Rise and fall: what the numbers say
Rates of the vote of winners at parliamentary elections which saw a change
Total vote obtained
As a % of the total valid vote Rate of growth
1. SLFP's vote at 1952 Election 361250
2. At 1956 Election (MEP)
3. Difference in 1956 in relation to 1952
as a % of total valid vote
Rate of growth
1. SLFP's vote in 1965
2. At 1970 Election
1. 1970 UNP's vote
2. 1970 Election
3. Difference in 1977 in relation to 1970
1. 1989 SLFP vote
2. 1994 (United Front)
3. Difference in 1994 in relation to 1989
Rates of the vote obtained by the winner who wins again at elections where
no change of government is effected.
As % of total vote
Rate of decrease
1960 July Election
1. 1956 Election MEP Vote
2. 1960 Election SLFP
3. Difference in 1960 in relation to 1956
As % of total valid vote
Rate of decrease
1. 1977 UNP vote
2. 1989 vote
3. Difference in 1989 in relation to 1977
1. 1994 PA vote
2. 2000 vote
3. Difference in 2000 in relation to 1994
By Victor Ivan
A common pattern can be observed in the number of
votes a ruling party obtains is re-elected and an opposition party gets
when it is elected to office.
On every occasion when a ruling party wins an election, a decline in
its vote base is observed. This phenomenon also means that when an opposition
party wins, there is an increase in its vote bank.
The SLFP which obtained 15.5 percent of the votes at the 1952 parliamentary
election was elected to office in 1956 with 39 percent of votes _ an increase
of about 24 percent.
Again in 1970, the opposition SLFP which got 30.2 percent of votes in
1965, got 49% when it was elected to office, contesting as a United Front
_ an increase of 18.8 percent.
The UNP got 37.9 percent of votes and lost the 1970 elections, but it
was elected to office in 1977 with a massive 50.9 percent of votes _ an
increase of 13 percent.
In 1989 the SLFP which failed to win the elections that year got 31.9
percent but when it won the election in 1994 it obtained 48.9 percent _
an increase of 17 percent.
It has been a general rule that when a ruling party loses, the victorious
opposition records a substantial growth in its share of the vote.
On the other hand, when a party in power is re-elected, there is a decline
rather than a growth in its vote base.
The SLFP which came to power in 1956 was re-elected to office in July
1960. But its vote base declined from 39.5 percent in 1956 to 33.6 in 1960.
The UNP which was elected to office in 1977 with 50.9 percent of votes
obtained 50.7 percent at the 1989 elections. Though the declined was a
mere 0.2 percent, the manner in which the elections were held makes one
to assume that this figure would have been much lower if the elections
had been held under normal conditions.
The PA which was elected to office in 1994 with 48.9 percent of votes
obtained 3.8 percent fewer votes when it was re-elected in 2000.
Psephological studies show the average growth rate in vote base for
an opposition party that is elected to office is a staggering 18.2 percent.
The average decline in the vote base of a party in office when it is
re-elected is 3.23 percent.
This analysis suggests, there will be a decline in the PA vote base.
This decline coupled with the withdrawal of the SLMC and the CWC support
points to a PA defeat.
On the other hand, there should be an increase in the UNP vote base
and this coupled with the support it gets from the SLMC and the CWC, we
can assume the United National Front is likely to win the December 5 elections,
provided there is no mass-scale vote rigging.
As the average gain in the vote base for an opposition party coming
to power is 18.2 percent, we can assume the UNP will win the election.
This may be the case even if the growth rate is just ten percent _ a 50
percent of votes cast. In this event, the PA's share will be around 35
percent with all other parties accounting for 15 percent.
Then the share of the seats which the parties will get is as follows:
United National Front 124-126 seats, the PA 74 - 76 seats and all other
parties 25 seats.
The writer is the editor of Ravaya
Clinically Yours - By Dr. Who
Gunning for polls Somawansa style
Finally, the elusive, reclusive and exclusive Somawansa Amerasinghe has
returned. But what for, we may well ask.
Whenever the Peoples' Alliance government calls for an election it has
to import someone to do the dirty work: in 1999, it was Douglas Peiris
and now it is Amerasinghe's turn. But the question is will Amerasinghe's
appearance be counter-productive?
The PA big wigs would have expected the good sahodaraya to spare them
while indulging in a heavy bout of Ranil bashing. The PA wouldn't mind
the JVP gaining a few seats, because that enhances their prospects of another
coalition of sorts but what does Somawansa do? He opens his mouth-for three
long hours at that, Castro-style- and puts both feet firmly in.
He begins by saying that the JVP never attacked the Dalada Maligawa-
and promptly invites the wrath of the Mahanayake theros. Then the die-hard
revolutionary firmly declares that if all else fails the JVP would have
to resort to an armed struggle- the sannaddha aragalaya that all Marxists
love to talk about.
One feels sorry for the boys- Wimal, Tilvin and the others. For seven
years now they have been at pains to convey to the people that they can
be trusted and that they would not resort to violence again. And now comes
Somawansa to put things in perspective-and frighten many a prospective
Obviously soon afterwards the JVP knew the senior sahodaraya had blundered.
So, they had a team talk and decided on what the Americans would call 'damage
control': on Wednesday Somawansa sahodaraya reappears at a press-conference
and says that the party would never, ever hold a gun. ("We won't even meet
at a place where there is a gun" Wow!). Of course it was Mao Tse Tung who
said that real power flows only from the barrel of a gun but, at least
for the moment, Mao is old hat for the JVP.
But the painful reality about campaign issues is that denials seldom
get the same publicity-or carry the same convincing tone- as the original
statement. Ask Jayalath Jayawardena and he will tell you all about it.
So, the damage may already be irreparable for the JVP.
Which brings us back to the original question- can a man who was in
exile for 12 years suddenly reappear and claim to be the Kingmaker? Somawansa
Amerasinghe's only claim for fame in the current context is being the only
active member of the 'original' JVP politbureau. If the JVP believes that
voters would fall for that, they are being načve. But then the JVP is also
načve to think the masses will believe them when they say they will never
take to the gun again.
What the masses do know is that everyone is a socialist at 20; if he
is not, he has no heart. But no one is a socialist at 40; if he is, he
has no head.
By the way, Somawansa Amerasinghe is 58!
Era ends with death of 'Quiet Beatle'
LOS ANGELES/LONDON, Nov 30 (Reuters) - George Harrison, the "Quiet" Beatle
who was so self-effacing that he called himself only an observer inside
the world's most famous pop group, has died at age 58 after weeks of criss-crossing
the United States for cancer treatment, friends said on Friday. Harrison
died at a private residence in Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon with his
wife Olivia and 24-year-old son Dhani at his side, according to long-time
family friend Gavin De Becker, an internationally known security consultant.
Harrison's musical mentor, the classical Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar,
said in a statement that he had spent the day before Harrison died with
him and that the guitarist, who found solace in Indian mystical thought,
went to his death peacefully. "We spent the day the day before with him
and even then he looked so peaceful, surrounded by love. .... George was
a brave and beautiful soul, full of love, childlike humor and a deep spirituality
...," Shankar said. A song-writer and guitarist, Harrison married the sounds
of the East with Western pop by introducing the sitar in Lennon's 1965
song "Norwegian Wood." The instrument also features on the reflective Harrison
classic "Within You, Without You." He clearly lived in the shadow of John
Lennon and Paul McCartney, who were the group's flamboyant chief songwriters,
although his lead guitar work helped give the Beatles their signature sound.
He called himself the "Economy Class Beatle" and once said he felt like
an observer with the group "even though I was with them. .... John and
Paul were the stars...."
He also once told Newsweek magazine: "The Beatles exist apart from myself.
I am not really Beatle George. Beatle George is like a suit or a shirt
I once wore on occasion. Until the end of my life, people will see the
shirt and mistake it for me."