Presidential Elections and my ramblings

Yesterday was the seventh Presidential Election of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and my first time voting.

Sri Lankan politics is not as clear cut as in other countries. In other nations, political parties are divided by political ideologies such Conservatism, Democracy, Labor and Communism. In Sri Lanka, it’s more about individuals wanting power.

Let me make this quite clear. Over 75% of politicians in this rat race in Sri Lanka aren’t here to spread political ideas and progress the country. They’re here for money and power. So when it comes to General Elections, it’s not really a matter of WHAT you believe in. It’s more about who has the better propaganda, better speeches and ultimately who looks the best while underhandedly deceiving the populace. That’s not to say that the entire political forum is useless and meaningless. The country does run passably and many politicians do end up helping the public but ultimately, from government to government, the governance system rarely changes.

For instance, the last president who just got defeated in yesterday’s poll re-established the Executive Powers of the President which were originally established more than 30 years ago a president of the main opposition party. Of course a few years afterward that initial establishment, the Executive powers were restored to the parliament but then in 2010, in the revolutionary 18th amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, then president re-established it so that he could stay for more than three consecutive terms, given the people vote for him

But the people didn’t and he’s had to step down to make way for a new president who contested as representative of more than three main political parties joined to make an alliance.

But there weren’t really much drastic things to choose between the two candidates and in my opinion, in came down to a lesser of two evils reasoning when it came time to choose. Neither has any glaring and definitely proven flaws and neither has any glaring and definitely proven virtues.

True, people were fed up of nepotism and how perpetual the previous presidency seemed but there weren’t major injustices. For all the people shouted out, claiming that the previous president misused public funds and such are just claims and in Sri Lanka, it would be surprising if anyone didn’t. Not that it makes such misappropriation of funds right. It’s just surprising to see people rise up over a supposed crime when over 80% of the public turn a blind eye when their favorite minister does the same.

I did vote in the end of course. For all the almost equal flaws and virtues on both sides, nipping a hydra in the bud seemed wiser so I did end up making up my mind but not before agonizing it over and over, reading both candidates’ proposed manifestos and action plans and re-reading their proposed reforms and such.

Does one vote count you may ask?

Yes it does. Each vote counts. Even if it’s an uninformed and blind decisions, it’s still a decision at the end of the day and the government should listen to the people.

Lessons:

1. It’s not the people that should fear the government. It’s the government that should fear the public. And I don’t mean it to say that it’s the public’s right to carry out violent coup d’etats or revolutions against a bad government. It’s for the public to voice their opinion through votes and polls and referendums. And it’s certainly not for governments to take the law into their hands. The judiciary should remain independent. Keyword of course being ‘should’. After all, our world is hardly ideal.

Accomplishment. For my voting. And my rambling.

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