Ranil faces a no-confidence motion. The outcome doesn’t really matter. If he loses, we will be rid of him at last – but it might be even better for the long run if he clings on.
So, at long last, the day has come. After much struggle, stress and confusion, the No-Confidence Motion is upon us. In this article, I give you my take on what is going on, and why it doesn’t actually matter whether Ranil loses or survives.
What is a no-confidence motion?
“Confidence” in the political sense means that more than half of a country’s legislative body (parliament, senate, congress etc.) supports someone in the government of that country. Usually, the number of supporters required is 50% + 1 of the legislators – a simple majority. Also, no-confidence motions are normally brought to the floor only if the proponents feel that they have the number of votes required for it to pass.
In Sri Lanka, this means that the person whose confidence is being questioned needs 113 votes against the no-confidence motion – that is, 113 votes in favour of that person – in order to survive.
If the prime minister is not able to get the support of 113 members of the parliament, then he does not have the votes to pass any new laws or plans. Simply put, he is unable to lead the country.
Therefore, in most countries where a prime minister loses a no-confidence motion, that person will automatically resign. However, this being Ranil, even after the loss of a no-confidence vote, he may refuse to step down. In fact, many of his supporters are already saying that he doesn’t have to go.
Why did the Joint Opposition bring the no-confidence motion?
The Local Government elections showed that the current ruling block of the UNP-SLFP is deeply unpopular in the country. The SLPP and patriotic forces used every rally during the campaign to urge people not to vote as if this was a minor election for municipal organizers, but rather as a referendum on the policies pursued by the present rulers.
The current Sri Lankan government is not really a government, but rather an illegitimate ruling regime. This is because while the UNP did say in August 2015 that they wanted to form a “national government” consisting of all parties represented in parliament after the election, the SLFP campaigned on a Mahinda-led platform that totally rejected the concept of coalition “national government.”
With the UNP failing to achieve a majority in the parliament in 2015, the SLFP joined with them to prop up and enable Ranil’s real goal, which was to transform Sri Lanka from a conservative, traditionalist, self-reliant and Buddhist republic (the SLFP platform in 2015), into a secularized, socially liberal, far-left beggar nation (the UNP platform). The SLFP broke its mandate and joined the UNP illegally, thus rendering the entire “yahapalana” government illegitimate from the very beginning.
Knowing that the people did not like this, and also as the Ranil-Sirisena regime’s actions since 2015 made them more and more unpopular by the day, the regime delayed every single election between 2015 and 2018.
While there were no street protests against the regime as they locked up war heroes, forced war heroes to pay compensation to the families of terrorists, set up a “war crimes” tribunal (renamed as the Office of Missing Persons), hounded the Rajapaksa family with false charges, robbed the central bank, crashed the economy, chased away foreign investors, let NGOs alter and distort the education system, raised the cost of living, presided over a dengue epidemic, brought a garbage tsunami, and actively encouraged minority ethnofascism and separatism, the people were watching and waiting for a chance to show the rulers their displeasure.
In 2018 the people finally got that chance. The ruling parties suffered the worst and most humiliating rejection and repudiation in Sri Lanka’s history since 1948. The scale of the defeat was bad enough, with the newly-formed SLPP gaining 45% of the votes. What’s even worse for the Ranil-Sirsiena regime is that it was the first time in history that the governing party lost a local government poll.
And yet, despite the scale of the defeat and the strong political message the people sent to the ruling regime through their votes, neither Ranil nor Sirisena had the humility to resign, now that their time in power was up.
With the many anti-national and illegal activities that this duo have done, and in light of the people massively supporting the SLPP and patriotic forces, now is the best time to bring forth a no-confidence motion. The “odd” timing of the Kandy riots will always be suspect, as they did manage to delay the vote by two weeks, but in the end the no-confidence process could not be stopped.
What if the no-confidence passes?
While Ranil and Sirisena may act like the LG poll was just a minor vote, and despite every UNP and SLFP party member acting like everything would carry on as normal, all the politicians knew that the ground had shifted after February 2018. Sri Lanka had entered a new political reality, as the people voted as one, demanding for a return of their liberty, national development, and dignity.
The UNP in particular is in disarray because so many of the party’s lower ranks correctly attribute their electoral loss directly to Ranil. Over the last three years, without even the excuse of the “war” or the “peace process,” Ranil’s “මොලේ” has been shown to be a mirage – Ranil is not a leader in any way. He has no vision for the country or his party, except for his egotistical, power-hungry obsession that he must rule both, and then do whatever some foreigner tells him to. So the party itself knows that Ranil is a serious obstacle to their future prospects.
If the no-confidence motion passes, then it will be the end of the Ranil-Sirisena regime. The entire yahapalana project will be dead in the water. There will be almost no way that fresh general elections could be prevented.
What if the no-confidence fails?
In fact, in some ways, this would be an even better outcome.
For over 20 years it has been self-evident that the UNP are a bunch of spineless cowards who are happy to bend to the will of a clown like Ranil, as the UNP suffered massive losses but did not oust their loser leader. That the UNP itself are working with the Joint Opposition and SLPP to try and topple Ranil now, when he is the prime minister, is kind of ironic.
It won’t be surprising if the weak, wet, UNPers all vote in favor of Ranil on April 4th. If they do stand with Ranil, that will be the end of the UNP as a serious political force in Sri Lanka. Because the people at large, the party’s lower ranking MPs, and the party’s grass roots activists and campaigners, will see that the party is so wrapped around Ranil’s little finger that it will even follow him to the gates of hell and total electoral destruction.
But at least UNP MPs would have the excuses that they couldn’t vote against a UNP prime minister, or they couldn’t vote to bring down their own UNP government.
More interesting is what will happen to the SLFP. The most important thing that will come out of the no-confidence vote is that the SLFP MPs’ allegiances – and sanity – will be revealed. If they have any sense at all, and if they want to have any hope of being re-elected at the next general election (whenever that takes place), they will have to make a stand against Ranil at this vote.
There is absolutely no excuse for the SLFP to vote for Ranil. Well, if we think about it carefully, there are two excuses, neither of which fall within the realm of sanity: 1) they want to maintain their ministerial perks for one and a half years more, at the expense of their entire future political careers; or 2) that they just really, really, hate the majority of their fellow citizens, and want to annoy them by voting for Ranil.
If Ranil survives the vote with the backing of SLFP MPs (even if it is only a portion of his support), April 4th will forever be remembered as the day that the SLFP died. Because the question that follows is, how can SLFP voters ever trust the SLFP again? If people wanted Ranil to remain as prime minister, they would have voted for the UNP at the local government election.
If SLFP MPs – who got their seats from pro-Mahinda votes in August 2015 – now reject the peoples’ choice in February 2018 and actively go against their voters on April 4th, what is the point of ever voting for the SLFP? In future elections, expect the combined 15% obtained by the SLFP and UPFA to transfer completely across to the SLPP, giving the new party about 60% – a landslide victory.
The SLFP have strayed from their origins as a nationalistic and patriotic party and can be found in a center-left position today. This transformation occurred under CBK’s leadership. In this “moderate” position, the SLFP is malleable and can be manipulated by malign forces who wish to bring alien concepts such as “social justice,” and “secularism” to the country. If SLFP MPs vote for Ranil, the collapse of the SLFP at the February election will be rendered final. The SLPP is a fitting replacement to continue SWRD Bandaranaike’s legacy into the 21st Century.
In any case, if Ranil survives, he will be severely wounded and weakened. People always thought he had a soft spot for terror, but thanks to his backing from the TNA MPs too, he will be known as the LTTE prime minister forevermore. They usually call such people lame-duck politicians, but this guy will be a zombie-duck.
The dangerous thing in this scenario is that for 1.5 years longer the country will have to suffer his idiocy, incompetence, and jealous wrath. Seeing how much damage he has caused to Sri Lanka since 2015, it is really scary to imagine what kind of dictatorial madness he will unleash on the country as he seeks revenge from the politicians and the general public who have dealt him the great humiliation of having to go through a no-confidence vote, which he will probably have survived only thanks to Tamil terrorist support.
To any decent person, heck, to any sane person, being faced with an internal revolt from your own party, a record of complete failure in government, total rejection and ridicule from your citizens, and the massive political success of the Mahinda movement, the only option would be to just resign now and be done with it.
But remember, this is Ranil and his sidekick Sirisena we are talking about, and they are neither sane nor decent. They both clung on for decades, hiding in the shadows and sucking up to powerful people, waiting for a chance to rule for life, and finally got the opportunity in 2015. They delayed elections for 3 years – aided by the buffoonish beardo “independent” elections commissioner who let it happen – and even resorted to internet censorship for law-abiding citizens while they let thugs run free.
Watching in horror the events that unfolded in the country after the 2015 election, as our war heroes were punished, our country disgraced, and our national assets sold off, and realizing that this was all made possible through a campaign of lies about “Seychelles bank accounts” and “Lamborghinis,” a Sinhalese Buddhist consciousness took form and infused itself within Sri Lanka. This consciousness then formed a political movement, which has grown from a gathering in Nugegoda in 2015 into a government in waiting in 2018.
It was this movement which has been able to resist and prevent the excesses that the regime change traitors of 2015 had planned to bring upon Sri Lanka. It was this Sinhalese civilizational movement which won the election in 2018, and it was this unquantifiable but ever-present civilizational consciousness which brought the no-confidence motion to the floor of the parliament.
Whichever way the vote goes, Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans are the true winners. And we must all be proud of that.
We were tricked into a dark tunnel in 2015. We can see the light now; freedom is within our grasp.
Image from article here.