AGAINST ALL ODDS, HOW TO MAKE YOUR VOTE ‘MEANINGFUL'?
Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka|August 04, 2020
AGAINST ALL ODDS, HOW TO MAKE YOUR VOTE ‘MEANINGFUL'?
As Sri Lanka goes to polls tomorrow, its outcome is a foregone conclusion. This is one of the most uneven elections in recent history, not least due to the fratricidal struggle within the UNP, and the fragmented opposition. Rather, the Sri Lankans decide on their future Parliament, when they elected a president or vice versa.
Ranga Jayasuriya

However, this election is one of many ironies. First of all, given the public mood, when most voters exercise their universal suffrage to elect a new parliament, they might well be voting to subordinate the Parliament to an all-powerful presidency. The government has already announced its plans to abolish the 19th amendment and introduce a new constitution. These changes would bound to weaken the separation of power between the three pillars of the government and restructure the institutions of the Republic around the office of an all-powerful- executive.

This is not altogether new. Sri Lanka has its fair share of experience. One of the bitter ironies of the populist authoritarianism that is rampaging across the world is that the undoing of the State and its democratic character is achieved through the popular vote - rather than through tanks and guns. In most countries, from Russia to Latin America such elections may be a farce. But, to give the government and the election commission their due, here in Sri Lanka, this election is a fair deal. One can not blame Pohottuwa for the UNP and Samagi Jana Balawegaya being at each other’s throats and throwing the election even before it was kicked off. The COVID19 related social restrictions have surely diluted the election fervour. However, a bigger turn off for the independent voter is the pre-determined nature of the result.

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August 04, 2020