SRI LANKA: Election 2019 – Hamlet without a Prince of Denmark

By Basil Fernando

The 2019 election has not generated any real enthusiasm among the people. There have been the usual rituals of meetings, distribution of rice parcels, promises of other little santhosom (gifts) – those are what the sovereign people of Sri Lanka have been offered. In reality, they have been left with a beggar’s choice, which is to select something from the dustbin.

Of course, no one could have expected any immediate solutions to the terrible problems the country is faced with. But the people had the right to see a slight ray of hope, a small start to something which may gradually lead to some progress. Even in this regard, the election of 2019 has not offered any reasonable expectation.

It must be said that the only genuine attempt to get out of the raft, and to think out of the box, came from one man, Nagananda Kodituwakku, who is unfortunately now no longer in the race. It is not that he could have won. His very presence would have provided something for any reasonable person to think through. That is how the path to change is slowly mapped-out.

The two years of his campaign was too short a time to educate the people about a new approach and to catch their imagination. Quick successes often turn into their opposites and good ideas that people have not yet grasped can produce dangerous results.

For people who are despondent, which now includes more or less everybody, at present there is something to think about that could contribute to the further development of the basic ideas related to addressing the issue of a collapsed constitutional system and a legal system, and that without such systems in place it is not possible to take a single step towards positive change. The basic ideas of Nagananda provided such a perspective. Of course, those ideas need to be further enriched and the ways of real politics need to be better understood. In any event, not all is lost, as there is something to ponder about for the future.

Document Type : Article
Document ID : AHRC-ART-018-2019
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Civil and Political Rights, Democracy, Judicial system, Legislation,