9th September 2001
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It's called survival

Full marks then for the People's Alliance, for surviving September 7th. It's the classic case of the drowning man clutching any straw. The idiom must have originated with this situation as a case study.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the PA and the JVP is in such eloquent terms that it sounds almost like a preamble to a constitution - top-heavy on almost Utopian sentiment. It's also redolent of the kind of thinking that went into the PA manifesto for the 1994 elections.

The JVP's reaction was motivated in one way by survival as well. The JVP reacted swiftly to "the reactionary forces'' of the PA and the UNP ganging up; something that would have doubtless marginalised the JVP in future electoral stakes. 

The JVP therefore opted to gang up with what it saw as the lesser of the two evils, the People's Alliance.

If there is a vulnerable facet to the MoU, it is probably the fact that the JVP signed it with the General Secretary of the Alliance, and not with the President. The pact is one between two political parties and not with the government of the day.

If there is any hair splitting about a sovereign government being precluded from entering into an agreement with a mere political party, the signing of the document could have been done by the leader of the PA/SLFP, who also happens to be the President of the Republic rather than the General Secretary of the Alliance. The nuance of this surely cannot be lost on the JVP leadership who with an element of innocent political experience have believed there is still some good in this government.

"For forms of government let fools contest, that which is administered best is best is a well quoted political statement.'' So whether we have an Executive Presidency; an Executive Parliament; a National Government; a Government of consensus; a Government of National Reconciliation - or as we have it now, a Probationary Government, as long as it is 'administered best'', that is all that this country requires.

Kudos to the JVP for getting that large size Cabinet slashed, but then, it has not been done yet, and there is no indication that the sacked Minister's will have their perks and privileges removed. It is probable that they will remain in State bungalows and have their security and perks. The spirit of the MoU will then be defeated by sticking to the letter.

Then there is the PA being entrusted with the task of catching rogue arms dealers. There is a Sinhala saying about this, which talks of the culprit's mother being the clairvoyant. (.. horage ammagen pena ahanawa?) And there is the condition placed on the dealings with the LTTE.

The PA-JVP link is still the second best political solution - a far less viable link up than that of the PA and the UNP, to form a national government. Half the country remains opposed to this probationary Government.

But, the JVP, which waged a virulent insurrection against the state twice in a space of two decades, has almost in a hurry, finally arrived. It has got into a position of exercising real political power within the system. 

It is a momentous development, if looked at in this light, and not in the context of the political considerations of the day, that necessitated the formation of the PA-JVP alliance. 

Leave alone the outcome of this alliance, it speaks of the political possibilities that are open in a democracy, and therefore, ideal though it may not be, the country can only wait and watch what results from this union. 

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