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Sunday, 6 April 2014

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Respect people’s mandate

Political parties and others have expressed divergent views on the election results of the Western and Southern Provincial Councils. Opposition political parties propounded various theories to overcome their humiliating defeats.

But it is indisputable that the ruling UPFA polled over one million votes more than the main Opposition - the UNP. The UPFA secured 58.06 percent of the total votes polled in the Southern Province whereas its closest rival, the UNP received only 25.77 percent. In the Western Province, the UPFA received 53.35 percent of the total votes polled while the UNP received a mere 26.59 percent. The UPFA secured comfortable majorities in 51 of the 57 electorates in the Western and Southern Provinces. The UNP won only six polling divisions in the two provinces.

The political parties which failed to win the elections gave ‘expert comments’ to cover their successive defeats. Nevertheless, the polls’ outcome speaks volumes of the UPFA’s landslide victory at the March 29 Provincial Council elections.

The election result which inflicted the 29th successive election defeat on the UNP under Ranil Wickremesinghe’s tottering leadership, demonstrated implicit faith that the masses continue to repose in President Mahinda Rajapaksa, under whose leadership the UPFA won each and every election since November, 2005.

With the UPFA recording another magnificent victory at the 2014 Western and Southern Provincial Council elections, the masses have given another overwhelming mandate to the Government’s people-friendly policies under the Mahinda Chintana.

On the other hand, the UPFA's thumping election victory sends a clear signal to the insidious elements who are trying to harm the country. The people have endorsed the steps taken by the Government to develop the country and protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Moreover, the election result clearly shows that no force on earth can defeat the country’s national interests as the patriotic people would never permit the sinister Western forces to rob Sri Lanka of its hard-earned peace. The masses continue to rally round the President as the Government has always given top priority to fulfilling the people’s needs and aspirations.

More importantly, the election victory had been secured in a free and fair manner. It is indelibly etched in people’s memories how the UNP struggled to win elections midway in its 17-year rule from 1977. The then J.R. Jayewardene regime not only rigged the elections on a massive scale but also cancelled the 1983 general election through a questionable referendum.

In contrast, President Rajapaksa has amply demonstrated his abiding faith in democracy and the people’s power by holding elections regularly, even ahead of their due dates.

The Treasurer of the SLFP - the main constituent party of the UPFA, Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma highlighted that the UPFA had polled 525,000 more votes than the combined opposition. It is not correct to compare the number of votes secured by the UPFA in the 2014 election result with that of 2009, which was held shortly after the defeat of the LTTE terrorism. Instead, the Opposition parties must compare the total number of votes they had obtained at the 2014 elections with that of the UPFA.

If one were to compare the elections held under the present government and the UNP regime, it is abundantly clear that there is a significant decline in post election violence under the incumbent government. After President Rajapaksa first took office in November 2005, all elections were held in a peaceful environment.

The so-called election analysts in the Opposition had failed to realise that the 2010 general election vote base of the UPFA remains intact. The UNP vote base had further eroded at the Western and Southern Provincial Council elections. Yet, the UNP comes out with various theories to cover up its ignominious defeat and retain its Opposition leader Wickremesinghe.

The stunning UPFA election victory has sent a clear signal to disgruntled local and international elements, which are day-dreaming of a regime change through undemocratic means. The overwhelming mandate from the masses at the Southern and Western Provincial Council elections will undoubtedly encourage the Government to continue with its current policies on national security, sovereignty and development.

Though the JVP and the Democratic Party boast of an improvement, they are nowhere near the UPFA’s commanding vote base. However, in the Southern Province, the two parties had jointly received more than half of the total number of total votes polled by the UNP. This trend was witnessed in the Western Province too with the JVP and the DP jointly polling more than half of the votes which the UNP had received.

Despite all the theories propounded by the JVP and the Democratic Party to console themselves, the stark fact is that the two parties now pose a grave threat to the UNP. As there is hardly any chance of a coalition among these parties due to serious differences of opinion and policies, no Opposition party could pose any challenge to the UPFA.

Even if all the Opposition parties were to come under one banner, the UPFA could still face the challenge as the masses continue to rally round the leader who had ushered in peace for one and all. People in far-flung areas had shown even more interest in supporting the UPFA.

For example, the UPFA won all three districts in the Southern Province - Galle, Matara and Hambantota, by obtaining over 57 percent of the votes. The UPFA recorded the highest number of votes in the Deniyaya electorate by obtaining 65.97 percent of the votes cast. In the Galle district, the UPFA obtained 57.58 percent of the votes and 13 seats, while the UNP received only 26.34 percent of votes and six seats.

Sajith Premadasa's solo performance with the UNP reformist group, rejecting the support of his party's leadership council, had evidently not made any impact whatsoever. The UNP secured only 26.34 percent of the votes polled to secure four seats whereas the UPFA gained 57.42 percent of votes to win eight seats. Although the UNP won the majority in the Galle electorate by a mere 737 votes, Sajith's leadership and the presence of UNP reformists failed to win even a single electorate in the Southern Province.

Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Sarath Fonseka should not be carried away over the few seats the JVP and the Democratic Party had won in the two Provincial Councils. Their representatives failed to make any impact as the ruling UPFA commands an absolute majority in the two provinces. In the event Anura Kumara and Fonseka overestimate themselves and consider themselves victors, the JVP and DP would lose their voters in next to no time.

Now that the elections have come and gone, and there won’t be any elections till 2016, the elected representatives must make a concerted effort to serve the people and develop their areas further. They should sink petty political differences and work for the betterment of the people who elected them.

The Opposition should desist from trying to gain petty political mileage on international affairs and support the Government against the sinister forces which are attempting to meddle in Sri Lanka's internal affairs.

By reposing implicit faith in the President and the Government, the masses have approved the nation’s right foreign policy. Hence, the Opposition must extend its support to the President and show Sri Lanka’s strength and unity against the unethical conduct of the UNHRC chief Navi Pillay and the few Western countries which passed a Resolution against Sri Lanka.

All patriotic and peace-loving politicians, irrespective of their party must throw their weight to beat the UNHRC’s moves to meddle in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation. They should always put the country before self.

The Opposition, after analysing the Provincial Council elections result, should perceive the people’s aspirations. They should not go against the masses and play into the hands of sinister Western forces. Be it the UNP, JVP, TNA or the DP, all of them should respect the people's mandate. If they go against the people's wishes and support the conspiracies hatched in the West in collusion with the LTTE rump, the masses would teach them a bitter lesson at future elections.

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