Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Messy Election, Messy Result.

local elections will be held today.
from the first it has been a violent mess. all indications are that the result will be a mess too.

that would be unfortunate. it would certainly be better for everyone if a clear winner emerges.

this is not because i have any hope that newly elected local councils (even when the ruling party has a majority) will be any different from present ones. that always is a lucky bonus. (on a personal note i have been living under what could be one of the best run local councils in the country, too bad that my luck will probably run out today.)

no, a clear winner will clarify the future course of sri lankan politics.

sri lankans are known to vote for the party in power in central government when voting for lesser government bodies. this is the most intelligent option given that most councils are totally dependent on central government (one i am living under is good because it is largely financially independent. due to a long established and prospering industrial estate and recent influx of several residential housing estates. which in turn came in partly because the council was able to provide basic services expected of it. its a virtuous cycle others would be hard put to replicate )

anyway to get back to topic, given past record upfa should get most votes.

question is how much of the vote will go jvp's way.

on that question will the future depend. there are 2 possible scenarios,
  1. jvp vote percentage will go down and upfa will either win outright majorities or get pluralities just under 50%, unp getting most of the rest
  2. jvp will get a bigger share of votes than heretofore, which will result in roughly 3 way equal split of votes and seats between upfa, jvp and unp of 25% to 40% each, with both unp and jvp winning pluralities in some councils.
there are also other far less likely outcomes, which i have not considered here. i also ignored those local councils where regional political parties such as cwc will get most seats. this is about councils in majority sinhala areas only.

two scenarios above can result in dramatically different realignment of political forces in future.

in the first case,
a) jvp will try to distance itself from both mahinda buffalo and upfa in order to recapture its lost appeal. which will mean more cooperation between upfa and unp, and more likelihood of a national government, and jvp and upfa contesting the expected general election separately, or
b) jvp deciding to sellout whatever is left of its fake principles and going the way of old left and becoming just another appendage of slfp.

in the second case,
jvp and upfa will get closer, since similar three way split in a general election will mean unp will get a plurality of seats in parliament given the peculiarities of our proportional representation system with its bonus seats etc. with a good chance of forming the next government. their common fear of such an outcome will unite them again in order deny unp that chance and jvp's power within upfa will grow.

given the above speculations i would rather prefer the first outcome. so should anybody else who does not like jvp's extremism. even unp supporters will be better off in the long run if their party finishes a distance second to a triumphant upfa in this election, because they will be able to divide and conquer in the future.

btw where is morquendi? i posted this here instead of in my own blog since nobody else seems to post here anymore.


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