Economist signals another defeat for Rajapaksa

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s breakaway faction of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party is set for another humiliating defeat at next year’s presidential elections, according to the track record of the London-based Economist Group.

The subscription-based Economic Intelligence Unit, an arm of the Economist Group, in its latest report on Sri Lanka has predicted that Rajapaksa’s SLPP, a breakaway faction of the SLFP, will win both the next presidential and parliamentary elections.

The research and analysis arm of the London publication made an identical prediction in December 2014, just three weeks before the presidential election. “Mahinda Rajapaksa is likely to win the presidential election,” the EIU said on December 18, 2014.

Three weeks later, Maithripala Sirisena, a politician who had been written off by the EIU, romped home with a majority of 449,000 votes, much more than the 180,000 majority Rajapaksa gained a decade earlier.

Ranil Maithiri Mahinda 2The latest EIU report has even got some of the basic facts wrong. It talks about a presidential election in 2020. In fact, constitutionally, the poll must be held between November 8, 2019, and December 8, 2019.

  The EIU applied the local council election results to arrive at its conclusion that Rajapaksa’s SLPP will emerge winner of the next parliamentary election too. The February council results were indeed a wake-up call to the Prime Minister and his United National Party, but those results cannot be applied to parliamentary elections conducted under a different system.

Based on the EIU track record on predicting Sri Lankan election results, several social media users asked if the London publication got their vital intelligence from Sumanadasa Abeygunawardena who predicted a thumping Rajapaksa victory in 2015.

Unlike the EIU, however, the Sri Lankan astrologer Abeygunawardena apologised to his fans saying that he had known all along that Rajapaksa was doomed, but he hadn’t had the heart to tell him that he would lose.