People have given their unequivocal verdict. They have
chosen the UPFA in preference to the UNP and others. Though it
does not amount to a two-thirds majority, the victory is huge by
Those who were ready to cry foul had their mouths shut. In
fact, on the Election Day morning posters that cried foul
appeared in the city, even before counting started. The people
have been wiser. With a stroke of the pen or the pencil they
prevented a repeat of the January 26 wailing.
The election has been the most quiet and solemn in recent
times barring some unfortunate incidents in the Kandy district.
It is necessary to identify and punish the miscreants there
without fear or favour. The harm such action has caused to the
good name of the country and its people should not be tolerated.
It is because such people could commit such mischief earlier
with impunity that it happened. In order to ensure that such
incidents do not repeat in the future deterrent punishment is
the only remedy.
The high majority of the UPFA is also a result of Opposition
disunity. It was something to be expected. However, it is clear
that even if the Opposition were united the UPFA would have won
On the whole the UNP performance was dismally poor. Its
campaign lacked energy, enthusiasm and content. Its leader
provided more entertainment than facts on political stage.
This time too the UPFA performance was better in the rural
hinterland. Though it has made inroads into urban areas still
the UNP dominated the metropolis. As indicated on previous
occasions the migration of the lower middle class and
white-collar workers to the suburban areas have sapped the voter
base of the UPFA in the metropolis.
The General Election 2010 would be best remembered not for
the votes cast and majorities earned by parties and candidates
but by the large number of voters who did not make it to the
polling booth. This could be attributed to several factors. One
is the general voter apathy following the lacklustre campaign by
the Opposition. Another is the disgust exhibited by the voters
over the manaape in-fighting. Still another could be the
reaction of the voters to the lacklustre performance of their
MPs in Parliament and aversion to some of their practices.
The large number of absentee voters, therefore, casts an
aspersion on the electoral system itself. In addition to their
aversion to the preferential system the voters have also felt
that they stand aloof from their MPs as they are inaccessible to
many following election victory.
It is food for thought for both sociologists and legislators.
A fresh START
For the first time since the demise of the USSR the
United States and Russia, two nuclear super powers have agreed
on the reduction of the nuclear arsenal. This is a step in the
right direction. The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty signed
on April 8 in Prague by the Presidents of the United States and
Russia aims to cut their nuclear warheads by one-third to 1,500.
It is still too large. In fact even one nuclear warhead is
too many for it could destroy the world in an instant. In
nuclear war there is no advantage of a first strike. The real
security of the world would be when it is totally free from
nuclear weapons. This is the most significant treaty between
them after 1991 when they signed the START which expired last
The two leaders have agreed to carry on negotiations further.
All aspects of nuclear disarmament and security would be
explored, including the issue of a missile defence shield that
the US proposes to have for Europe, ostensibly to defend against
rogue nuclear states. The US names Iran as such a state though
While it is hypocritical for major nuclear weapon holding
powers to deny the development of nuclear energy by other
States, the necessity of all nuclear powers ratifying the
Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty is all a necessary imperative
for world peace.
In this respect the World Nuclear Summit convened by
Washington as well as a similar conference to be held in Teheran
are important landmarks in the search for world nuclear
No country could remain indifferent to the stock piling and
testing of nuclear weapons as it threatens the whole mankind.
Sri Lanka too should add its voice to the millions the world
over calling for an end to nuclear weapons.