By Vishwamithra1984 -August 6, 2014
“Close elections tend to break toward the challenger because undecided voters – having held out for so long against the incumbent – are by nature looking for change.” ~Ron Fournier
Once again the country or at least the Colombo social circuits are eagerly whispering about the ‘Common Candidate’ syndrome. I may be pardoned for calling this a syndrome as it is quite obvious that those who are intricately involved in the process and those who are waiting in the wings to wear the badge of the ‘Common Candidate’ are truly obsessed with the concept.
But what the reader must be made aware of is that a system that was introduced by the then leader of the United National Party (UNP), J R Jayewardene, as a constitutional mechanism to perpetuate itself in power for all time is now spelling its own decline, resulting in a decline in its voter banks and in its asset bases in manpower, cash and other ingredients which are essential for running a reasonably well-coordinated election campaign. As a result of this swift dwindling of assets, the UNP has reversed itself to play the role of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) of twenty plus years ago. This fundamental shift in status of the UNP has caused it to resort to the same tactics that the SLFP had to adopt then in the eighties and nineties- to assemble other political parties as a single opposing unit to challenge the incumbent and be its leader. Read More
By R Hariharan -August 6, 2014
China’s President Xi Jinping has accepted a long-standing invitation from President Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit Sri Lanka sometime this year. The first-ever visit by a Chinese President to Sri Lanka will no doubt be hailed alas a crowning achievement for President Rajapaksa’s foreign policy which had been under siege for some time now.
The Chinese President’s Sri Lanka visit will be an emphatic statement of the growing strategic relationship between the two countries since the two countries signed a “Strategic Cooperative Partnership (SCP)” agreement during President Rajapaksa’s visit to China in May 2013.
The SCP covers a whole range issues including bilateral trade, investment, financial assistance and strategic cooperation providing to benefit both the countries. Sri Lanka’s recent selection of a Chinese firm a strategically important project for setting up a maintenance workshop for Sri Lankan air force in the vicinity of Trincomalee is an example of such cooperation.
But its progress could be cramped by positive turns in China’s uneasy relations with India. India’s newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasised trade and development in his agenda has whetted the appetite of China. It is probably discovering that its strategic and commercial stakes and expectations from India are much higher than Sri Lanka.
President Xi has been keen to cultivate the Narendra Modi-led BJP government as China is keen to enter India’s huge market for its products and invest in capital-starved infrastructure projects. As a result China’s strategic and commercial stakes and expectations from India now are much higher than from Sri Lanka. So we can expect President Xi to bear in mind India’s sensitivity to China’s expanding influence in Sri Lanka while planning his visit Colombo. Read More
Posted by Thavam