The general election of Sri Lanka was concluded which select 225 members for the 16th parliament. 16,263,885 people had the eligibility for vote in the election.
In this post, I wanted to share some specific facts that I have seen in this election. Let me show you.
- The election was held in a Covid-19 situation
One of the main objectives that brought by the Samagi Jana Balavegaya to postpone the election is the COVID-19 situation. At this moment there are 2839 confirmed cases and 11 deaths in Sri Lanka due to the COVID-19. 2564 people healed from the virus. Before the election, a coronavirus-proof mock election was also conducted by the election commission as a trial to comply with the health guidelines. The chairman of the election commission Mr. Mahinda Deshappriya also voted in the election after 9 years. All-island voter turnout had exceeded 70%. The credit should go to the election commission to make Corona free polling stations to ensure democracy.
2. The collapse of traditional political parties
Sri Lanka can be identified as a multi-party system country. But basically, only the major political parties could gain power throughout the Sri Lankan election history. The two political parties were the United National Party (1946) and the Sri Lanka Freedom party (1951). Time to time these two political parties gained the power individually or as an Alliance but as in 2020 general election results the first and one of the most powerful political parties in Sri Lanka UNP could receive only 249,435 as a percentage 2.15% And only one seat. In this time Sri Lanka freedom party faced for the election with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna and individually faced for Jaffna and Kaluthara districts. These results reveal that the Sri Lankan voters have rejected the traditional political parties.
3. Rise of the new political parties
One of the most specific features of general election 2020 in Sri Lanka is the Rise of the new political parties. Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna won the majority votes 6,853,693 (59.09%) by winning 145 seats. when comparing with the previous presidential election in 2019 it was decreased by 70, 562. Samagi Jana Balavegaya won 2,771,980 votes (23.9%) by winning 54 seats. This specific feature in here is both of the political parties are new and very young. Winning the ruling party and the position by two new political parties with a short period is a very specific incident in the Sri Lankan election history.
4. Political leadership- centered election.
It is true that most of the time, the Sri Lankan public opinion Centre for a particular political leadership when they vote. This situation is famous with the Rise of the Mahinda Rajapaksa particularly in the aftermath of the Civil War. Majority of the people in Sri Lanka what for any person or any political party who supported for Mahinda Rajapaksa. On the other hand, with the appointment of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa (younger brother of Mahinda Rajapaksha) as the President in Sri Lanka in 2019, again Rajapaksa brothers could rule the country. Specially combating COVID-19 successfully, swipe out drugs and Underworld, strengthening the public service was some of the good decisions taken by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa during the past nine months. As a result of these factors we can see, the public opinion of the people-centered for Rajapaksas as always.
On the other hand, one of the major political parties in Sri Lanka, UNP was divided into two parts as Ranil bloc and Sajith bloc. Sajith team individually faced for the elections as Samagi Jana Balavegaya and Ranil bloc faced from the UNP. Samagi Jana Balavegaya one as the opposition party next to the SLPP. Here, Sajith Premadasa is the son of the previous president Ranasinghe Premadasa and Ranil Wickremesinghe is a well-experienced person in politics as well as served as prime minister in many times. On the other hand with the defeat of the previous elections (Municipal Council), UNP voters wanted a new face that replacing the traditional and outdated administration under Ranil Wickramasinghe. As a result of that, Sajith Premadasa faced for the presidential election 2019 as the UNP candidate and the general election from Samagi Jana Balavegaya. People who disagreed with Ranil, voted for Samagi Jana Balavegaya by keeping the faith on Sajith Premadasa. This reveals that the Sri Lankan public opinion always centered on a particular political figure.
5. New representatives for the parliament
Things aftermath of the east Sunday attack one of the most famous statements in the social media was ” we don’t want all that 225″. People had a big objection about the representatives in the Parliament. However, some new faces elected for the Parliament in this election especially the members of the Wiyathmaga. On the other hand, many experienced people and political Giants have rejected in the election. Especially, Ranil Wickramasinghe, Ravi Karunanayake, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Sunil Handunneththi, etc. Anyway, some representatives that should be rejected are also appointed in the election. That is one of the weaknesses in the preference system.
SLPP has already gained a two-third majority in the parliament. But the thing is, do The Hopes of the people will achieve. People had a list of names that do not want to include for the new Parliament. But sadly some of them have already elected and who should be in there were rejected. This is not only the fault of the people but also the weaknesses of the election method. We have a hope that the ruling party will rule the country in the people-friendly method and the opposition party will show the weaknesses of the ruling party rather than blocking all the decisions whether it is good or bad. Now Sri Lanka has political stability. The government has received approval for the “vision of prosperity”. We wish that we will not suffer at the end of five years.