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Tuesday, 16 March 2010

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Rationale behind demand for two-thirds

The UPFA is asking the voters to give it a two-thirds majority in Parliament. Naturally, this has irritated the Opposition. They are making various insinuations about the demand.

It is, therefore, necessary to see whether there is any rationale behind the demand. Whether that rationale is appropriate or not will, in any case, be decided upon by the voters.

The UPFA says it wants the two-thirds to effect Constitutional reforms. According to the present Constitution a two-thirds majority in Parliament and a Referendum are necessary for Constitutional change. The electoral system that was introduced by J.R. Jayewardene, however, makes it extremely difficult for a single party or coalition to get the two-thirds majority. Hence, it makes it almost compulsory for any government in power to seek the support of the Opposition to gather the required two-thirds majority.

So far all attempts to get that elusive two-thirds through bipartisanship have failed. We would recall here how the UNP which had promised support for the draft Constitution 2000 opposed it at the last minute in Parliament even with some theatrics burning its copies in the House.

The other way to get the two-thirds was to win over members of the Opposition to the ruling party. Though this was tried the result fell short of the required number. It is in this context that the UPFA has directly appealed to the voters to give it the required minimum number of votes.

The Opposition had one principal slogan during the Presidential poll. It was the abolition or the Executive Presidency or reducing its over-reaching powers. Now the UPFA is asking the people for the two-thirds precisely to implement that demand. Actually such a demand could be effected only by the Parliament. Hence, the call to vote Fonseka into office to abolish the Executive Presidency was without any substance.

The two-thirds majority is also called for to effect electoral reforms. It is necessary to do away with the present preferential voting system and re-introduce the first-past-the-post system with a combination of district representations through a proportional voting system.

Then each voter would not only have an MP close by in their own electorate but also make elections less expensive so that the poor and the humble too could put forward their own candidates. The present system favours moneybags.

Throughout several decades no solution could be given to solve the National Question because the present Constitution could not be amended due to the lack of a two-thirds vote in Parliament.

The President has openly declared that he would call for an All Party Summit to work out a home-grown solution to solve the National Question. In fact a lot of groundwork has already been done in this regard. The need for effecting such a solution is also a reason for the demand of the UPFA for a two-thirds majority.

The rationale is thus clear. It is up to the voters to endorse it or not. Given the huge mandate received by the President at the recent poll and the further division in the Opposition camp the present moment, however, offers the best opportunity to reach that elusive goal.


Old parable in new guise

A word went round the creatures in the forest that a new and beautiful animal has come to the forest. It was the cat who told the story first. He said a nice fellow with long whiskers and a beautiful fur coat and agile legs was seen living in a pool of water near the forest rock.

Since the cat was supposed to be an intelligent and truth speaking everybody believed it. The rabbit who used to be the catís best friend who heard the story first went to see for himself whether the story is true. He returned saying that the cat was lying and it was only a rabbit there. On hearing the rabbit a deer went to verify who was telling the truth the cat or the rabbit.

He said both are liars and the nice looking creature was a handsome deer. In this way the story went round the jungle and almost all animals including the jackal, the wolf, the elephant and the lion went to the pool but returned saying that what they saw was only another of their own kind.

In the year 2010 politicians across the entire political spectrum are extolling the virtues of good governance and promising to institute it. Asked what they meant by good governance each could only say something similar to the creatures in the parable who described the new creature as they perceived it individually.

So the moral to be drawn is that good governance is what each sees in his own image.

Reviving the rural economy

Uplifting village economy with 300 industry project:

It was a long felt need that congestion of industries in the main cities should be trimmed and diversified so that new industries could be established in environmentally friendly areas minimizing the problems of lodging and transport. As a practical solution to this President Mahinda Rajapaksa decided to help villages enjoy the benefits of industrial development.

Full Story

Get this: You are who you elect!

Imagine today is April 10, 2010. The Elections Commissioner, Dayananda Dissanayake has announced that this party got this number of seats, that one got this amount and that the loudest mouthed party was humbled. The counting is all done. We know who is in and who is out, who squeaked in and who missed the bus, who bit the dust and who got singed but managed to come through the fire alive, who piggy-backed, who topped the lists and who had the last laugh.

Full Story

Misguided agenda of UN

Ban Ki Moon rebuked by Non-Aligned Nations for trying to violate UN Charter:

Sri Lankan is well within her rights to thwart anyone trying to probe its internal affairs or visit the country for that purpose. Most observers believe Sri Lanka, is on solid diplomatic and legal grounds in its stand to desist the attempt to probe the last days of the terror war. No panel will visit Sri Lanka. Non-Aligned Nations have expressed their opposition in no uncertain terms.

Full Story

 

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