The positives of an All Party Government | Daily News

The positives of an All Party Government

The repeated calls for the formation of an inclusive All-Party Government (APG) by the Maha Sangha, other religious leaders, the legal fraternity and civil society organisations if it comes to pass would be the best thing that has happened to this country since the dawn of Independence. What we have been witnessing down the decades is how power-hungry unprincipled politicians worked to their personal agendas through the use of political parties at a tremendous cost to the country.

Political parties were mainly used to sow division among the public and exploited by the rulers to enjoy power and privilege. In their quest for power they also identified their particular political parties with pseudo-nationalism, race and religions. As a result, we have a sharply divided nation which is the antithesis for progress.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has been constantly inviting all political parties represented in Parliament to join in the formation of an APG. Yesterday in his address to Parliament, the President repeated his call in this regard. In fact the main thrust of his speech centred on the need to form an APG. The response so far has been positive with the SLPP, CWC and the National Congress already holding several rounds of talks to explore the possibility for an APG Government with the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), SLFP and TNA which initially rejected the proposal too now giving the green light. The stand of the JVP-led Jathika Jana Balawegaya is still being awaited with its leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake (AKD) sending mixed signals.

Needless to say, party politics has been the bane of this country retarding progress. The pattern all along had been for a new Government to halt all projects launched by its predecessor and start its own thing only for another incoming Government to repeat the process and the vicious cycle continued. The country became stagnant.

Hence the importance of forming an APG. This will not bring instant solutions to the country’s burning problems or address its current economic woes, nor will it end the people’s suffering instantly. But it will certainly lay the foundation for a fresh beginning sans the contentious and vituperative politics that the country has been witnessing down the decades that had sent the country careening downhill and ruined any chances of progress.

Besides, the country more than at any other time before, needs to show unity to the outside world which is a precursor for stability. Political stability will be a key factor for receiving economic assistance at this hour of dire need. Already, aid givers and lending agencies are watching the unfolding scenario and will decide on Sri Lanka only if there is a conducive climate in the country to manage our affairs competently. Political chaos and an anarchic state will certainly not help us win economic support from outside. President Wickremesinghe who has already sounded that there is light at the end of the tunnel and a positive response from the IMF is expected at the end of this month, is aware of the importance of political stability and unity at this crucial stage.

It is in this light that the comments made by Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka giving encouragement for mischief by the Aragalayites should be condemned by all patriotic citizens who put the country’s interest before anything else. Fonseka is speaking in terms of another invasion of the Aragalaya crowds into the city on August 9 in line with the uprisings witnessed on the 9th of each month since May and that he would back such an invasion until the collapse of the regime.

Such sentiments are unacceptable given that the Army which Fonseka once commanded has no room for indiscipline and unruliness. The Field Marshal is also enjoining the members of the Security Forces not to arrest or act against any of the Aragalaya members. Is this not encouraging lawlessness which is a sure recipe for aid givers turning their backs on this country? Thankfully the SJB of which Fonseka is a member has distanced itself from his sentiments as those entertained by him in his personal capacity and not as the views of the SJB. Its General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara said the SJB itself had not organised any protest to be held on August 9.

This is as it should be. The formation of an APG could also be an effective countervailing force against certain disruptive elements whose aim is to drag this country further into the mire. The Aragalaya, no doubt, was born out of the suffering and oppression of the people weighed down by the soaring Cost of Living and chronic shortage of essential items.

Effective Resolution of the sufferings of the people would certainly take the winds off the sails of the Aragalaya campaigners. This hopefully would be forthcoming in the welfare budget that was declared by President Wickremesinghe to be unveiled sometime in August, when he was Prime Minister cum Finance Minister. We are now into August and sooner the welfare measures are announced the easier it will be for the people.

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