Saturday, June 25, 2005

How the JM was won

I have refrained from commenting on the Joint Mechanism because I have been in deep depression about the whole incident.

On friday, when the JM document was brought before Parliament, the JVP did exactly what they were supposed to do. I don't know if they were playing along with Chandrika, or if they played right into her hands. They just did EXACTLY what she wanted done in Parliament that morning.

So Maithripala Sirisena, Leader of the House, tables the JM document and the JVP goes nuts. They crowd around him and ask him if it's been signed and he says no. And then the JVP begins to make a big noise and Parliament is adjourned till the 5th of July, with the debate on the JM not going anywhere, which is exactly how it was planned.

So then a whole set of Government Ministers hold a press briefing where the press are informed of what happened. The story goes like this:

"We told the people/mahanayakes/JVP that we wouldn't sign it without a debate in Parliament. We brought it to the Parliament today but the JVP would not let us talk about it. So we Signed it :)"

They conveniently put all the blame for this rather undemocratic action on the JVP. A solid, solid political move. Now the JVP don't have a leg on which to stand and say this was undemocratic because they didn't allow it to be discussed in Parliament.

That's all there's to say about the JM. It was a bloody anti-climax. No fanfare. No riots. They just bloody signed it and went back to their work.

But there's been some interesting stirring in the UNP camp.

A couple of days ago 3 UNP Parliamentarians went to meet Chandrika. Apparently they spoke about the need for setting up what has been called a 'national Government' a.k.a. Jathika Aanduwa (one in which the two big parties, the UNP and the PA form a united Government).

Yesterday the UNP had a sudden polit bureau meeting in their HQ and all Parliamentarians and UNP members were informed that any interaction with the Government, the PA or the President should only happen on the top level. Effectively all UNP Parliamentarians are banned from talking to the President or anyone in the Government. Not even going out for a drink :(

It seems the UNP is very worried about what the PA is going to do to win a few more seats in Parliament. Chandrika now has 5 empty Minister slots and 4 empty deputy minister slots (4 minister slots and 4 deputy minister slots left blank by the JVP quitting Government and the MoIM seat from when she fired Mangala).

Is she using these seats to entice a few UNP MPs to crossover to their side? It's been done before by both sides. Or will she offer these seats and a few more to the UNP and form a Mega Alliance Government? Will that be a good thing or a bad thing? I don't know yet. I haven't been able to make up my mind on that. Well, it'll screw the JVP over for sure.

Also, our friend G the Parliamentary correspondent tells me that on Friday, in the middle of the protestors and the JM and the whole mess, Mangala was seen yelling at a few PA Parliamentarians (including Dilan Perera, Chandrika's toyboy). He was not able to pick up the whole conversation, but felt it was very serious. They were not arguing about where to go for lunch. (You need better ears G!)

Is Mangala starting to lose it? Chandrika has been treating him not-very-nicely for the past few months. But then it was his mistake to make the friends he did. He did negotiate with the JVP to form the allaince, and this was made him useful to the UPFA Government primarily. But now with the JVP gone, and irrelevant, Mangala seems to have lost his uses too.

But where will he go? The UNP won't take him. The JVP won't take him? Methinks he'll just have to go back to fashion designing. Not that I think it's a bad thing.

Senaka de Silva will just have to shoot himself.

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