Friday, July 3, 2020 10:20:45 PM

Gotabhaya presidency, democracy and minorities

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The future of democracy in Sri Lanka and history’s verdict on this presidency would depend very much on how quickly Gotabaya Rajapaksa learns the art of saying no to his supporters when their demands clash with demands of greater good.

Soon after his victory at the election, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa publicly acknowledged that he was elected overwhelmingly by the Sinhalese, but promised to be a president for all communities. This is democracy at its best. However, words alone are not sufficient. They have to be translated into action.

The new President has already earned a reputation for being a disciplinarian and task master. His simplicity in persona, decision to downsize presidential security apparatus and pomp, strict timelines and guidelines to measure ministerial performance, and measures to introduce meritocracy in public sector appointments, etc., vouch for that reputation.
Although a presidency is what its occupant makes of it, in the ultimate analysis, it is a political office subject to numerous pulls and pushes, and the president should master the art of politicking in the interest of promoting greater good. The 48% that did not vote for the President exercised their legitimate democratic right, and bulk of that 48% happened to be the two minorities, Tamils and Muslims….

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