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The candidate poser



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This year’s election is an interesting phenomenon. Observations suggest that reactions and the opinions of the public had a common denominator.  Prior to the candidates starting to make promises and preaching what went wrong, the public was adamant for a system change and transparency. To achieve this goal the public was demanding a clean break from the individuals who ruled in the past.


It seems to me that the past has begun to haunt the public again. How is this possible? A puzzle that socio-psychologists have been pondering recently. The two main contenders are no strangers to the public. They are well known old guards.


Let us first analyse the two main contenders and discuss others later. It is a well-known fact that Sajith Premadasa wanted to be the leader of his party for a number of years. His struggle was unsuccessful as Ranil his superior would not let go. However, as the party leader, Ranil had failed many times to be the premier but carried on with his leadership to enjoy the privileges of this exclusive club called the parliament. Whilst enjoying perks, he tried to teach the nation that who you know is more important than what you know.


As he had failed all other avenues, Sajith had one opportunity to challenge the leadership. ie. Presidential Election. After forming a group of supporters, he launched his attack to be the party candidate for the election without his leader’s consent. He managed to popularise himself and gain public and media support. Ranil could not out manoeuvre him, and resorted to " if you can’t defeat him join him", hoping he might get a chance of premiership. As Sajith is gaining public support, any position in Sajith’s team is gradually diminishing.


 Now let us consider candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa. It is true he was instrumental in doing visible work for the nation. He had the support of personnel of the forces at his disposal, and unlimited funds from the Treasury. Note that Rajapaksa clan had more than seventy five percent of the national budget at their disposal. Therefore, the public should not make a drama out of his ability to get work done. This man’s nationality issue is also questionable. His name is still not on the US nationality renunciation list. His decision to contest is wise indeed. Win or lose, there are benefits to be gained. If he loses he can go back to the US as a citizen, whether there are extradition facilities with US; and implementation is questionable, under various agreements. Therefore, he does not have to face the law with regard to pending court cases. If he wins on the other hand, he can manoeuvre his powers to free himself. If Mahinda wins with a majority in parliament, then one can safely say goodbye to any court cases pending against any member of the Rajapaksa family.


How did two old guards succeeded in gaining popularity from the public, despite the common knowledge that they will not be given another chance?


In my opinion, social media played a major role. TV, Radio, Newspapers and Facebook was hungry for news. Therefore, they will publish both ‘ Fake and Paid news’. News hungry public became gullible, and  gone beyond the point of no return and permitted the old guard to the arena. Media impact is prominent among the uneducated and the poor. Unfortunately, over seventy percent of the population belong to this category. Access to higher education is not a priority in Sri Lanka and therefore poor and uneducated can be manipulated by the elite.


There are two other groups who may gain sufficient votes to gain a few seats from the national list in parliament. They are the NPP and the JVP.


Past records of the JVP is not all that healthy. Their socialist methodology is not receiving majority support. Nationalisation and government control is not workable due to globalisation. However, their leader Anura Kumara is not promising more than the government can afford. On the other hand the  NPP group is fresh blood with fresh ideas. This group is a possible alternative. This group lacks funds to create media impact, and their publicity was late to bring about momentum and impact


Both popular candidates are offering ‘Heaven on Earth’ . Only fools will have to believe them, because the government earns five billion and spends seven billion. The only way to balance the books is to tax the public or borrow more money. This is what Ranil and the clan was doing for the last five years.


 DUDLEY KANNANGARA


 lankahouse@sky.com (UK)


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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