While almost the entirety of the ethnic minorities seem to have enthusiastically voted for the Maithripala-Ranil-led coalition, a good half of the ethnic majority Sinhalese have also voted for it. Indeed, the only ‘opposition’ in Parliament is a faction – dominant, no doubt – of the UPFA that almost exclusively represents a section of the Sinhala community.
Thus, the key dividing factor in electoral politics today is no longer simply ethnicity. Rather, issues of social and economic group interests as well as policies and styles of governance are all in the forefront along with the ethnic dimension. People no longer think simplistically along ethnic lines.
Not even in the Diaspora – as revealed in the dialogue initiated by External Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera with some hardline Tamil Diaspora groups in London recently. Previously pro-Eelamist Diaspora groups are pragmatically re-thinking their own politics of divisive nationalism – a lost cause if there ever was one given the voting patterns in the North on January 8.
A band of saffron-robed activist-clerics, whose activities often seem to take place near scenes of communal violence, has now begun a new campaign that also arouses communal misunderstanding, fears and hatred in ways that could lead to violence. In the past, the activities of this band of slogan-shouting and street marching clerics have occurred very close to sites of social violence in which the shops, workplaces and homes of ethnic minorities are burned or otherwise destroyed or damaged and people of these minorities suffer displacement, destitution and the trauma of physical attack…………………….. READ ALL
A great deal of political reformation is called for if a basic democratic system is to be established but an immediate requirement called for is the elimination of leaping frogs who forget pledges given to their party and electorate and cross-over for ministerial perks and power to ride rough shod over their own electors……………. READ ALL
At Independence in 1948 we had a Parliament of 101 Members comprising 95 elected MPs and six nominated MPs to represent “unrepresented interests” like the disenfranchised estate Tamils of more recent Indian origin and even British interests represented once upon a time by the redoubtable Mr. Singleton-Salmon. In the early days MPs had an allowance of Rs. 600 a month, later increased to Rs. 750. They used their own cars to travel and paid for their petrol. The picture today is quite different. Apart from their number and the luxuries they enjoy in the new Parliament, the cost to the taxpayer of supporting these MPs who enjoy lavish pay, perks and pensions has increased unimaginably. None but the beneficiaries will favour increasing their number. But the need to get the two thirds majority for 20A has forced President Sirisena’s to agree to the 237-member proposal now on the table…………..READ MORE