For a fresh start | Daily News

For a fresh start

At the time of writing the Joint Opposition sponsored No-Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is been debated in earnest in parliament with all fire and brimstone. Some of the more vociferous MPs who were gung ho that Ranil Wickremesinghe would be history come the morning of April 5 had changed tack yesterday only to remind the government that it would soon lose its two thirds majority in the House. Others who spoke of a new dawn after yesterday were tearing their hair and gnashing their teeth about moneybags changing hands and the amounts involved.

Whatever the outcome of this No-Confidence Motion, there is no gainsaying that stability has to return to the government, whatever its composition, from today. The country, perhaps, never in its post independence history had witnessed instability to the extent the current dispensation is caught up in. It was obvious to all except the naive that the unity government was in a state of drift following the results of the February 10 LG elections. It is also no exaggeration to say that the entire state apparatus was in a state of paralysis with the state officials reluctant to take decisions of a compromising nature. The stock exchange continues to be on the slide and the rupee has collapsed vis-a-vis the dollar. Needless to say, foreign investors have given the country a wide berth as a result of the prevailing political instability.

Day-to-day life too has been affected with talk in the market place centred around the No-Confidence Motion and who will be the next Prime Minister. There is dissonance in the entire state apparatus and a feeling that things are not moving. Development appears to be at a standstill and if there is such activity it has not reached the public domain. Amidst it all, the crime rate too is escalating, with daily killings in some corner or other in the country, the law enforcement in knee jerk reaction mode.

Even before the outcome of the LG polls results the ever widening cracks in the unity government was only all too apparent, with different actors saying different things at different places and ministers and MPs both, of the UNP and SLFP/UPFA, pulling in different directions. Finger pointing too was not in short supply between the two factions, sending all the wrong messages to the public vis-a-vis stability.

It is in this context that the No-Confidence Motion could be termed a blessing in disguise. It would prove decisive in charting a steady course for the ship of state, now cast adrift in choppy seas, since the day the marriage between the two arch political rivals came into being. The President, as the Captain should now act with the proper perspective, shedding all indecisiveness which marked the unity government's journey hitherto traversed during the past three years.

Things are also bound to unravel one way or the other and events determined in a way that would finally make the contours clear and the much needed stability restored through whatever form the government would eventually take, starting today.

In all this, President Maithripala Sirisena, no doubt, will be the central figure who would determine the course the country would take out of the ashes of this No-Confidence Motion. He would have to take decisive action in the implementation of policies leaving no room for vacillation. Should the PM prevail, and the UNP decide to form its own administration, sans the SLFP, either as a minority government, or with the support of some SLFP MPs, to obtain a working majority, he should not hinder such a move, though his own party would be in the Opposition, in the name of stability.

Such an eventuality would hark back to the days of the cohabitation between CBK and the 2001 UNP government. Here too it was not without hiccups, but to the credit of the former President she did not interfere with the policies of the UNP government, nor veto its decisions, until its premature end.

Be that as it may, with another two years to go before the next Presidential Election, the country cannot be allowed to remain in a state of suspended animation as a result of political instability. This would not only affect the country domestically but also have its international ramifications. Donors would not come forward to help out countries which are unstable and unable to manage its affairs. Besides, there are various international commitments made, particularly on the reconciliation front. The country which was virtually in the international dog house prior to January 2015 succeeded in emerging from that bad spell with the election of Maithripala Sirisena. This achievement should not be squandered as a result of political instability brought about by infighting in the government. It should not go unmentioned that most of this goodwill accrued to us through the efforts of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. What is needed urgently is a course correction with the joint participation of the President and Premier Wickremesinghe, or, whoever will be the Prime Minister. They owe it to the country.


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