How much would it
cost a third General Election in four years? An Election in this
five-star democracy will cost the public purse a staggering Rs 650
million plus ( please see story on page 3) quite apart from the
millions upon millions that have been spent on a spate of elections
since 1999 to 2002.
That is why
we have two Governments, not one, and a constitutional crisis that
is - if unresolved - heading towards yet another trek to the polling
booth which will return the same result and a return to the same
problem. The JVP and the hardliners on both sides seem to be the
ones pushing for this option - the General Election option, an option
the vast majority of the people see as the last possible option.
For no other
reason, not even the cost factor, but that the end-result would
be, by-and-large, no different to the overall composition of Parliament.
What, therefore would be inexcusable, is for the President to go
into that option just to get out of the corner she has painted herself
into with a sudden rush of blood last week. A move that has helped
turn things upside down and inside out for a Nation and its People,
slowly but surely picking itself up from the dumps it has fallen
into over the years.
she must take cognizance of the fact that were she to go ahead with
the dissolution of Parliament option, she would be doing so in the
face of the fact that she would be dissolving a Parliament where
the clear majority has not asked for a dissolution and served only
two of the six years mandated to be in office.
Doing so would
not only be unprecedented, but enjoin her in the galaxy of constitutional
tricksters of Sri Lanka's contemporary history, like the 1972 instance
when Ms. Sirimavo Bandaranaike and her leftist LSSP-CP coalition
extended the term of Parliament till 1977 by a mathematical jugglery,
and in 1982 when President J.R.Jayewardene held a Referendum instead
of a parliamentary election to keep his two-thirds majority in place.
And now, the boot is on the President's foot, and in these past
few days she has done U-turn after U-turn, calling the Armed Forces
to co-operate with the notorious monitors of the SLMM, whose head
she beheaded; pledged to abide by the Ceasefire Agreement which
she termed illegal; and asked the Prime Minister to continue with
the same peace process which she said was a sell-out of the Nation's
has dawned on her that it is one thing to play politics, another
to play stateswoman. The parting shot by the Norwegians would not
have been well taken. There is no need to de-code their message
- clearly, they blame the President for the breakdown of the peace
Not that the
Norwegians were the paragons of virtue, and blameless.Their Nelsonian-eye
to the goings by the LTTE did not help either. The role of the SLMM
was fuel to fire as far as the southern electorate was concerned.
businessmen and influential citizens have streamed into President's
House and Temple Trees and tried their best to impress upon the
two leaders viz., the President and the Prime Minister to place
Country Before Party. Easier said than done, and it would appear
that it is these well-meaning peoples sanity that is being put to
test. But over the weekend we have heard some conciliatory soundings
from both leaders and veiled suggestions of National Governments
and National Fronts.
All is not
lost - and the middle of the road majority conciliators will need
to persist if they wish to defeat the tyranny of the minority.