With just five days to go for the debate on the no-confidence motion brought by the Joint Opposition (JO) against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, elements from both the SLFP and the UNP are vying with each other making claims on the position that the SLFP would take on the matter.
Although President Sirisena has snubbed Wickremesinghe, relieving him of ministerial supervision of the Central Bank disregarding his protests, UNP MP Kavinda Jayawardena has insisted that ‘sources say the President is backing the Prime Minister.’
Meanwhile State Minister Dilan Perera (SLFP) has opined that ‘the only option to protect the Yahapalana Government and prevent the removal of the Prime Minister through the no-confidence motion was for him to step down before April 4th.’
However fellow SLFP parliamentarian Hirunika Premachandra has backed the position taken by Jayawardana, saying that the SLFP’s General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake had confirmed that the party would back the Prime Minister. She claims that Dissanayake was essentially expressing the opinion of the party leader, President Sirisena.
Dilan Perera’s argument is that ‘legal and political remedia measures on the bond scam have begun,’ because ‘nothing was done to bring to book the perpetrators or to recover the damages.’ He said that ‘the constituent partners of good governance like the TNA, the SLMC, the ACMC, the National Union of Workers and the Democratic People’s Front must vote for the motion if they want to save the government.’
Is there a low – cost way out from the present crisis boiling within the Maithripala Sirisena – Ranil Wickremesinghe administration? During the past few days, a number of well – wishers of the present government posed this question to me in personal conversations. All of them are people who have contributed in a variety of ways to the political change of January 2015. They are now deeply worried about the inevitable disintegration of the yahapalanaya regime, with two other inevitabilities – rendering irrelevant the reform mandate of 2015 and the returning to power of the unreformed Rajapaksa camp with a plainly authoritarian political agenda. Still there are no signs of a new option emerging, embodying the democratic and humanistic ideal of our society.
In these conversations, I have also been repeatedly reminded of a bitter political truth. We as citizens who are seriously committed to social and political change may bring politicians of various hues into power through the democratic process. That we do with the hope that politicians and their parties would be truthful to the mandate we, and our fellow citizens, frame and give them. In power, they pay no heed to the concerns of the citizens who authorized them to rule. With scant regard for the popular trust placed on them, the politicians have the habit of running away with political power. At times, they might even get into self-destructive power fights among themselves, as it is happening now, fully ignoring why the people placed their trust on them. Worse still, they show no understanding of why they have been entrusted with political power to begin with. This is the stuff that causes disillusionment with democracy.