18th Amendment, Colombo, Politics and Governance, Post-War

Urgent questions to pose to the Leader of the Opposition

The opposition leader and party leader of the UNP, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe,  appears to be play acting before the public, playing the two key roles of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

An e-mail invitation that went out to leaders of Civil Society and Human Rights Non-Profit Organisations on Monday, September 13, 2010 from the Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition stated that the “Leader of the Opposition would like to see you at a meeting to discuss Media Freedom and Democracy on Tuesday 14 September 2010 at 10.00 am at Committee Room 2, Parliament Complex”.

It is urged that the invitees to the above, prior to the commencement of the meeting, should ask the Leader of the Opposition to clarify the following issues relevant to the discussions to follow;

  • His definition of the role, responsibility, scope and accountability of the office of the Leader of the Opposition in relation to protection of Media Freedom and Democracy.
  • What effective steps he as the Leader of the Opposition has taken in the last 6 months in pursuit of such responsibility and to whom he has been accountable in that regard.
  • Details of the role played by him from the inception of the sowing of seeds by the President towards amending the constitution.
  • Specific submissions or suggestions made by him to the President in the above connection during or post his discussions.
  • Specific actions taken by him post his discussions with the President including, including transparent information dissemination, team work led strategic response action towards good governance assurance leveraging the Constitutional provisions.
  • Why details of these negotiations were not shared with the civil society groups during and after the discussions with the President?
  • Why he and his party failed to share copies of the bill amending the constitution with the civil society groups no sooner received?
  • Why he and the party did not alert the international community and foreign and local media of the details of the amending bill and the dangers foreseen towards protecting Media Freedom and Democracy?
  • Whether no sooner the Bill was received and it was known that it was to be passed as an Urgent Bill, whether he held immediate discussions with the President and lodged his/party strong objections to the planned process?
  • Why he and the party failed to intervene before the Supreme Court when the Bill was taken up for review by the Supreme Court as an Urgent Bill?
  • Why he and the party failed to attend parliamentary debate and fill the Hansard with all the arguments against the enactment of the Bill?
  • Whether he and the party are to file objections before the Judiciary on the points of objection raised in parliament the day before the debate against Bill being taken up for debate?
  • Whether in his opinion his actions as the leader of the opposition has met with the civil society expected role and responsibility as announced at the outset?
  • What credible personal leadership actions and achievements to date can be cited by him in support of his claim to protect Media Freedom and Democracy in the current external environment?
  • boubtful

    LOL… so he seriously believes that there is such a thing call “The opposition” and he is its leader????

  • TT

    What do you plan to do to stop the erosion of democracy?

    Ranil is a weak leader but not the weakest.

    Things can get worse; much worse. Ranil did a lot to bring Sri Lanka’s decend to undemocratic means and war craze to world attention. He sustained severe criticism in doing so. I doubt a different UNP leader could have done it. The alternative UNP leader also hails from Hambantota, politically. Chances are he will be another Rajapaksha replica. If he sticks to Hambantota, so the speak, he will end up a second Rajapaksha. If he forgets Hambantota, he will be as weak as Ranil. His support for minoroties will be much less than Ranil. Ranil’s stay in power is directly linked to minority votes whereas the alternative leader has no such obligation.

    The worst this country can have is not a weak opposition, but an opposition that thinks and acts like the ruling party.

    To his credit Ranil managed to resist populist politics. Will his replacement do so? I have my serious doubts. If both the ruling party and the opposition go with the popular view, in competition, the minority view will be further weakened and ridiculed.

    When Sinhala Only was the tag line one major party, the other major party resisted it. However, that made the other party less popular. Then it joined the bandwagon and the two had little difference between them heading to the 1956 election. People heard it from both sides and were more than convinced. The competition was won by the most aggressive party and with a massive public support things happened in favour of the populist view totally bulldozing the minority.

    In 2010 two patriots were vying for president. What happened? Their competition to be the most hardcore patriot gave the majority a good deal and the minorities were disregarded. The effect of their competition lasted even after the election. Patriotic ferver increased even further after the presidential election as people saw patriotism as the only political view.

    Lets not try it out once again. The danger with populist view is that it bulldozes the initiator if he comes to senses. It happened to Sir John Kotelawala, Bandaranaike, Ranil and Fonseka.

    Those who demand Ranil’s head must realize that things can get much worse.

  • justitia

    The only remedy against elected parties sabotaging other parties, after a parliamentary election, is to repeal the law which allows crossovers of elected MPs.
    Only then will the decisions of voters be final, during the tenure of each parliament.
    Till then, UNP or any other parties will be at risk. This has happened and the result was the 18th amendment.
    Ranil is not to be blamed; those who crossed over, deserting those who voted for them, should be blamed.
    Hence, all above queries become irrelevant in the present situation of ‘cutthroat’ politics.

  • Thiruvananthapuram

    Free and fair 18A ??


    Some MPs were threatened to vote for 18 A, says UNP

    * One MP assaulted by family member and taken to meet President Rajapaksa – Mangala

    * Three others blackmailed over corruption charges, business interests – Gamini J

    The government used various methods to pressure UNP parliamentarians to vote for the 18th Amendment, two UNP MPs alleged yesterday.

    They told a news conference, at the parliamentary complex, that the tactics employed, included threats, assault and blackmail.

    Mangala Samaraweera MP, alleged that one of the UNP MPs was assaulted by a family member and then forcibly taken to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

    Other UNP MPs were blackmailed by the government into voting for the 18th Amendment.

    “The pressure included the threat to expose corruption charges and scuttle business interests. One of them went very reluctantly, otherwise the dossier on him was to be revealed.”


  • The Buddhist

    We need another Constitutional Amendment to make it mandatory for Leader of Opposition to have been born a SInhalese Buddhist and remains a Buddhist. That requirement would eliminate misaditu charlatans like Ranil ever ascending to this important position. There is no place in modern Sri Lanka for those who are not Sinhalese AND also Buddhist.

  • yapa

    ” We need another Constitutional Amendment to make it mandatory for Leader of Opposition to have been born a SInhalese Buddhist and remains a Buddhist. That requirement would eliminate misaditu charlatans like Ranil ever ascending to this important position. There is no place in modern Sri Lanka for those who are not Sinhalese AND also Buddhist.”

    Somebody must tie this mad Buddhist with an iron chain.


  • mahinda knows he has only 1/3 rd of srilankans votes to be there where he is now.he should do all his “themparadu dirty politics” to survive.he was on the peak once and now its his downfall.rats are waiting to abondon the ship,wait and see.we can see aswarr,sb,jonson and all those spineless polticians singing the same old songs.by the way should thank specially to mr.sumathiran,you behaved like a real srilankan inthe parliment.we also heard the polticians who came from the gutters.thanks!!

  • TT

    Ranil may not be a Buddhist by birth but that has absolutely nothing to do with his conduct. A Tamil Hindu like Lakshman Kadirgamar would have done a better job. However, things can get much worse for the UNP because Ranil is not its weakest leader.

  • Burning_Issue


    “Somebody must tie this mad Buddhist with an iron chain.”

    Dr. Mervin Silva will be unhappy; tying people is his trait!

  • JILmart

    Please do not bring caste,race and religion into this vital subject. The leader of the opposition or of any political party should have a back bone. Ditto for a corporate leader

    Sri Lanka belongs to all – not only to Sinhala Buddhists. This must be enshrined in the constitution.

    The civil society must look for ways of replacing Ranil if democracry has to survive.That is if we not reached the point of no return yet . Full suit fossils in the UNP must replaced with politicians with touch and feel at the grassroots level

    UNP must also survive along with democracy!

  • buddika

    EVEN if you are Oxford or cambridge qualified, you need to be down to earth the realise when you are not wanted. Everytime a party looses, you should put your self up for re-election if you are for democracy. RW is a Ostrich with his head in the sand waiting for the sand storm to go away.

  • Dear Mr. Chandra Jayaratne…haven’t you got any ‘URGENT’ questions to pose to the present Dictator of Sri Lanka?

  • Idealist?

    PresiDunce, please see the context in which the questions are written! The Opposition Leader invited members of civil society for a meeting, hence the urgent questions!

  • Ran