Counting of votes which had become an essential ritual in gauging what the people’s want is over and for the first time in the history of parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka, the voters have not been carried away by emotions as expected. Although the campaigning showed its primitive nature as the main strategy to convince the voters depended more on the allegations leveled against the contenders than on the real problems of the nation and the solutions proposed. The two main parties did not have any new and significant eye openers for the voters. That way, it was just another election came to an end, sealing the fate of the people till the next elections. It shall be totally unfair if we cannot note the significant improvement the nation experienced in having a better and a more peaceful contest, free of instances of peace being breached.”
Long before the Parliament was dissolved even, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe indicated the future to be one where it would be a process involving many and more resources with diverse backgrounds, while the United Front led by the former President sounded their opposition to any such arrangement, harping on the careless rhetoric used in the past by the UNP as a strategy to scare the voters, trying to claim the ownership for the victory over terrorism. Although it was an undeniable fact that terrorism was truly defeated during the time of the former president, the absence, of adequate achievements in ‘Heart and Minds’ operation, reduced their appeal among the main minority, the Tamil Community which had a leadership ever ready to put all the blame on Singhalese Governments in the South, as it was done throughout the history. In spite of all realizing a peaceful environment, they got, they could not easily forget the trauma they faced so easily. Fire breathers in the United Front led by the SLFP prevented those people from healing their wounded minds.
For the first time after so many years, Tamil people showed interest in parliamentary politics and saw to it that those who supported the former President and his front were not elected. They very clearly showed their interest in looking for solutions and that itself shall be some breathing space, this nation very badly needs. The other forces that acted very important as king makers and king preservers , have not got the mandate they required reminding them that it is in a blended society with fair opportunities, law and order they would also fare well.
When the main party has agreed to work together for the benefit of the nation what more shall be required to allow for a beneficial environment where party politics will have a secondary role. The national need which is the priority now is future well-being of the people and not of the political parties. The leadership in the UNP has understood this timely need, and its gesture in encouraging a national arrangement shall win over more trust of the people.
The formation of a ‘Cabinet’ consisting of politicians is going to create a new political culture which would instill attitudes of tolerance among all setting the tradition of mutual respect for others than the political tribalism.
Above everything else, there shall be a healthy competition between the ministers with party differences as they have to go back to the people in the future, which is not very far away, the challenge is to achieve the ideal living conditions. It is a gesture of being realistic for the simple reason that to do ‘good things’ one does not have to wait till his or her party comes to power.
This could be turned into a springboard to launch a base to create exemplary politicians and if a ‘code of conduct for politicians’ is also introduced, it will either tame the unruly ‘goonish’ types or cause them to become misfits to fade out in an advanced political society which will have no place for such. This country has suffered enough and what the people now need is only serious work.
Respecting the principle of ‘preparedness to work together’ itself is a sign of new thinking and the application of that attitude in all the areas which matter shall bring in more and better productive results and it shall be the base for establishing better standards.
Increased ‘productivity’ is the magic word that would explain the shortest approaches to the ideal solutions. Without looking for the reasons which could have caused the retardation in progress, how can there be measures to achieve productivity? Although we do not care about it, an opportunity lost can never be recovered. Although we have a respectable way out by saying we make good what was lost, it is not good enough.
Would not it have been just a surplus, if we did not lose that much due to our negligence?