A prudent request | Daily News


 

A prudent request

All right thinking Sri Lankans would certainly endorse the sentiments expressed by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa calling for a strong mandate for the Government at the upcoming General Election particularly given the unholy mess the country was plunged into the last time around when the President and the Prime Minister were from two different political parties due to a distorted mandate.

Premier Rajapaksa’s appeal, of course, was based on the anti-national course pursued by the Yahapalanaya Government, where, according to the PM, it worked to the agenda of foreign powers, primarily targeting the country’s war heroes and the Maha Sangha.

A strong mandate would definitely send a clear message to the international community against any form of interference in the country’s internal affairs, particularly with regard to war crimes allegations and the need for setting up international tribunals in this country. An overwhelmingly positive mandate would act as a strong buffer against such machinations.

Issuing a statement the Prime Minister noted that the situation that prevailed following the assumption of power by the Yahapalanaya Government in 2015 was akin to be taken over by a hostile foreign invading force.

“They systematically persecuted the nationalist political camp. They jailed leading Buddhist monks on trumped up charges. They moved to demoralize the Armed Forces which defeated terrorism,” the statement added. He called upon the people to have the broader picture in mind when casting their vote.

When President J.R. Jayewardene introduced the Executive Presidential system he would have never envisaged the President and Prime Minister hailing from two different political parties. The perils of the system soon became apparent during the Chandrika Kumaratunga Presidency when the UNP turned tables on her and won a majority in the House. The Sirisena Wickremesinghe political marriage was a revelation, with hostilities taken further afield which resulted in a total collapse of Governance and the two leaders at perennial loggerheads leading to the sacking of the Prime Minister and the collapse of Yahapalanaya.

Things would have been bearable if it was only a political dog fight. But as it turned out the country’s security was compromised too with tit for tat battles between the duo. The cumulative effect of all this was the Easter Sunday bombings when the country was left rudderless and leaderless, with all actors pointing the accusing finger at each other.

No doubt President Gotabaya Rajapaksa with his military credentials is a more assertive leader who will brook no nonsense from any quarter. The country cannot certainly go back to such an era where the President and the Prime Minister will be at loggerheads with each other particularly with the 19th Amendment in place.

Hence, the call for a stable mandate for the present Government is eminently justifiable, particularly at a time the country and economy need stability with the President and the Prime Minister pulling in a single direction in the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic dealing a crippling blow to all sectors of the economy.

Whether the Government will receive a two thirds majority is left to be seen but this no doubt will be an added factor for stability and efficient Government. Besides Government Ministers are already talking about bringing in certain amendments to 19A to rid itself of certain trenchant features that retard progress and stability.

Interestingly, it is former President Maithripala Sirisena himself who, the other day, spoke of the unfeasibility of having a President and Prime Minister from two different political parties. No doubt his bitter experience in this regard must have been the deciding factor.

Long wait over for schools

With the curfew lifted from yesterday and the schools reopening, it is now more than a safe bet that the Coronavirus has indeed fled from this country although a note of caution here will not be misplaced.

All schools are reopening after 108 long days which is assurance enough that the danger is behind us vis-a-vis the pandemic. In fact schools were the first to close down at the first hint of the virus and understandably so since the young tend to be careless and disregard any health guidelines.

However, it is important that a close vigilance be kept on schools which have several activities that are not exactly in keeping with the distance rule and other guidelines particularly where sports activity is concerned.

It would not do to be careless and ruin all the good work done in this regard by health officials and security forces in controlling the pandemic.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has warned against complacency and wants the prevailing restrictions to be followed to the letter. For now though the country can breathe a huge sigh of relief in seeing off the spectre of a deadly virus when elsewhere in the word a second wave is already causing more havoc.


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