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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

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Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Better look ahead

The General Election campaign is due to start in a few days following the acceptance of nominations. A record number of political parties and Independent groups are likely to join the fray.

Unlike the Presidential Election where there could be only one winner a diversity of choices are before the electorate at a General Election. Though the election was expected for some time none of the political parties except the United People’s Freedom Alliance have been prepared. The biggest drawback for the Opposition seems to be their defeat at the Presidential poll which has torn asunder the grand alliance it formed.

As it received a humiliating defeat they had to change their strategy. The fall out from that defeat has been the inability to hold on to their former unity. This, of course, was to be expected as the single objective on which the disparate political parties and groups came together was to defeat President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Perhaps the masses sensed that the country would have been plunged into anarchy had they come to power since there was no common agenda for implementation.

Unfortunately the entire electoral campaign revolved round personalities and policy discussions hardly took any prominence. When the debate was only on personalities the voters had a simple and easy choice. They went by the performance of candidates and not so much by the promises made. For example, the public servants were not duped by the promise of a Rs 10,000 monthly wage increase. Majority of them voted for President Mahinda Rajapaksa who had already delivered on many promises made.

It would be better for politicians on both sides of the political divide to lay emphasis on their future policies and programs of action at the General Election rather than engage in endless controversies over trivial matters that has become a habit among them.

The preference vote system actually brings to the fore the personality of individual contestants and relegates to a subsidiary place the policies of different political parties to which they belong. As far as the people are concerned the first criterion would be the policies that would be expected to be implemented by the parties. Without identifying the policies correctly it would be impossible to differentiate between various contestants and decide upon their preferences for voting.

The hopes of the people are many. They want political stability to ensure continued development. They also yearn for a durable solution to the vexed relations between the various national and religious communities inhabiting the island. It is necessary to begin a new chapter in inter-communal relations. All political parties, including those that represent the people in the North and East should accept the reality of the day. The need of the day is unity and national reconciliation.

It is a prelude to any development. For the latter to take place the damages of the war have to be restored. Rehabilitation and reconstruction should get first priority. Rebuilding the war-torn lives and economies of the people comes next.

Development by itself would be meaningless if it is confined to the urban areas or to a particular part of the country. It should be associated with social and economic equity.

It should also be remembered that development does not mean free gifts like manna falling from heaven. Development comes at the cost of sacrifice and dedication. It is naive to expect the Government to bring development if all citizens do not join in the effort with their sacrifice and dedication.

That also includes the elimination of corruption and waste, the giving up of ostentation and the tendency to show off.

No society can develop if it does not look after the poor and the downtrodden. That is why development should be accompanied with social justice. The Government has to implement a pro-poor policy of development. The traditional neo-liberal path of development in which the fruits of development do not trickle down to the grass roots has proved its inefficiency and failure. That is the message by the overwhelming vote given to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the last election. It is up to the UPFA to carry it forward.

D R Wijewardene - A true patriot

Today is the 114th birth anniversary of the Founder Chairman of The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd, D R Wijewardene who was not merely a newspaper magnate but also a patriot who used the newspapers to instill the importance of regaining independence in the minds and to agitate for it strongly

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Observations on the ‘labyrinthing’ of Sarath Fonseka

Leaders sometimes suffer a lot on account of being lied to by their most trusted loyalists. Loyalists are given to painting rosy pictures about things. They are deft and slashing ‘i’ and ‘m’ from impossible and then replacing ‘possible’ with ‘probable’. Naive leaders with little experience and unable to lay a finger on the political pulse of a nation broaden grin, swell chest and strut around; they start flapping non-existent wings and believe that they are about to fly. They can only jump. And then they fall. Hard.

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Legality of Fonseka’s arrest

The UNP, JVP and other combined Opposition parties that contested the 2010 Presidential Election under the swan symbol of the common candidate General Sarath Fonseka whose theme was “Change” ‘Save democracy’ were soundly defeated by the incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa by a majority of 1.8 million votes.

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