Sri Lanka’s politics takes a topsy-turvy turn

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Ranil Wickramasinghe

Sri Lanka’s politics has taken an topsy-turvy turn with the most unexpected events unfolding and with much more to follow.

The centre of the events has been that of a political party with just one seat in Parliament being handed over the Prime Ministerial position and that too with the support of the ruling party which campaigned calling for his ouster at the 2020 Parliamentary election.

The move has put one time Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, 73 on the pedestal again with all looking forward for his wisdom, international relations and his knack to manage the economy inorder to pullout the country from chronic fuel, gas and medicine shortages and an era of queues.

“The man who made the allegations and the accused are now working together”, a television presenter commented on the fact that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who accused Wickremesinghe of wrong doings at the 2020 elections has now been forced to work with him.

Ironically many in the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna who called Wickremesinghe various nicknames in Parliament including naming him as “Banku hora” or bank rouge with reference of the infamous bond-scam which took place in 2015 resulting in financial losses to the country will now have to address him as ‘sir’ because they will be in the cabinet under the premier.

In another turn of events, the main opposition led by Opposition Leader in Parliament Sajith Premadasa who should have stepped into the shoes of the Prime Minister following the sudden resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa on May 9 in now sulking that his one time leader has taken the job.

Many of his party members have blamed Premadasa’s indecisiveness for losing the job as the opposition Leader first said he would not play any role in an interim – government, then saying that the President would have to quit inorder for him to take over as the Prime Minster and eventually asking only for a commitment from President Rajapaksa.

“The delay in taking decision deprived us taking over”. That is how opposition law maker from their party Harin Fernando summed up the failure to accept the offer from the President to take over the job.

In another turn of events, the former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who had made himself a name for his role in ending the near three-decade old conflict in the north will now always be associated with the violence that rocked the country with nine deaths, and dozens of vehicles and houses burnt.

The disgrace brought was not only on himself by allowing or not attempt to stop his party supporters first attacking a peaceful protest which eventually led to the wave of violence, but even a museum built in the name of his parents was destroyed.

The former Prime Minister was brought down to zero from a heroes position, was how a political commentator put it.

Also ironically, Wickremesinghe who fellout with the former President Maithripala Sirisena during the Yahapalana government from 2015 – 2019 has now been forced to bank on support from their party to maintain its stable majority under his premiership.

Wickremesinghe is also reported to have sought two national list positions for his party members from the SLPP. In the event the positions are provided two former United National Party members will be sitting in the ranks of the government.

But what would be interested to watchout in the chronic turn of events would be to watchout in Parliament how members will now be forced to twist their words to adjust to new positions.

“Imagine a party backing the very same person whom they have been speaking so much ill of, ” another political analyst pointed out.

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