POLITICS

National Government And Other Wedge Issues

Politics
Vishvanath
The government said on Wednesday that it would present a motion to Parliament that day for forming a national government. The Opposition let out a howl of protest. The motion was not submitted as stated. The government apparently got cold feet. However, its plan is far from abandoned. There is no way the UNF can form a national government in the constitutionally prescribed manner without securing the support of at least two parties represented in Parliament. The Constitution has clearly defined the national government: ‘National ...Continued

Battle Lines Drawn, Big Guns Primed

Politics
Vishvanath
Promises are said to be like babies—easy to make but hard to deliver. This adage may explain the government’s predicament as regards the constitution-making process, which it has had to accelerate, at the behest of the TNA. It is also under pressure to let the TNA have a say in the development drive to be launched in the North and the East, according to media reports. The TNA is making the most of the UNF administration’s dependence on it for survival. The government is on ...Continued

TNA’s Pound Of Flesh, UNP’s Woes And UPFA’s Dilemma

Politics
Vishvanath
The UNP finds itself between the devil and the deep blue sea. It is dependent on the TNA to control Parliament, where it lacks a working majority, and fulfilling the TNA’s conditions is likely to cost it dear in terms of votes in the southern electorate. The TNA’s attempt to retain the post of the Opposition Leader, while propping up the government, has failed; the Speaker has reiterated his position that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is the Opposition Leader. Having enabled the UNP to regain ...Continued

Political Double Bill And Glimmer Of Hope

Politics
Vishvanath
We are watching a protracted polls drought straggle to an end. An election year is about to dawn. Political parties are apparently limbering up for electoral contests if their reorganizing attempts are anything to go by. President Maithripala Sirisena has asked SLFP electoral organisers to gird up their loins. The UNP has also called upon its organisers to get ready for elections. If the dissolution of Parliament by President Maithripala Sirisena had gone unchallenged, there would have been a general election early next month. As ...Continued

Sirisena In A Scissor Hold?

Politics
Vishvanath
The Supreme Court (SC) verdict that the dissolution of Parliament is unconstitutional has sent President Maithripala Sirisena reeling. It is heartening that the judgment was unanimous. The President and appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has been restrained by the Court of Appeal from functioning in his post, will have to make a major course correction. The UNP fired another shot across the bows of its rivals on Wednesday. It comfortably secured the passage of a motion, expressing the confidence of the majority of MPs ...Continued

The Day Of Judgement Draws Nearer …

Politics
Vishvanath
Parliament has been in gridlock for over one month with all parties to the political conflict remaining intransigent. The Speaker and the President have locked horns, with the former refusing to recognize the government the latter has appointed. The government is boycotting Parliament, claiming that the Speaker is acting in a partisan manner. Its wisdom stands questioned in that it is answerable to Parliament. President Sirisena has declared that he will never appoint UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Prime Minister again even if the UNP manages ...Continued

Has The Foxy Prez Got Into A Hole?

Politics
Vishvanath
So, it is now clear that President Maithripala Sirisena has failed to get a hole-in-one on the political front. His attempt to make short shrift of the UNP having failed, he claims that he has some more trump cards to play; he has already wasted three of them. He appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa Prime Minister, prorogued Parliament, which he subsequently dissolved, when he realised that he could not muster a working majority by engineering crossovers. He did not come up trumps. His latest move—the dissolution of ...Continued

On A Wing And A Prayer

Politics
Vishvanath
Both the UNP and the UPFA-SLPP combine are readying themselves for a grand showdown on the political front. The former flexed its muscles, on Tuesday, by bringing large crowds to Colombo in protest against the appointment of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister. That show of strength was a success; it must have boosted the morale of the beleaguered party leadership considerably. The UNP deserves praise for ending its protest without causing untoward incidents. So far so good! The UPFA and the SLPP ...Continued

Never The Twain Shall Meet

Politics
Vishvanath
Speculation is rife in political circles that a caretaker government with the Joint Opposition (JO) and the SLFP/UPFA as parties thereto is in the offing. Weekly political columns are replete with juicy accounts of the JO big guns and President Maithripala Sirisena rendezvousing. It is said that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Maithripala Sirisena have had several rounds of talks on rapprochement, albeit without much success. Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa and President Sirisena have also powwowed though they are sworn political enemies, we are ...Continued

Winds Of Crisis, Grins And Grimaces

Politics
Vishvanath
These are bad times for elephants. The last few weeks have seen more than a dozen of them perish in the outback. Some of them were knocked down by a speeding train. It was only the other day that a herd of wild jumbos drowned in a swamp. The Grand Old Party, which has the elephant as its symbol, is also getting bogged down in a politico-economic mire with no hope of rescue. The harder it struggles to escape, the deeper it gets sucked in. ...Continued

Stool Pigeon Squeals; The Plot Thickens

Politics
Vishvanath
The government, troubled by a surfeit of issues, now has some more seemingly intractable ones to contend with. One of them has the potential to sour relations between the SLFP and the UNP further.   One may have expected the allegation that there was a plot to assassinate President Maithripala Sirisena and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa to be treated sceptically by one and all. The person who revealed the alleged plot is not a prominent figure with credibility. He is a police informant doubling ...Continued

‘Occupy Colombo’ In The Offing?

Politics
Vishvanath
The Joint Opposition’s Janabalaya Colombata protest is just a foretaste of what to come. The ruling coalition did not expect the JO to stage such a successful rally. It had done everything in its power to sabotage the protest while claiming, in public, that it did not care a damn about the event. Private bus owners had been warned that if they released buses for transporting people for the protest, they would lose their route permits. Many bus operators fell in line, and an irate ...Continued
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