A decisive parliamentary election

A decisive parliamentary election

All agree that the country is about to face a decisive Parliamentary election, shaping our political future. However when it comes to a discussion on a programme that could save the country, very different proposals are made. It is natural, as we are living in a class society. Hence there is much confusion among the public about what is most important for the Parliamentary election.

Is it the danger of a return of terror and war, or is it the defense and consolidation of democracy with governance that is accountable to the people? Indeed, the election campaigns have already begun with accusations and counter accusations. The polarizing rhetoric with violence in recent weeks, points to the possibility of an election campaign with incitement of racial and religious hatred and violence.

Many refer to the TNA statement on Federalism and to the clarification made by the Deputy Foreign Minister on the TNA manifesto. Racist and pro fascistic groups claim that the TNA, which acted as a proxy for the LTTE, continues to support the division of Lanka and the establishment of Eelam in the northern and eastern provinces supported and funded by the pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora.

Despite the end of a brutal armed conflict over six years ago, Mahinda regime failed miserably to even to implement the LLRC recommendations. It is necessary to remind that LLRC was appointed by President Mahinda without any consultation.  It was only with the last Presidential election that serious attempts were made to restore democratic institutions and values leading to a democratic way out. With the coming of parliamentary elections we are once again being called to make crucial decisions, between moving towards substantial democratization or falling back into the abyss of chauvinism and fascistic rule, this time through the establishment of a new government.

The controversies and bargaining that took place recently over necessary amendments to the Constitution demonstrate once again that the struggle between fascistic politics and democracy is not yet over.  Therefore, it is when masses are informed, vigilant and far thinking that the proletariat and the progressive masses stand the best chance of electing a government most inclined to uphold the sovereignty of the people and serve them through justice, equal rights, freedom, and integration.

Pro-Mahinda groups

The pro-Mahinda groups claim that the statements from the Foreign Ministry are not only ambiguous but do not clearly indicate that they will not permit the division of the country or in any way collaborate with the TNA and other anti Lanka parties, who are communal based parties, wanting parts of the country as their own to the exclusion of the other communities!

They insist with the election on August 17, it is time for the leaders to make a commitment to the voters of Lanka that they will not, under any circumstances, enable/facilitate the division of the country, or create enclaves for communal and religious groups, for short term political gain. Of course we should call upon all political parties to declare their stance clearly without any confusion.

What steps will be taken to address the decades-long grievances of all communities affected by war? Most importantly what mechanisms will be adopted to discover the truth about the violence and destruction that occurred, and build a sense of national identity by unity with power sharing? What initiatives will be undertaken to strengthen and recognize the right of all communities to equitably share national resources and live in the country with a sense of security and dignity? Also, will the constitutional devolution of power have a place in the political solution to the national problem and if so what will be the degree of devolution?

On the other hand how will the vast inequalities and increasing economic deprivation and poverty of large sections of our population be resolved? How is it intended to remove our massive foreign debt without cuts for instance in social welfare, education, and health that benefit the poor? How will the protection of the environment and ecology be carried out? How is it proposed to keep abreast with the positive benefits of technology without spreading greed in some sectors and further dehumanizing and adding to the misery of the poor and the deprived?

It is by repeatedly returning to such sensitive and daunting issues, which are often conveniently forgotten, but so fundamental to our body politic, that we can set the country on a meaningful path towards integrity, dignity, and progress.