Time to bury the hatchet | Daily News

Time to bury the hatchet

A UNP delegation was scheduled to meet with President Maithripala Sirisena late last evening in what was termed by many as a last ditch attempt to find a way out of the present political crisis which from all indications the Present was keen on resolving considering the dire consequences the current political stalemate is bound to have on the economy and social life in general. There is no denying that the country is in a state of drift with little or no work done in Government departments where the discussions are centred on the protracted crisis and unfolding developments on the political scene.

There were positive signs, though, to indicate that the President was on the verge of resolving matters without letting the crisis prolong indefinitely. He has told a TNA delegation that met him on Friday that he would permit the party that showed a majority in Parliament to take the reins of Government. In an interview with our weekend publication, the Sunday Observer President Sirisena said he did not have any say on the matter as it should be resolved within the Legislature. “If any party can muster the support of the majority, the other party which has failed to do so should work accordingly. Then, the party having the majority should govern on the basis that if they have the majority they should be the Government”.

Last Thursday, Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, who, along the Ven. Athureliye Rathana Thera, were the only Government members to attend Parliament, struck a conciliatory note by urging both sides to resolve the crisis without further delay since the present crop of Parliamentarians and Parliament itself had become the laughing stock of the public, adding that should the crisis allowed to continue this would make the people lose all faith in the Parliamentary system and democracy itself. Like the President, he was of the firm view that the party commanding the majority in Parliament should be entrusted with governance and went further by appealing to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to meet the President and reach compromise to which the latter readily consented.

Rajapakshe it was widely felt was acting as a peace emissary of the President which was only confirmed by the subsequent sentiments expressed by the President to the TNA. The vast majority among the general public, no doubt, would greatly welcome this attempt at rapprochement, more so the Christians of this country who are all set to usher in Christmas in another two weeks time.

Christmas, as is the tradition, is a festival heralding peace, goodwill and reconciliation and a time when past enmities are resolved and hatred banished. It is the fervent wish of all that the warring parties will let bygones be bygones and reach a compromise where the problem is resolved to the satisfaction of all. Perhaps all religious leaders led by the Most Venerable Mahanayake Theras and the pro-active Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith could lead the way in getting both factions to see reality. No one, it is certain, would want the crisis to spill over into the New Year which would only bring dark forebodings to the nation.

One should also not lose sight of the fact that the crisis is boiling over at a time when 656,641 candidates are sitting for their GCE (O/L) examination. It is not clear in what mental state they are in, although the vast majority of them, obviously, will be disaffected by the goings-on, on the political stage strutted on by mature adults who have been entrusted with guiding the future of the nation. Nevertheless, it is not clear how the political turmoil which had affected every citizen in some way since the outset will have a bearing on the performance of these students whose future lies in the success at these examinations.

Hence it is all the more reason that the political standoff is brought to end without further delay and normality restored in the country. Both sides should make up their minds to discard their entrenched positions for the sake of the country and strike a bargain that would be a win-win one. The President has already shown a way out and it is left to the UNP to grasp the opportunity. There is some talk that the Supreme Court verdict on the dissolution of Parliament that was scheduled to be delivered on the 7th could be pushed back. In that event, a solution will have to wait until the Court eventually decides on the matter, as some in both camps have already expressed the position that they were waiting for the Court’s final decision to decide on the next course of action.

This could only further exacerbate matters. We are almost at the end of the current year and funds to run the Government for the ensuing year will have to be approved through the annual budget, the presentation of which cannot be delayed any longer. Hence the need for statesmen like decisions on the part of the political leaders whose priority should be the country’s future well-being. 


 

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