Elections Once Again


Once again, it’s your turn to select a new batch of rogues and cheats to run our country. Or should I say, ruin our country. But frankly, we have had universal franchise since the Donoughmore Commission (or was it Soulbury) about 70 years ago. Every election since then, somebody has complained that the to-be-winner was going to ruin the country. Yet the country is still here, isn’t it? After all, our country survived 30 years of a brutal war with most of the international community (considered to include Western countries only) seeming to support the terrorists. Sri Lanka can definitely survive another bunch of misfits in parliament.

Not to say that there isn’t the occasional good person in parliament. And also not to say that there isn’t the occasional good deed by bad MPs. But often the bad outweighs the good by a large margin, and the good MPs don’t last long in parliament (at least not as “good” MPs).

There is also the stupidity factor to consider when voting in the parliamentary elections. Many of the candidates are pretty stupid. Or they are not fit to be in parliament, which means they are stupid enough to run for election. They range from actors and singers to cricketers and athletes. And because of their popularity, they will actually get voted in tomorrow. Not that they will do much more that the previous generation.

Meanwhile, the parties’ real politicians would have had major problems deciding whom to nominate for each area, which means there may be plenty of disgruntled candidates appointed to the wrong district, perhaps hoping to jump ship after the election. The SLFP leaders would have had trouble because there are way too many new members in the party, waiting for a place in parliament. The UNP would have had trouble because they want all their top politicians to get seats in an election they will most definitely loose. The DNA/NDF/JVP/SF party wouldn’t have trouble yet since their hero Sarath Fonseka is almost guaranteed a seat. Their problem will come later when they realise that Sarath Fonseka cannot attend parliament from prison.

Maybe this year the SLFP will destroy the Manape system that has screwed the country for so long, and introduce something that stops members of the same party from killing each other. The system was originally introduced during J.R. Jayawardane’s presidency to ensure that UNP stays in power. This would have worked fine if not for the mess up after Premadasa’s death, which led to people realising that the UNP’s decade of rule was long enough. Chandrika was subsequently voted in and the SLFP has been in power ever since, thanks to J.R.’s Manape system. If the SLFP is now willing to remove the system, with a two-thirds majority in parliament of course, I wonder how it will give the ultimate benefit to their party? Would it backfire like J.R.’s plan?

Not that I should be worried. I managed well for the last 13 years, and I will keep doing well whatever party or person is in power. After all, I am not old enough to vote yet, and I don’t study in a national school anymore to be affected by changes in the Ministry of Education. But regardless of my feelings for this circus called the election, people must exercise their right by choosing the most suitable idiots to run our country, and possibly our lives. It is your democratic right, right?

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