President Gotabaya Rajapaksa however decided that he could still meet the challenges with the powers vested in him. True to his word, the infected clusters were quickly contained. Sri Lanka is yet to face the dreaded second wave that had engulfed most other countries. Though imports were severely controlled, his Administration ensured that there were no shortages of any essentials
by Shivanthi Ranasinghe
Sri Lanka is the first country to defeat “Regime Change”. The fact that this whole operation was reversed by the ballot makes this accomplishment irrefutable. It is after all in the guise of strengthening democracy that this “Regime Change” Operation was launched. Critics have tried to downplay this turn of events by claiming that the voter turnout was the lowest in the decade. With a voter turnout of over 71 percent however, the recently concluded general elections can hardly be considered to have been apathetic.
This election was held at a time that is trying for the whole world. There was an attempt within the country to postpone elections indefinitely and instead for the dissolved Parliament to be recalled. This would have allowed those politicians whose popularity that had nosedived to remain as decision-makers without a people’s mandate.
It is interesting that advocates of democracy found fault with President Gotabaya. They accused him of running the country without a Parliament. However, instead of taking the ground situation into account or exploring ways of safely conducting elections, their expectations were also for the dissolved parliament to be recalled and elections to be postponed. Surprisingly, it did not bother them that such an act would violate the people’s franchise.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa however decided that he could still meet the challenges with the powers vested in him. True to his word, the infected clusters were quickly contained. Sri Lanka is yet to face the dreaded second wave that had engulfed most other countries. Though imports were severely controlled, his Administration ensured that there were no shortages of any essentials.
The Supreme Courts agreed with the President that he had taken the right steps in dissolving Parliament and calling for general elections. Therefore, the onus of holding elections were with the Elections Commission.
The EC that had already postponed elections twice had no other choice but to proceed. By this time, since the Kandakadu cluster, not a single new patient had been identified from within the Island.
It is also noteworthy that independent observers have declared this election to have been both fair and peaceful. Therefore, no one can interpret the two third majority that the Gotabaya Rajapaksa Administration received as anything but a clear mandate from the people.
A healthy voter turnout, elections conducted in a peaceful environment despite the trying circumstances and a clear message from the people attests to the strength of the democracy in Sri Lanka. Yet, the silence from the so-called proponents of democracy is deafening.
Mandate Received in
2015n & in 2020
After the 2015 presidential and parliamentary elections, many international players as well as independent bodies applauded Sri Lanka for reestablishing democracy. Some even took credit for it. The then US State Secretary John Kerry revealed that nearly USD 800 million of American taxpayers’ money was invested to change the governments of four countries. Sri Lanka was one of them.