Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Missing Manifesto

It's Saturday. The release of the UPFA/Mahinda Rajapakse manifesto for the Presidential Election of 2005 was supposed to come out tomorrow (Sunday). This is already after one delay from last week. But now it seems they have pushed it back another two days to Tuesday. The news on the State Broadcasters has been dodging this fact and making it sound like it's the most normal thing for a candidate to not have put forward a manifesto this far out from nominations.

But this makes some people question, is a manifesto important to the Mahinda for President Campaign? And do they even have one?

Do they have a manifesto?

Everyone is starting to say, and they're probably right, that the UPFA and Mahinda Rajapakse do not have a manifesto! If that were to be true, and if they're in the process of cooking one up in a hurry, then it's not going to have much committment behind it. It's going to be a mere vote-getting, promise-making document that's going to be forgotten about soon after the election. (Not that the UNP manifesto is much more than that itself).

It seems the problem is that Mahinda's manifesto was written mainly by the JVP and it didn't contain any committment to a federal solution to the ethnic conflict. So it seems CBK wasn't very happy with it. We may see her as a crazy woman now, but she has had a genuine desire to resolve the conflict, and she has very clearly displayed this through her actions in the past and I don't think she's going to let go of that now.

If she gets her way then the JVP aren't going to be very happy with the manifesto. Mahinda's going to have to pick very very soon which way he's going to swing. Mahinda's never had a solid stand on what he thinks should be the solution to the conflict. He hasn't really shown a committment to a political settlement and his pacts with the JVP and JHU have made a lot of people wonder if he really wants to settle the problem the way CBK has wanted to for the past decade.

The fact that they haven't yet decided on anything is indicative of the big struggle going on within the UPFA government right now. Is there going to be a split before the election? That's where things look like they're going. What is that going to do to Mahinda? Hmmm.

Do they need a manifesto?

Quite a few people I know seem to think that the Mahinda camp doesn't need a manifesto because people are going to vote him in not because they like him, but because they want to defeat Ranil and the UNP. Personally I think that's a pathetic way to become the President (if he wins).

This is probably why the fact that they have not yet put forward their manifesto has not become an issue. The JVP and JHU crowd who're going to vote for Mahinda are going to do it because their party is backing him. They're not really concerned about what Mahinda is going to do if he becomes President. All they know is that if he does become President, their party is going to have a lot more of a say in what goes on, and that's good. They're not in this to make a President who can lead the country, but to make a puppet for their leaders to control.

The fact that Mahinda might actually become President without having to tell the country what he stands for, and what he plans to do for the country, is really really sad.

If Sri Lankan's wish to continue to be held to ransom by the JVP & the JHU - they will foolishly elect Mahinda.

Many moons ago - I think Morq you were giving Mahinda a nod. You have changed your tune but given you aren't even going to vote - what difference does it make - hmmm??? Bad elf!

2 million Tamils who live outside of Sri Lanka & have essentially been disenfranchinsed, are not going to vote either.

There's some long-winded comment left on the previous post about how everyone is a hypocrite because they are going to vote as per the choice of their particular affiliated special interest group.

It is totally naive to think that voters don't look at their own backyards first before venutring out & showing concern for others in their voting choice. Of course people will choose the party they feel will protect them the most.

The question is - of the 2 choices - which devil do we want to deal with. Better the devil you know than the one you don't - that would have been Chandrika ...
Ranil - we've had before & he will have to pull up his socks this time... Mahinda goofed with his signing up 2 parties espousing nothing but hate.

I hope common sense will prevail & the voters will be voting for Peace as opposed to Ranil. If Mahinda is already so under the thumb on the JVP/ JHU - we can kiss the next 5-10 years of this countries future good-bye
fortunately mahinda is not going to be president.
this election is turning out to be boring as it gets. in fact given the blow that upfa/racist camp is going to get, we will probably have boring elections with unp victory predictable months ahead for years to come. we are turning in to a singapore politically by this election. i am not going to shed tears anyway. :-)

as for cbk's motivation it is probably more selfish than you think, she just wants to keep control of her party.
and as for jvp they think they are going to win whatever way the election goes. (if they win they will have their puppet, if they lose slfp will be split and they will become the most important opposition group). they alway lived in cloud-cuckoo-land.
Well Sittingnut, I have to respectfully disagree with you. I think its far too early in the game to predict an outright victory for Ranil. Let us not forget Sri Lanka's past. The Buddhist revival of the Dharmapala era has evidently had a lasting impact. The rapid rise of the JHU and the JVP was on the crest of a wave of ethno-nationalism espoused by the two parties. They stirred public sentiment. By virtue of the 'signing,' Mahinda's candidacy is seeking a mandate from the people to preserve the heritage of the 'Sinhala Buddhists' over all else.

Attaining peace through war has proved a failure for two decades. The LTTE will never come to the table with a President backing JVP/JHU policy. But chances that voters will cling to the notion of the 'unitary state' and preservation of the 'Sinhala Buddhists' seem stronger than all else.

It could be anyone's race (no pun intended).... but let us remember this... Sri Lanka is 69% to 70% Buddhist... these are the voters.

Judging from Ranil's manifesto, as much as it seems that the man has pulled up his socks, he has the masses to convince.

'Devolution' or 'Unitary Dhamma State?' Ask the masses.
Sri Lanka is 69% to 70% Buddhist- but they are also not stupid. only a small portion vote on anything based on their religion. to base one's campaign solely on the hope that something like 70% of sinhala buddhists will vote for one is asking for defeat.

jvp and jhu 'stirred public sentiment' in 2004 yes, but can they again? after all that has happened (to the government, to the country and to their own parties) last year? fact is all their recent campaigns from protests against p-toms and 'privatization' of education failed in spite of spending highly on propaganda (which they could not do earlier).

of course that the campaign has become boring to us does not mean ranil and the unp should take it easy.
Fair enough. But let us not forget Bandaranaike's rise to power in 1956. The campaign took on a very communal pitch. It was a race to see who could give more to the Singhalese.

I take your point and hesitate to make the presumption that the masses are stupid. But let us not forget that the from past record,(and given that they have little choice) the electorate has a short-term memory .

For the sake of the country though, I hope you're right!
It is a very dagerous thing to assume that the "masses" are stupid. Politicians do so at their own peril.

Sri Lanka's politicians do nothing but treat the Sinhalese as if they are stupid & can be pulled in 20 different directions.

Bear in mind that the thugs that have been hired after each election to go around and brutalize Tamils were paid money to do so. Sure some Sinhalese people cooperated but there again thuggery was used.

The Sinhalese voter is now far more astute & clever. They are more widely travelled & exposed to the world. They want a better future for thier children.

I ask that every voter in Sri Lanka in 2005, thinks not just of this generation but 7 generations to come.

I also ask that we look well & truly outside the square.
We think about our environment, our status in the international stage, the way our workers are treated in the Middle East, how much of money are we spending on arms when the infrasturcture of our country is disintegrating.

Last but not least - how much of blood does each and everyone of us want on our hands & that of our children.

Once the elections are over, the Sri Lankan voter must continue to strongly voice their opinions & hold their elected politicians accountable. Consequently an extremely important part will be played by the Sri Lankan press. Any attempt to curtail, even further, what little freedom the press has must be resisted by a demand for total freedom of the press in Sri Lanka.

So Sittingnut - possilbe boring for you machan - but I think not.

As I keep telling all of you - you are burdened with enormous responsibilities, especially those of you who are Sinhalese. Please take them seriously and do the right thing.
Well well well - Wormtongue has finally spoken & oh what a forked tongue dost he speaketh with. Bloody moron.

Next to him, a few places down the road sits a little goblin. Euch - I can smell his foul stench from here.

So - with blood on their hands they waltz in to say -

"the only solution to our problems is to bullshit & crap on & hope that no-one believes us - but votes for us anyway"

Nothing but utter & total contempt - that's what this document is.
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