Greed for Power | Daily News

Greed for Power

Country cannot afford to hold a General Election right now.
Country cannot afford to hold a General Election right now.

It is because of the greed for political power rather than being concerned about the suffering of the people that the main Opposition party demands the holding of a General Election. The JVP that also wanted an election earlier, the leader saying they are not in a hurry to come to power, in a volte-face now and the other ultra-leftist party ask for an instant abdication of power by the government, may be hoping to come to power through a revolution as the former has a bare two member representation in Parliament and the latter a mere 5,000 voter strength. The main Tamil party also wants a General Election to be held to continue to show that they are the true representatives of their people in succession to the crowd that is no more.

This is in cruel disregard of the fact that the people will fall from the frying pan to the fire economically by such a move as the government will have to spend an enormous amount of money in a near famine situation that is more acute now than during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and in addition cause grave social unrest, dislocation and upheaval, affecting the down and out mostly.

All Opposition parties now feeling in apprehension that Prime Minister and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will dash their hopes to the ground by his ability to bring the country back to normal before long is no excuse for such blatant and callous irresponsibility.

What Ranil Wickremesinghe has done is very much like what Karu Jayasuriya did to enable the then government to destroy the LTTE in 2009 when its JVP partner backtracked putting it in danger of being unable to pass the budget.

Will the government go for an election just now when it has come to be known by its own admission that it has bungled by not wanting to import chemical fertilizer that would have cost only US$ 160 million now having to spend several million-fold, to import rice and by not approaching the International Monetary Fund for relief in time?

Just as the main Opposition party wants to fish in troubled waters the ultra-leftist parties want to resort to political adventurism of the 1971 type. People have not forgotten the immense loss of lives and assets in the 1971 and 1988-1989 uprisings, the ruler having to light so many tyre-pyres in the latter instance denying him a red carpet welcome in other countries.

It must not be forgotten that even great revolutions such as the French Revolution of 1789 and the Russian Revolution of 1917 ran into excesses. The French revolutionaries executed Louis XVI (1774-1793) and his Queen Marie Antoinette. After the Russian Revolution, Czar Nicolas II and later the whole royal family were assassinated. Even in ancient Lanka the first sovereign queen who brought ruin on the country and disgraced her sex, debauched Queen Anula (47-42 BCE) was put to death by setting fire to the palace in which she led a dissolute life.

Historian Sir J.A.R. Marriott says, in his magnum opus ‘The Evolution of Modern Europe 1453-1939’ which any student studying European History in the University Preliminary Form is familiar with: “All the symptoms which I have ever met with in history previous to great changes and revolutions in government now exist and daily increase in France.’ So Lord Chesterfield wrote in 1753. No was he alone in his prediction. John Wilkes was in Paris in 1764 and wrote from there to Lord Temple: ‘The most sensible men here think that this country is on the eve of a great revolution.’ In the following year a General Assembly of the French clergy issued a formal condemnation of the writings of Rousseau, Voltaire and Diderot, and declared that ‘the spirit of the century seemed to threaten the State with a revolution, which was likely to result in general ruin and destruction.’

“It did; but the explosion was deferred for a generation and might well have been, if not permanently averted, rendered much less serious had Louis XVI been strong enough to resist the pressure of the reactionaries, and to retain Turgot in power. After his dismissal (1776) the old regime, if not the monarchy, was doomed.”

Prime Minister and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, in response to the efforts of whom the IMF decided to pay a ten-day visit to Sri Lanka, can be equated to then Controller-General in Charge of Internal Affairs and Finance of France Turgot.

According to the Information Please Almanac 1968: “The French Revolution, beginning in 1789, resulted from lack of intelligent government, lack of political liberty, an arbitrary system of taxation, survival of medieval abuses, economic evils, and the Age of Reason. It was a bloody affair which kept France in turmoil for years…” These causes that led the Frenchmen to revolt have to be applied to Sri Lanka today mutatis mutandis.

The main Opposition party’s claim that there is no all party government is factually untenable as two of its own Members of Parliament and three Sri Lanka Freedom Party members are in the Cabinet already.

The President has also said that he will be there only until the end of his first term of office meeting their main demand vis-à-vis time frame, the other requirement of abolishing the Executive Presidency being non- sequitur.


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