Text and picture by PRIYAN DE SILVA
The Executive Director of the Institute of Democratic Reforms and Electoral Studies (IRES) Manjula Gajanayake pointed out that the 145 Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Members of Parliament do not have the people’s mandate because the SLPP election manifesto ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’ is defunct now.
Gajanayake wondered if President Wickremesinghe realised that he was elected as president by SLPP MPs who had ethically lost their mandate after their manifesto became defunct.
A Manifesto being the written statement of the beliefs, aims, and policies of a political party (or any organisation) which is presented to the public for their endorsement, Gajanayake said that most people decided for whom to vote after listening to it’s contents being repeated on campaign platforms and compairing the promises made by other political parties. “In addition the people would decide for themselves if the party of their choice could be trusted to keep it’s promise”
Gajanayake said that in the ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’ former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa sought the people’s mandate with the request
“Please fulfill your responsibility and I will
fulfill my responsibility by creating a secure
and prosperous nation”
The contents of SLPP’s manifesto ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’ was endorsed by 6,853,690 electors to secure 145 of the 225 seats at the August 2020 parliamentary election. Further more they trusted President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who was in office at the time to keep his promise by implementing it.
Gajanayake reiterated that political parties in Sri Lanka are known to forget pre election promises and pledges after being elected to office and the ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’ was no exception.
Instead of creating the prosperous nation the people voted for, the SLPP government mismanaged the economy to such an extent that the country was driven to bankruptcy.
Even though the people, through non violent protests were able to force the Executive President and Prime Minister to resign they were unable force the members of parliament to resign.
Gajanayake said that as Sri Lanka follows the West Minister Parliamentary system dissolving parliament is not a constitutional obligation when the president resigns. The MPs could have resigned on their own accord which was what the people wished for, but such a noble practice has not been seen in the past five decades or so. “The SLPP MPs failed to take note that the ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’ for which the people voted for is defunct and ethically they had lost the people’s mandate” he reiterated.
“President Ranil Wickremasinghe has the option of reviving the SLPP MP’s mandate by implementing his predecessor’s manifesto, which he would not do as the ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’ has failed miserably.
Gajanayake suggested that election manifestos should be considered a binding legal documents which will ensure that in the future all political parties are legally bound to fullfill their pre election promises.