Wednesday, 21 April 2010
The President and the UPFA won the respective elections each with an overwhelming majority- The Tamils have to refresh their thinking.
When the UPFA won the general elections with an overwhelming majority, the UNP and the JVP were looking for fig leaves to hide their political nudity. They claimed a smaller voter turn out as a refusal of the people to endorse a victory for the government, and that was the reason for their failure to obtain a respectable voter acceptance.
In order to upgrade their importance as popular political parties when they have actually been dumped by the voters into the political wilderness, both UNP and JVP play all the tricks they could muster to downplay the importance of the popular vote for the President Mahinda Rajapakse and the UPFA.
The fall in the voter turn out has several reasons and it cannot be taken as a peoples refusal to accept the party that mustered a majority of the votes cast as the winner. The lower voter turn out at elections is not a phenomenon unique to Sri Lanka, and in no way could the parties that have received a smaller number of votes claim that the sympathy of the absentee voters was in their favour.
It has been reported by political analysts that “……..Voter turnout in European elections 2004 has followed the downward trend experienced since 1979. Participation was the highest in the first European election year with 63 per cent but has decreased since, generally by 2-3 per cent. The greatest drop in voter turnout of seven per cent took place between 1994 and 1999, when voter turnout decreased from 56.8 to 49.8 per cent”
If the voting is democratic and free the less voter turn out does not reflect on the final out come of the election.
The lesser voter turn out has also been explained by what is called the , “….. voter fatigue , which can lower turnout. If there are many elections in close succession, voter turnout will decrease as the public tires of participating. In low-turnout Switzerland, the average voter is invited to go to the polls an average of seven times a year; the United States has frequent elections, with two votes per year on average, if one includes all levels of government as well as primaries. Holding multiple elections at the same time can increase turnout; however, presenting voters with massive multipage ballots, as occurs in some parts of the United States, can reduce turnouts.” (Wikipedia)
France had been hit by the phenomenon of lesser voter turn out on many significant elections and the analysts continue their search for the real cause of these abstentions. “On the evening of 21 April 2002, the country faced up two phenomena which still occupy the media and political life today: the presence of the Extreme Right candidate at the second ballot and the record abstention level for this type of election. Of France’s 39,350,086 registered voters, only 28,721,939 voted at this ballot. Abstention rose to over 27% in an election which has traditionally been the French population’s favourite and which has consequently shown the strongest levels of mobilisation during the Fifth Republic. If this result was quite spectacular it was not an exception or a “storm in a blue sky” : abstention to any level of voting is increasing in France since the mid eighties. Another sign of it can be seen if we look to the European Parliament elections : in 1999, less than half of the registered electorate turned out, more precisely the abstention rose to 53% !”
Despite these disparities in the voting and non voting electors, the outcome of all elections had been accepted according to the majority of those who had voted without disputing the end result. That is the way with democracy whether the elections were in the West or elsewhere in the world.
I was Present in Sri Lanka during the Presidential Election and the Parliamentary elections campaign. I witnessed the enthusiasm of the villagers, and the crowds that braved the tiring heat and staying on until the turn up of the President Mahinda Rajapakse or an announcement that he would arrive late, or read out a message from him. People wanted Mahinda Rajapakse to win and that was the message that they sent with their presence at his meetings. It was far from being present through curiosity as it was at the meetings of Sarath Fonseka. It was the same enthusiasm and the desire of those young and old villagers out in numbers . Those are the people that mattered.
Even in those villages there were those who campaigned for Sarath Fonseka and discretely distributed pamphlets. The villagers accepted them, and after a glance crumpled and through them away as discretely as they were received. For the villagers and a greater part of the Sinhala Buddhist voting population the only favourite Presidential candidate was Mahinda Rajapakse. They were not going to be fooled by a Sarath Fonseka a war hero or not. They were going to caste their die with Mahinda Rajapakse for better or for the worse. They are however assured that it would be for the better, because Mahinda Rajapakse’s deeds so far spoke a lot in favour of him.
Mahinda Rajapakse has given the ordinary and the “not so ordinary” people a new hope. Hope of unity, peace, and for better days to come for themselves and the generations after. A hope of a peaceful coexistence with the Tamil people salvaged from the misery and suffering, under a ruthless group of terrorists, who took away their children from the “cradle” to make living bombs of them, and trained them to become cannon fodder in an all out war against the Sinhala. They –the terrorists were seeking these “ sacrificial lambs “ to save their own miserable skins, presenting themselves as the protectors of the Hindu Gods and the Catholic Church.
These Tamils saved from 30 years of such miserable existence, ungrateful as they are forgetting the misery from which they were saved by Mahinda Rajapakse and the Sinhala Buddhist Soldiers, still caste their votes for the living shadow of the terrorists the TNA- still kept alive by their lapdogs -the expatriate servitors, their bards the Kumar Davids, Pakiasothys, Jehan Pereras, Philip Rajans, LynnOkerszies, Sri Lanka Guardian, Transcurrent, and the rest.
Coming back to the vote turn out, the lesser number of voters have several reasons as far as the Sri Lanka Parliamentary Elections of the 8 th April,2010 is concerned . Having voted for the Presidential elections it was more or less a foregone conclusion that the UPFA will secure a comfortable victory, and that made the voters lethargic. Whether they vote or not the UPFA will win was the general thinking. They were probably not so concerned with a two third majority as what was essential for them was a victory for the Government. Furthermore there were many who were annoyed with the clamour for preferential votes. If not for the competition for preferential votes the Government would have easily secured a two third majority.
Who cared for the preferential votes, except those who were all out to prove who is more popular than the other ? What was necessary was to strengthen the hand of the President who proved himself skilful in keeping the Western Governments, all out to take revenge from the government of Sri Lanka for eliminating the terrorists, at bay.
No body asks the question why the International community- with Milliband , Kouchner, and Hillary Clington at the helm, were all out to teach a lesson to the government of Sri Lanka for the elimination of terrorism ?
The reason is, that for the first time the International Community finds itself faced with a Leader of a developing country who dares stand up to them and say NO, what ever be the consequences. The President Mahinda Rajapakse is the only leader who had asked Foreign Ministers of two powerful Western Nations to keep away from meddling into the affairs of his country. He could say that because he did not depend on the West to protect his country and his people. He had played his cards well as a leader of a sovereign state cultivating diplomatic relations with other Nations.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa could depend on many nation for the defence of his righteous actions.
We saw it happening when the head strong High Commissioner of UNHRC Navi Pillai spear headed the revolt of the Western Countries against Sri Lanka who sought to condemn us for violation of human rights immediately after the Government Forces of Sri Lanka eliminated terrorism .
To their utter grief the following countries stood by us: Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Uruguay, Zambia, thwarting the attempts of the West to take revenge from Sri Lanka, and isolating it from the largess of the West.
These 29 countries that stood by us at the United Nations Human Rights Council respect the President Mahinda Rajapakse as a perfect leader of a Developing Nation, and for the first time the Western Nations who try to bully the developing countries find that they are themselves isolated. That is the reason why the West is out to teach us a lesson by most undemocratic actions such as the withholding of GSP+ trade concessions by the European Union, on the flimsy ground of a non existent violation of human rights. In doing so the EU itself is violating the human rights of a developing nation which does its best to keep a section of its poor people employed depending on those trade concessions.
These are more important issues that should concern our politicians of the opposition instead of defending an Army Commander who brought shame to our country after having taken a heroic part in the defence of our country and eliminating a group of dastardly ruthless terrorists. The people have forgotten him for his heroism. It is now the people in Colombo- the rich Muslims, the jetset, the business community that solicit him.
The Tamils whether they are of the intelligentsia or not, have not done the correct thing by voting for the TNA. They should be conscious of the numerical majority of the Sinhala and instead of playing the minority card to claim a separate Eelam, they should at least now come to terms with the reality of their situation and work with the Sinhala, perhaps on the same political platform for the progress and development of the Country and build a united nation of the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people without seeking communal segregation. It is time that we dump Sampanthans, Narapalasinghama, Kumara Davids, Pakiasothies overboard and stand together as a United Nation of Sri Lankans.
The Tamils should understand, that the Sinhala Buddhists could on their own, if the cooperation of Tamils is not forthcoming, develop this country and prepare it for all its occupants be they Tamils, Muslims, Malays and the rest to live happily sharing its prosperity. Sri Lank from Kankasenturai to Dondra belongs to all and the new era after terrorism should begin by dispersing the communities where ever they wish to live.
As much as there are Tamils in the South there should be as much Sinhala in the North and the East. The High Security Zones in the North and East should be strengthened and the Sri Lanka Army should be present every where so that never again will there be a tendency for terrorism to arise whether in the North, East or the South.