Saturday, April 18, 2009

The confusion of electoral politics in Sri Lanka

In a sense Sri Lanka is both a highly politicized country and in the same vein those in power completely disregard politics and act extremely dictatorially. The voters are completely snookered by the type of politics in place, which bears no relation to the actual election that is taking place.

For example in the current series of Provincial Council Elections, there is no mention at all by any of the candidates or even the parties these candidates belong to about issues that can be realistically dealt with at the provincial council level. For example education at the non-national level, and certain demarcated roads are the responsibility of the Provincial Council. Ask the voter or the candidate which roads these may be and how they are planning to improve the condition and both sides will have no clue.

This election is therefore a mandate for the party in Government, a pseudo referendum, making a mockery of the provincial councils themselves. Just additional tiers of government to put the henchmen of the party in power at the national level as ministers with authority to satisfy individual lust for power, when only 225 members can be in Parliament at any one time. This ignores the fringe benefits of duty free vehicles for provincial councilors, and other abuse of power they indulge in using there positions to sidestep the bureaucrats and rape the forests of wood or rivers of sand or extract government land for themselves as the case maybe.

The sad fact in Sri Lanka is that nothing useful can be done unless one is in a position of power, being elected, but those who are elected get elected by hoodwinking the electorate without doing anything useful, which frustrates those trying to get into elected office with altruistic motivations.

We have sunk into a country of personalities, nepotism attachments and not issues. Putting it simply, we want to be elected because we are pious and good with a string of social service, and been a member of a party from birth, not because we have an agenda to complete a list of tasks set before the electorate, along with a plan on how to achieve this.

In the forgoing I therefore question if this is democracy and are we truly democratic? If the electorate have come to accept a definition that is wholly undemocratic under this word, thereby bastardizing the term and getting away with it, how does one get back to square one?

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