The opposition is not attempting to win the Presidential elections, for the simple reason that there is no common opposition and hence it is not capable of doing so. The talk of common candidate is now history, with only Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera and the supporters talking of good governance according to western statecraft and not according to Dasharaja Dharma. Most of the supporters are from the old left or the left out of the left and they would not have heard of the Dasharaja Dharma. In any event for them Dasharaja Dharma is outdated unlike the so called modern concepts on good governance and the Thera has no way of even dreaming of the Dasharaja Dharma. It appears that even if the Thera contests he will be the common candidate of the supporters who meet at Nagavihara Kotte and not of the so called common opposition.
There is no common opposition as such and there are only oppositions that cannot come together to field a common candidate. There are so many oppositions that even the Pertaugami Party, the breakaway group from the JVP, is to contest the Presidential elections and it appears that Mudalige alias Kumar Mahaththaya will be the common candidate of the Peratugami Party. If he contests the Presidential elections he would not be poll even 0.5% of the valid vote but will spend a substantial amount of money on the election campaign. Only the Peratugamins would know who has the money to spend on the campaign.
The JVP is telling us a new story. They are apparently not contesting not because they cannot win after spending money collected using the students and others but because it is illegal for Mahinda Rajapakse to contest a third time! They have bought Sarath Silva’s argument but not going to courts to challenge the legality of Mahinda Rajapakse contesting a third time. Sarath Silva is not Divine and he is only an ex Chief Justice of Sri Lanka. Only those who gathered around Shirani Bandaranayake know which CJ he was in numerical order and how many CJs are there to be contacted if necessary. The ex CJs, the other Judges and lawyers have different opinions and though the final decision is also made by an individuals it would be official as it would be by the present CJ and Judges.
What the government has to do is to get an interpretation of the Supreme Court without waiting any longer on the question of a person contesting a third time, (there are two such candidates namely Mahinda Rajapakse and Chandrika Kumaratunga) in general without waiting till Mahinda Rajapakse is nominated by a political party. It is unfortunate that people of the caliber of H L de Silva are no longer among the lawyers advising the SLFP and the present set is not prepared to listen to non lawyers. The non lawyers may be “goda perakadoruwas” but not all perakadoruwas are eminent lawyers.
The JVP would probably go before the Supreme Court once Mahinda Rajapakse is nominated by the UPFA and if the decision goes against them, that is if the Supreme Court decides that Mahinda Rajapakse could contest a third time it is very likely that the JVP would boycott the elections. In effect they would be saying that they would not accept the verdict of the Supreme Court and would be thinking of an Aluthkade Spring. As two former CJs Sarath Silva and Shirani Bandaranayake would also most probably support the JVP they would claim that they have the moral high ground though they would not have any ground at all.
It appears that the strategy of the JVP is to challenge the decision of the people to elect Mahinda Rajapakse as the President. However, they would be careful to say that it is not the decision of the people that they challenge but the legality question that would have been determined by the Supreme Court by that time. They would resort to slogans such as good governance, probably with the support of Ven. Sobhitha Thera a candidate lost by that time and the TNA as well. They would be supported by the usual pundits in the western governmental organizations or so called non governmental organizations and the media would publicity out of proportion. If the JVP thinks that they could gather people around them they are sadly mistaken, even if the west would most probably support them. As far as the west is concerned they are not bothered whether it is the JVP that they would have to support if it is a question of defeating Mahinda Rajapakse who did not listen to them to allow Prabhakaran to escape.
At a Presidential election the JVP would not be able to poll more than 3% of the valid vote, but which is hardly adequate to defeat Mahinda Rajapakse, though they would poll about six times that is polled by the Peratugamins. On top of the JVP it is likely that Sarath Fonseka would also contest the Presidential election as he is not interested in becoming a star by supporting Ranil Wickremesinghe. He wants his Party to be the star and thinks that it could be achieved only by contesting the Presidential elections as the common candidate of his party.
The UNP will field Ranil Wickremesinghe as its common candidate and we will have a plethora of common candidates at the next Presidential elections. However, none of the commoners would contest with the hope of defeating Mahinda Rajapakse, a fact that they have already accepted and their only hope is depriving the Mahinda Rajapakse obtaining the 50% plus one of the valid vote. They want to go for the so called second ptreference thus accepting defeat in the first round of the Presidential elections.
The UNP though somewhat different from JVP, is also thinking of taking to streets for some kind of a spring soon after the first round. They know that even if they could force for the count of second preference still Mahinda Rajapakse would win. People are not going to give their second preference to Ranil after giving the first preference to Sarath Fonseka or Kumar Mahaththaya or even Sobhitha Thera. In any event all those candidates would not poll more than 5% of the valid vote and Ranil Wickremesinghe would have even an outside chance of becoming the President of the country only if the difference between him and Mahinda Rajapakse is less than 5% of the vote and most of the second preferences would be for him.
It is a most unlikely event and my estimate going by the results of the Provincial Council elections and moreover the caliber the skills etc., of the two main candidates Mahinda Rajapakse would poll about 55% of the valid vote, with Ranil getting less than 40% of the vote. However, the UNP like the JVP has given up all hopes of winning the elections and their strategy is to hope that Mahinda Rajapakse would not get the necessary 50% plus one vote at the elections. The UNP would then be able to agitate for a counting of second preferences and in the meantime with the support of the western forces would think of drawing the people to streets for some kind of “Arab spring”. The JVP, TNA, SLMC all would join hands with UNP and they would all want to oust Mahinda Rajapakse and send him before a so called international judiciary. The JVP will rally round the UNP giving up its own spring.
However, this is Sri Lanka and Mahinda Rajapakse would poll around 55% of the valid vote and defeat all the plans of the JVP, UNP and the west, the WGOs, and of course the TNA, SLMC and the rest. At the end the common candidates would find that they have common features of day dreaming and losing at elections.
Nalin De Silva