by H.A. Seneviratne –
The people’s march in Sri Lanka to defeat the executive presidential dictatorship is numerically and energetically increasing daily. This is the inevitable outcome of unending mass suffering due to famines, tortures, threats and killings under an individual petty-bourgeois neo-feudal dictatorship linked up with corruption, family bandism and nepotism.
In the context of the country being on the threshold of a people’s uprising, the bondage of political opportunism between the parties that supported the executive presidential dictatorship has also begun to split away. Even the General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) – the main body of the ruling coalition – who was also the Secretary of the ruling coalition called the United People’s Front Alliance (UPFA) and Health Minister, Maithripala Sirisena, joined the parliamentary opposition led by the United National Party (UNP) and became the common opposition candidate to contest the upcoming executive presidential election.
This situation has become absolutely and clearly disastrous for Mahinda Rajapakse – the present holder of the dictatorial post of executive presidency – who has declared himself as the SLFP candidate for the post at its forthcoming election also fixed by him to be held on January 08, 2015, the birthday of S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike who formed the SLFP after leaving, in 1951, the UNP government under the country’s 1st prime minister D.S. Senanayake.
It has become more disastrous for Mahinda Rajapakse, because the executive president who preceded him: namely: Chandrika Bandaranaike, is opposed to him, being the daughter of S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike – the prime minister of the 1st SLFP government formed in 1956 and of Sirimavo Bandaranaike who was the prime minister of the SLFP government formed in 1970 and the prime minister under Chandrika’s executive presidency in 2005 – has joined the parliamentary opposition along with Maithripala Sirisena.
The prospective findings of the United Nations Human Rights Commission – almost due to be released before the date of the executive presidential election – regarding war crimes will be the only sympathetic reason to be addressed by Mahinda Rajapakse to be re-elected as executive president. But it will not be a reason for the people to forget the harassment they are facing even 5 years after the defeat of the LTTE.
In that situation, there could even be a cancellation of the executive presidential election on grounds of increasing deadly clashes between supporters of the candidates for the presidency, which are of course created by supporters of the political power-holders. Such a cancellation of the presidential election can “constitutionally” allow the sitting executive president to stay for 2 more years, that is until the end of the 6th year after taking his oath in the year 2010.
On the other hand, there could also be a situation where 51% of the votes cast is not obtained by any of the candidates, mainly due to the fact that a number of candidates supporting the present executive president are contesting for such a non-achievement purpose. In that situation too the present executive president can continue to be in office until 2016.
But Sri Lanka has now reached a turning point in its political history. It is the beginning of the end of not only the Rajapakse regime but of any capitalist dictatorship under one man or woman with his or her family members.
Casting votes for the common candidate of the parliamentary opposition, Maithripala Sirisena, should be only the first direct step of the people to oust the present dictatorial regime. But the struggle for freedom has to continue.
The struggle for freedom has already begun in many parts of the country, against various injustices committed by the present dictatorial regime.
In that situation, even some good-hearted members of the clergies of all religions – led by well-known leaders of the Buddhist clergy – have joined the struggle.
The left opportunist parties have failed to find even an alternative leader of opportunism to oppose the presidential candidate of the joint parliamentary opposition.
In the present political situation of people’s disgust for executive presidency, the common presidential candidate of the joint parliamentary opposition, Maithripala Sirisena, had no alternative but to declare – along with the parliamentary opposition leader Ranil Wichremasinghe – that the executive presidency will be abolished within 100 days of his being elected as the executive president and form a united front government with Ranil Wickremasinghe as prime minister, and thereafter hold a parliamentary election to restore democracy.
Undoubtedly, it is an attempt to restore bourgeois democracy. But it will be the first victory for the people of Sri Lanka who will become a section of the oppressed people of the entire world in the context of a 3rd World War situation that has already begun to emerge.
The people of Sri Lanka must gain their first victory by ousting the dictatorial executive president in power and proceed from victory to victory!
WORKERS’ SOLIDARITY ORGANIZATION