A political party in a democracy generally represent a segment of that society. A party is the public persona of its members and should be able to articulate the demands and expectations of members in a coherent manner. A party, to be distinct must develop political programs that will project their stand on issues such as the economy, national security, foreign policy and energy policy; just to name a few. These programs and policies are the foundation that will build support from the public, encourage and entice citizens to become partners of a political party. The acceptance of a political party’s programme legitimizes it in the minds of the citizenry.
So, where are we with the SLFP in terms of policy? There was a time when the SLFP was clear about Sri Lanka’s foreign policy; economic policy; and national security. However, the same cannot be said of the SLFP of Maitripala Sirisena and Chandrika Kumaratunga. The party has allowed its nemesis the UNP to dictate terms on every policy front. Policies of the UNP, whether they be economic, foreign relations or ethnic reconciliation have been embraced and promoted by the leader and the patron of the SLFP. Sri Lanka Freedom Party has become a subsidiary of the United National Party.
The distinctness is gone and so is the thrill.