Prabhakaran has only pittu for breakfast
Now for some real cohabitation. The
first lesson about Sri Lankan politics is that one constantly needs
to read between the lines when various futuristic statements are made.
According to some chat show artistes, the UNF has the numbers to pass
the 19th amendment, but yet, Rajitha Senaratne is talking to the President
next week, because 'the President needs to be made part of the peace
It doesn't matter
whether you have this kind of pap for breakfast or for dinner. This
is the country's doctored talk show culture. When politicians are
the moderators of news shows and commentaries, what passes off for
analysis is only their own fogged and fuddled wishful thinking.
If the analysis
is that the UNF government will not fall - then there is some merit
in that one. The Swedish Academy has given Jimmy Carter the Nobel
Prize, and the world is not quite in the mood for warmongers, bloodhounds
and plain old Presidents on the rampage.
do not want the old paradigm of Western backed 'conflict resolution'
to disappear. In Sri Lanka they have found a docile country which
is still trying to make peace the old- fashioned way, while in some
other countries the leaders are asking for heads to roll - before
you can say 'regime change.'
these circumstances will want Sri Lanka's cosy Wickremesinghe -
Balasingham applecart to be upset by the common political dynamics
of democratic governance. One way or the other, they will ensure
that Wickremesinghe stays on in power.
may have exhausted all his options. The 19th amendment is off because
there are no numbers - whatever the breakfast and dinner pundits
may say while you choke at the laughability of it all over your
cereal or your fruit platter. Word of caution: I do not watch breakfast
with Mr Partisan Political Animal, because I'd rather be in bed
dreaming sweet dreams. Why talk about the "problem of cohabitation'
if the numbers are there in parliament for the UNF to pass the 19th
amendment? If the numbers are there for the UNF as Mr Breakfast
says, (in his dinner chat show mind you - - when I say I do not
watch his breakfast gig, I mean it
) there is no "cohabitation
problem' is there? Why is the need then to talk about 'cohabitation'
until the cows come home?
If the UNF
cannot get the numbers - and as Mr Breakfast's own newspaper said
last week, is thinking of going for an election, then where does
that place the UNF government?
By the way,
isn't all of this so curious that you can split your sides laughing
at what passes off for political analysis - and also laugh at the
gullible nature of Sri Lankan viewers, if they indeed take Mr Breakfast
and his newspaper to be the gospel on these matters. One week the
banner headlines are that the UNF is going for an election, or at
least something to that effect. Next week the oracle comes and announces
at his dinner gig on the tube, that the UNF has the numbers to pass
the 19th amendment, and that Rajitha is talking to the President
next week because - well, they are feeling sorry for her!
If Ranil Wickremesinghe
has exhausted all his options (an election at this time is also
not possible for various reasons) what he can seek is accommodation
with the Executive President. That is the political reality that
Mr Breakfast who is foremost a political animal (how can you be
a politician and a journalist at the same time anyway?) doesn't
want to divulge, because he thinks if you are gung-ho about these
things, the MPs are going to vote with the UNF anyway. Tell them
there are numbers, and the numbers will materialize! Perhaps the
UNF government can still survive if it is made very uncomfortable
for the President to dissolve parliament.
can count on Prabhakaran to make sure that Mr. Wickremesinghe stays
in power. Basically, the Jayewardene constitution has solved the
North-East conflict by default, by making sure that the minority
parties will decide at given time which Sri Lankan government is
It is within
the power of the SLMC and the TNA to decide that Ranil Wickremesinghe
will remain in power, and to a considerable extent this will make
the President's power to dissolve parliament quite irrelevant. What
alternate government can she possibly install, without the active
support of these two parties?
There are other
elements in the equation too. The President has shown that she is
not in a position to assiduously gather all the forces around her
and attempt to form a new government. She is too piqued by the UNF's
"success' to think straight. All she can attempt to do is to
bring down the UNF by brute force - that is by dissolving the parliament
and installing her own government, when she regains the power to
do it after the UNF's year is up. (Brute 'constitutional' force
governments by brute force is almost impossible, when there has
been a paradigm shift in Sri Lankan politics that has already taken
place. The LTTE is basically 'in power' in Sri Lanka, ever since
the Tamil National Alliance was formed, and the Tamil MPs in parliament
declared the LTTE to be the sole representative of the Tamil people.
It is this
pincer movement by Prabhakaran that seems to have nailed the war
for good - and forced the Sri Lankan polity, whether for good or
for ill, to consider peace on Prabhakaran's own terms. In the end,
killing Neelan Tiruchelvam had more real value in it for Prabhakaran
than overruning the Pooneryn camp. He has neutralized democratic
Tamil opposition to him in the South, and sought to exploit the
political advantage offered to him by the way the Proportional Representation
clauses in the Jayewardene constitution places the minority parties
in a position to make or break governments.