The SLPP And The SJP: Which Way Forward?

Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka|June 27, 2020

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The SLPP And The SJP: Which Way Forward?
The government and what remains of the opposition will be going out to the polls in a month’s time. Freed from lockdowns and curfews, candidates are already organizing small scale rallies, challenging opponents, and racking up one controversy after another. Harin Fernando’s “harangue” against the Cardinal, and the backlash against it by his party and his former party as well as the regime, won’t be the last of its kind: expect more slip-ups, more faux pas, and more baying of blood over statements and remarks. In that scheme of things, Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa – the leading faces of the only parties that will matter – have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Uditha Devapriya

For starters, take the government. No ruling party in recent memory has faced the incumbent edge Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s SLPP faces today. Certain unpalatable facts must be acknowledged here. The ruling party controls the State media. It’s supported, tacitly if not (often) openly, by sections of the private media also. It has tapped into the people’s need for security at a time of uncertainty and, regardless of its flawed handling of the lockdowns, it has emerged from the three pandemic months. Rajapaksa’s blend of populism and authoritarianism, of rigid force and rationality, may not be and indeed isn’t to everyone’s liking, yet it has arguably delivered results with regard to the contagion. If the government is tipped to win the upcoming elections – which we can’t say for sure, since anything can happen – it’s partly because of this perception of it fed to the people by the media. And yet, despite this, the regime is not without its weaknesses.

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June 27, 2020