Sunday, November 08, 2009

sarath fonseka fantasy of unp and real reasons behind it

sunday times headline reads "opposition’s common candidate: gen. fonseka; consensus reached among unf parties; jvp support also sought". that heading will certainly sell lots of papers (good for a paper) and create false impressions (not so good) .problem- general (who is still chief of defence staff) has not committed.

sole evidence to support the story; general has not given a straight answer when questioned by an "english daily " (which? when?). btw to be "common candidate" jvp must be in agreement not just being "sought".
(island has more balanced and grounded story on the same issue. it is clear which paper to choose when you want real news)

commonsense would deem controversy as a bit premature; no general, no jvp, and even no election.

the date for presidential election has not been set as yet and full term only ends in 2011 december.

so why would a paper owned by opposition leader's uncle positively proclaim that general fonseka not ranil wickremesinghe is the next common opposition presidential candidate on rather flimsy grounds?

i will contend that real reason is yet another attempt at spin by unp leader in order project some(any!) hope of winning before possible elections to revive grassroots and prevent further potential pre election defections. all spin, no (or meagre) substance.

politics in sri lanka, real story
to understand this, you have to know how politics in sri lanka works and how the mind of opposition leader works.

sri lankan politics do not run on ideology (except when it comes to fringe parties) but on patronage relationships.

grassroots of a political party or a local politician works for it/him hoping for a return (jobs, contracts, protection, etc. etc.). what i am referring to here is not general election promises to general public made in manifestos of political campaigns, but specific promises and commitments to specific individuals or groups, most of them not made public.

politician and party is expected to deliver once in power. this is also why we see lots of crossovers (almost all from opposition to government) between elections, as politicians try to get access to means of dispensing patronage. even democratic minority community parties operate on same principles (that is why they always join government if they can) .

if the party or politician fails to get power and so fail to deliver patronage his stock with grassroots decreases. decrease will accelerate with each actual and potential failure. only way to keep grassroots committed and prevent crossovers is to create a credible hope that one will win the next election.

unp now
united national party (unp) will get walloped in the presidential election held in the near future (with the usual loser as candidate). unp must also face the possibility that parliamentary elections (due by march 2010) will be held before presidential elections. unp facing a walloping there as well.

they know that ppl in general know this. they know that their possible grassroots supporters know this. a grassroots activist for unp must necessarily face a life of great personal sacrifice way in to the future with zero payback, if he remains loyal. predictably there aren't many (unp organization in recent provincial council elections was so pathetic that main upfa candidates almost completely ignored them in some electorates and concentrated on fighting among themselves).

so ranil must create hope out of thin air to get grassroots to commit, get political donors to risk money, etc etc .

that is where general comes in.

general outlook
general sarath fonseka who is very popular, obviously has political ambitions. and as such a very good candidate. this is a good thing.

but i would be surprised if he commits to politics now (though it is not impossible), given the risks involved; running against a currently popular incumbent president, running with no control over ones' own campaign, losing, and ruining his chances forever; when he can wait and win.

his best course of action is to force upfa into absorbing him with future possibility of being its presidential candidate after mahinda rajapaksa.

barring that, to remain independent and wait out mahinda's popularity and enter politics few years down in opposition side on his own terms through a party he controls instead of under a party controlled by a different person. he should be able to either gain control of unp after ranil loses again or create a different coalition and then force ranil out of unp.

either way he has a very good chance of replacing mihanda buffalo if he waits.

i personally think he doing just that; waiting and elbowing to position himself in both upfa and opposition for future (rather than for an election in the near future).

i could of course be wrong, but in that case it would be the general himself who will lose in the long term.

ranil's game
on the other hand ranil cannot wait. he has to do something now, so he is trying his best to rope in fonseka or at least create the illusion of getting him (in which his uncle's newspapers are aiding).

using fonseka (+ an absurd coalition of marxist jvp and right of center unp bc of fonseka) he hopes to get unp grassroots to show some life and prevent crossovers before the next presidential and/or parliamentary elections will be announced.

in addition,
he probably hopes to make mahinda rajapakse delay the elections (bc of expected more robust contest with fonseka as opposed to a walkover over ranil). buffalo is unlikely to fall for this. if he waits till end of full term, it will be for different reasons.

ranil also hopes to spin that mihinda backed down from presidential election due to fear of losing, if only parliamentary elections are announced as they must be before march 2010.

this last is probably his main expectation. by creating the illusion that fonseka is on unp side (even if he has made no commitment) the possibility of him contesting in 2011, will be enough to give some hope of a payback for those supporting unp parliamentary candidates and for preventing some crossovers before the elections.

let me be clear, ranil does not expect fonseka to win if he is the opposition presidential candidate.

he is just fighting for his own political survival as unp leader in case of elections. he wants to revive the unp grassroots for parliamentary elections to prevent another dismal showing, and then hope to remain in control of unp after fonseka loses (or if there is no presidential election )

that is his game. very short term and very selfish (as he has a right to be)

but others have a right to realize and act based on what he is up to, in order to advance their own agendas.

if fonseka falls for ranil's trap, unp will revive in the short term and get better than expected results in parliamentary elections (though not win).

but as ranil expects, general will lose the presidential election, making the general damaged goods with no political party for cover. (btw if a real possibility of sarath foseka winning emerges once election campaign gets underway, expect to see ranil's uncle and other of same ilk working against fonseka as the same ppl did against gamini dissanayake when he was the unp candidate in 1994). ranil will remain head of unp for another six years in opposition.

that is why general should wait and position himself both within upfa and outside instead of falling for the trap.

some political commentators are fond of describing ranil as a master of political tactics but that is not supported by evidence
ranil's previous attempts at short sighted manipulation of political expectations to advance his own ambitions were dismal failures (in 1994 and 2004) when both gamini dissanayake and chandrika kumaratunga outplayed him.

let's see whether buffalo and general follow in their footsteps.

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Anonymous said...

We are living in INTERESTING times.

sittingnut said...

i am not sure they would (as opposed to were . defeating terrorists were historic times ) be interesting
i think this will blow over with not lasting impression on sri lanak polity . it is just another case of politiking with all that implies

i saw some talk of a coup . that is mere chatter of defeated terrorist and their peacenik supporters clutching at straws . in fact i may write on their absurd hopes in another post .

Anonymous said...

A libertarian batting hard for a leftish president. Anyone can see the intent of this post is to make it look like chances of Fonseka contesting and winning is zero.

sittingnut said...

can you point out or quote anything i wrote that is against libertarian principles ( not just here but anywhere)? why not?

if you can't and don't know enough, may be you should stop showing your ignorance. :-)

as far as libertarianism is concerned non of the leading politicians (mahinda , fonseka, ranil ) in sri lanka are libertarians.

are you saying that i should stop taking an interest in sri lankan poltics bc they are not libertarians? or are recommending that i forget about reality, and deal in fantasy politics ?

sorry i don't do that . :-)

and where did i "battled hard " for leftist president ? do qoute why can't you? :-)

"intent of this post is to make it look like chances of Fonseka contesting and winning is zero."

as anybody can read, my intent was to take look at the controversy ( to a degree manufactured since even newspapers cannot give anything substantial even from general ) surrounding the potential entry into politic of general sarath fonseka, and why unp is making a big deal of it.
look! that is what it says even in the heading! :-)

i dealt with fonseka's chances, if he does enter politics realistically - that he will lose now, but has a good chance to replace mahinda if he waits. i also said only possible outcome of his entry will be ranil in opposition at head of unp for another 6 years while general will be damaged. i gave the reasons in post.

you can say that is wrong, but do point out why it is wrong, if you want to engage in rational debate and not a troll .

generally speacking if you have some problem with facts or my analysis of them you are free to point that out .
but if you can't take the trouble to be specific or support what you say, with facts or quotes from me or others, then you are only showing your deficiencies.

and when i reply i will point them out as i am doing now


Anonymous said...

You know, you are so full of yourself.

sittingnut said...

you realized that only now!


i am indeed full of myself and quite unapologetic about that. deal with it !

Anonymous said...

a very interesting read and as usally a good analysis. Thanks for providing a new perspective.

Anonymous said...

LL, can you please explain it to this guy that the Sri Lankan high commisioner has identified them as LTTE carders ?

sittingnut said...

anon @ 11/09/2009 6:09 am:
you are welcome


anon @ 11/10/2009 4:19 pm:
that blog seems to be run by another "useful idiot ".

anyway i left this comment
i am from sri lanka and you seem to be quite ignorant about sri lanka

could you explain some of your statements ,
"Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers"
do you know that some these ppl were specifically identified as tamil tiger terrorists?
do you consider to what extent they are economic migrants? (tamil nadu in india is close by, why do you think that they seek political asylum in australia and not in india ?)

"fleeing from the repression in their home country in the aftermath of a civil war."
could you elaborate on what you mean by "repression" ? give sources. preferably not the same sources that were justifying mass murder of innocents carried out by tamil tiger terrorists.
if you do, explain how the "repression" in sri lanka differs legally from new zealand laws ( of course if you can't understand this last, don't bother just confess your ignorance ) .

"now living in hastily put together refugee camps. "
really ? again sources please
do you know that they are partly funded and run by united nations?

btw is it your understanding that most tamils in sri lanka are in these "camps" ? if not why do you refer only to them and not to millions of other tamils in sri lanak who are not in such camps ? why ? do explain

finally do you think that actions of tamil tigers were justified ? do you think they were fighting for freedom from "repression" when they killed babies ?
do you think that fund collected to support terrorist in new zealand and others to kill us justified ? may be you contributed to kill us and our children?

do answer
lets see what happens

Schmindi Samueljeevz said...

Aiyo Thuranga Penando oya hari sad aney.. get a life will you

sittingnut said...

i take it that you misspelled and you really wanted say you want a life and is tired of your sad life posting moronic comments on other ppls blogs.

sorry, i just kick trollish fools when they appear here for my amusement, i don't give them a life.
you are free to beg and cry here but that wont help you one bit. only kicks in your arse for you here

Balaji said...

nice to see a libertarian blog. i'm myself a conservative from across the Palk Straits. (say republican or classical liberal but not libertarian). i think being libertarian is impractical since humanity is used to governments and societal living. anyway thats a debate for another day.

i think Fonseka shud contest the polls, but contest as an independent. UNP, JVP and TNA seems too motley a combination. I'm wary of a Leftist party run by a family having sway over Sri lanka. that'll invariably lead to corruption and gradual attack on civil liberties.

Fonseka shud contest the election on 2 crucial points.

1. Now that the war is over, Westminister style parliamentary democracy (rather than Executive presidency + proportional representation), is the ideal way to heal the wounds and unite the country. I being a non-partisan soldier, am well suited to ensure this transition. Whoever wants to support me in this cause is welcome to do so.

2. The nation cannot be entrusted to the Rajapaksha family. Remember even Winston Churchil was ousted just after the second world war in 1945 (although he made a comeback 5 years later).

Fonseka shud try to become the last executive president as well as the new ceremonial non-partisan president of Srilanka.

What does Fonseka have to gain by becoming a partisan president? But by becoming an executive president and then abolishing that post, he would have become a national hero, twice over.

Anonymous said...

Standing nuts, somebody's trolling you at the comments here. Have a look at this link !

sittingnut said...

thanks for the comment. and for your thoughtful points

you are right that "a leftist party run by a family having sway over sri lanka, ....lead to corruption and gradual attack on civil liberties."

fonseka who does not have much past baggage, will be an improvement on both left and right parties (both corrupt and no great respecters of civil liberties ) in sri lanka.

however it is not all that clear what his ideology is, or even if he has one. we don't know how he wants to govern . for instance, is he a supporters of free markets? we don't know . so if he get elected and tries to increase the size of government, corruption will continue to increase and civil liberties will suffer.

of course you want him to abolish executive presidency, in which case his ideology will not matter . but on that see below

it is certainly possible for him to run as independent but he will lose big time.
he needs some organization . i am not sure he can overcome the lack of any such thing under his control and win .
to run with help from organizations under other ppl's control is not good both for him and country
to win, he needs a political organization under his control and it will take time to build one from scratch or to purge an already established party

i am also skeptical about suitability of westminister style parliamentary democracy for sri lanka .
without proportional representation we will be back to parties having 2/3+ majorities in parliament. if recent provincial council elections were held under that old system, upfa would have won 100% of the seats . that would be undemocratic.

also skeptical about doing away with direct election of executive president, which has created a need ( if there are 2 viable candidates.) for presidential candidates to be moderate with wide appeal, to get 50% of vote

certainly powers of executive president should be reduced . but i am not sure that doing away with it and giving power to a parliament elected on proportional basis will result in a practical government . it will be deadlock all the time and high turnover in pms ( as in italy until recently ). as you say, other option is a parliament in wesminister style, but as i say, that would not be democratic here.

so for fonseka to get elected and hand over power to same corrupt politicians responsible to an either westminister style or proportional style parliament is highly counter productive. it will certainly not result in healing "the wounds and uniting the country"

we will give up a chance to create effective opposition to mahinda rajapaksa by getting fonseka to run now and lose . as i said in post, opposition is going to lose the coming elections whoever is the candidate .
that defeat should be an event to finally trigger a complete overhaul in their side. by getting foseka to run it ( specifically ranil ) is trying to avoid that; by using the general ranil will survive, unp will stay the same, but fonseka will be damaged . all of that is not good for sri lanka.

anon 11/11/2009 4:34 pm
who cares!
get a life !

Balaji said...

hmm ... i'm able to see the reasoning behind your positions.

regarding Fonseka needing an organization, I think your opinion is likely to be more knowledgeable than mine. i don't know much about local level politics in Lanka. my only guess is UNP, JVP and TNA will rather support Fonseka than let Mahinda win easily.

my problem with proportional representation is that even fringe elements end up getting a seat. and more radical/conservative politicians will be at the top of the party lists and hence will enter parliament. local level moderation goes missing. in a westminister style system, a fringe politician having extreme views might struggle to enter parliament.

on executive presidency, I'm not absolutely certain whether its good or bad. my guess is, a country working towards a mission needs a executive president. Srilanka certainly needed strong individual leadership during the past few decades. but in a country which is out of crisis mode, its probably better to have a Prime Ministerial system. the political haggling that comes with it, helps to reassure minority communities and also address regional imbalances etc.

but I guess, there are pro and cons in each approach and countries over a period of time will be able to decide what works best for them.

Vidura said...

I think you are one of those johnnies who think Sarath Fonseka should have been made Secretary to the Minister of Sports.

Whatever said and done Sarath Fonseka has thought things over quite well. He is coming to win. If he does not stand a chance of winning you think he'll contest?

You and all your pro-Rajapakse junta friends are now crying "sour grapes".

sittingnut said...

how typical of you to be so irrational .

"I think you are one of those johnnies who think Sarath Fonseka should have been made Secretary to the Minister of Sports."
why do you "think" that ? :-)
quote anything i said that make you think that particular thing ?
just bc you can't make a rational argument against what i said in the post you "think" and imagine things about me ?

how typically foolish of you.! lol @ the fool

"Whatever said and done Sarath Fonseka has thought things over quite well. He is coming to win. If he does not stand a chance of winning you think he'll contest?"

so your argument boils down to- if he contests, that is bc he thinks he will win .
yes! he thinks so what is your point ? i did not say he does not think he will win . he can think that.

i don't believe he will win. i gave my reasons in posts. you don't address any of that . do you think associating with unp, tna jvp etc is a winning combination instead of a problem? you don't answer that . you merely express you fan boy like faith, no reasons just ... ignoring of those ppl and faith. how touchingly foolish ! :-)
"You and all your pro-Rajapakse junta friends are now crying "sour grapes"."
excuse me, could you qoute me being "pro rajapaka" as opposed to being anti peacenik, anti terrorists, etc ?
but perhaps you are too idiotic to notice the difference

and btw "sour grape "comment would be appropriate if someone lost . nobody has as yet . may be you should wait a little till ppl lose or win . before jumping like a boy toy to get mouth stuffed with ...grapes

lol@ the moron boy vidura

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DEVONECO said...

There's going to be a new type of Mental Asylum that will be created in some affluent neighborhood in Colombo soon after the Presidential elections which will probably be called the United Cuckoos' Nest (or something like that!) which will hold privileged inmates like Sarath F, Ranil, Ravi, Mangala, Somawanse. Hakeem and Chandrika. Probably they might even decide to form their own "Pissu cricket team" coached by another inmate Arjuna.

DEVONECO said...

There's going to be a new type of Mental Asylum that will be created in some affluent neighborhood in Colombo soon after the Presidential elections which will probably be called the United Cuckoos' Nest (or something like that!) which will hold privileged inmates like Sarath F, Ranil, Ravi, Mangala, Somawanse. Hakeem and Chandrika. Probably they might even decide to form their own "Pissu cricket team" coached by another inmate Arjuna.