A crude bid to capture national political power by the so-called Joint Opposition, disgracefully aided and abetted by a section of President Maithripala Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) failed this week. Given the political configurations on the floor of the House, perhaps this failure was inevitable but nothing is certain after all, in this dirty, rotten game of scoundrels beating their chests like patriots, as they say.
If this plot had succeeded, the consequences for national stability are too catastrophic to contemplate. In the wake of the defeat, the United National Party (UNP) has promised wide ranging reforms, internally as well as in respect of its chaotic governance processes. There is, of course, huge skepticism in the public preception of these promises which the UNP must recognise as natural, given the umpteen times that such attempts have failed.
Sports journalists, who write previews about matches, be it cricket, rugby or football, often predict the outcome of such matches by stating that on paper side A or B should win but qualify their prediction by stating that the outcome would finally be determined by the actual performance of the teams on the day of the match.
The same cliché could well have been applied prior to the no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister in Parliament last week. On paper, the Prime Minster should have been assured of pulling through on the basis of the numbers the UNP could command (even without the four or five MPs who had openly sounded rebellious). He had the backing of his Cabinet colleagues from the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the All Ceylon Muslim Congress, the United Progressive Alliance, the Jathika Hela Urumaya as well as the Tamil National Alliance – parties which backed the Good Governance agenda of President Maithripala Sirisena on January 8, 2015.
Yet reflecting the glorious (or more correctly the inglorious) uncertainties of Sri Lankan politics, very few could have predicted the outcome in advance with certainty.
Finally, however, the no-confidence motion (NCM) was defeated comfortably and its supporters who were so cocky as to predict a victory for themselves by a minimum of seven and a maximum of more than 50 had to eat humble pie.