maithripala Sirisena’s promise is to appoint such a prime minister. If so the 2010 mandate would be changed. Therefore this is not a legitimate parliament. This parliament has to take a short time to fulfill its promised duties. This parliament has no right to continue till next April. The people have given their consent to execute something good in a shorter period. People have not given their consent to use that in such a method.

I know that you don’t predict future statements. However what do you think would be the end of this crisis?
If the General Election is postponed till next September the president and his Good Governance would face unpleasant consequences. Therefore a General Election should be held before that. The politics in Sri Lanka is that the people who have black money can easily change the people’s opinion overnight. Mahinda Rajapaksa is executing that now.

They have plenty of money. They can use that money and change the people in another three to four months time. People have forgotten that their wages were increased by Rs. 10,000 and the petrol and diesel got reduced. People have also forgotten that they can speak without fear. The affinity is getting reduced with time. Mahinda Rajapaksa knows that. He is a clever politician. He wants to increase this repulsion day by day. He knows how to use that. We don’t need to teach him that.

Therefore we should not breathe easy. We should be very careful. I hundred percent agree that the electoral system should be changed as a policy. But I have problems with the 225 and 255. I am denying the 255. The advancement of democracy is the reduction of the representatives. In Athens an entire town was there. Likewise it got reformed and reduced. In our country there are 225 members for the 22 million populations. But in India for 1250 million there were only 545 members in the Lok Sabah. In Australaia there are 150 members for 23 million. Therefore if they can have such a composition why can’t we? On the other hand in 1987 when we tried to adopt the 13th amendment what we did? We anticipated two reasons. One is to find a solution to the national crisis and the second is the democratization. We decentralized the power. The Provincial Councils were established. When the power is shifting how can we increase the MP’s? We adopted this in 1987 and before completing a year we increased the 100 odd seats to 22

When the power was decentralized we should reduce the MP seats but we did not do that. In a country where the political ethics has been developed it is good to increase the people’s representatives. However in a country like ours increasing the representatives means increasing the fraudsters, drug dealers and rapists. I don’t agree to an expansion of such a parliament.
(Chamara Lakshan Kumara)
- http://www.sinhala.srilankamirror.com/ -
Translated by Ali asghar

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