Sunday, June 16, 2024

The hidden truth on forthcoming Presidential polls battle

by damith
June 9, 2024 1:09 am 0 comment 755 views

Some are questioning how the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), which only got three percent of the total votes in the country, will get 50 percent of the votes to win this year’s Presidential Election (PE). But in response to that query, some others raised the question that isn’t it more difficult for Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP), which only received 248,435 votes in the 2020 General Election (GE), to win the PE.

Both of these questions make a valid statement that should be taken into consideration regarding this year’s PE and in such a situation, it also appears that Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) is the only party that does not have a problem as such with the number of votes received. The expected number of votes of the UNP, SJB and JVP at the forthcoming PE can however only be judged through a scientific analysis.

The closest previous elections where the total number of votes obtained by each party can be understood are the Local Government (LG) election in 2018, PE in 2019 and the GE in 2020. In addition, it appears that there are two agencies that engage in issuing monthly public opinion polls on the upcoming PE.

According to their monthly opinion polls the JVP is in the forefront while the SJB is in second place. According to the latest report of one of the agencies, both parties have now reached the same level. The UNP with a low number of votes is at the third place while Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) has gained the lowest endorsement.

It has been revealed that these agencies issue their predictions based on views from less than 1,000 people. However, what can be said about the analysis of these agencies is that they are very distant from the ground realities of the political landscape of this country.

A special situation can be seen when analysing the public opinion of the PE in 2019 and the GE in 2020. Sajith Premadasa became the candidate from the UNP at the PE in 2019 due to some pressure although Wickremesinghe was the UNP leader at that time. When Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who won the PE, gained 6,924,255 votes, UNP’s Premadasa got only 5,564,239 votes. However, in the 2020 GE, the total number of votes obtained by the SJB, which broke away from the UNP, was only 2,771,980.

Votes

The difference between the number of votes received by the UNP in 2019 and the number of votes obtained by the SJB is 2,792,225 in the GE in 2020. Accordingly, when the votes of the Tamil and Muslim parties, who voted for the UNP in the PE are removed and the number of votes received by the UNP, it is clear that over 1,900,000 people have avoided casting their votes. According to this scenario, it is evident that the percentage of votes obtained by UNP and JVP is low, while the percentage of votes received by the SJB is also only 22 percent. Therefore, the SJB also needs to increase the present vote base by two fold to reach 50 percent.

In such a situation, it will be seen that the behaviour of the voters in this PE will be different from the situation shown by those agencies using a very low numbers of people in their surveys and trying to portray that it was the opinion of the entire country. Maybe these agencies do not see the reality or they may be trying to hide the real truth to mislead the public on the ground reality. Is it possible to imagine that the 1,900,000 people who did not vote for SJB due to the party’s split and expecting a definite defeat at the GE will not cast their votes for their leader –Ranil Wickremesinghe – who is back as the country’s President?

Not a single party that expected to get a significant number of votes in the country, has declared their support for SJB and JVP. According to plantation sources, there is a population of over 670,000 workers in the plantation sector. When the non-working people in the plantation sector are also added to this number, the total number of votes in the estate sector is likely to exceed 1,000,000. Minister Jeevan Thondaman has announced that he will support Wickremesinghe in the PE. But P. Thigambaram, the other political leader of the plantation sector, says that he will support the leader who will win the PE to get a ministerial portfolio for him.

Therefore, some political parties that already have a significant number of votes in the country, are with President Wickremesinghe. A public rally of the alliance led by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) was held in Ambalantota on June 8 to support Wickremesinghe. It also appears that the majority of SLFP Parliamentarians are with this alliance. A special feature of this is that even though this group contested in the 2020 GE under the SLPP, certain SLPP leaders have publicly requested not to vote for them.

Despite requests not to vote for Mahinda Amaraweera in Hambantota, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya in Kegalle, Duminda Dissanayake in Anuradhapura, Lasantha Alagiyawanna in Gampaha, they won. The SLFP received 1,400,000 votes in the LG election in 2018 and it can be expected that President Wickremesinghe will get more from those votes at this forthcoming PE.

Apart from this, a number of parties are already united with President Wickremesinghe. The EPDP led by Minister Douglas Devananda, the TMVP led by Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan and the new political front formed by Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman have already pledged their support to President Wickremesinghe.

Parliamentarians like Susil Premajayantha, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Nimal Lanza and many other Parliamentarians, who are currently separated from the SLPP have also formed another alliance which is also supporting President Wickremesinghe. Arun Siddharthan, who has been appointed as the UNP organiser in the North, leads a large section of people in the North to support President Wickremesinghe. M.A. Sumanthiran and Wigneswaran and many other North and East-based politicians have expressed their views indirectly supporting President Wickremesinghe.

Cabinet

The SLPP as a whole has not yet made a decision on whether they will field their own candidate for this year’s PE or whether they will support President Wickremesinghe. The SLPPers in the Cabinet have already said that Wickremesinghe should be elected as the President after this year’s PE. However, the decision of the SLPP will decisively affect its politics.

If the SLPP decides to support President Wickremesinghe, it will be able to remain as a single party in the future. But, if they decide to field their own candidate to contest or not to support Wickremesinghe, the remaining Parliamentarians of the SLPP will split the party into two pieces with members of SLPP who support President Wickremesinghe taking a different stance.

Therefore, there is a high chance that the SLPP will also decide to support President Wickremesinghe in the forthcoming PE. In the same way, it is no secret that after President Wickremesinghe announced his Presidential candidacy, many SJB Parliamentarians and members are waiting to join him.

The most important fact is that Sri Lankans, who suffered due to an unprecedented economic crisis that led to severe shortages of food, fuel, LP Gas and frequent power cuts two years ago, will not forget President Wickremesinghe, the leader who saved the country and its people. Will they ever try to bring immature political leaders, who ran away from their responsibilities in that crucial situation, to the Presidency?

According to the above facts and figures, it is clear that the JVP, which only got three percent of the votes, and the SJB, which got 22 percent of the votes, still exist as single parties, while a number of political parties and individuals are rallying around President Wickremesinghe’s resurgent UNP.

On June 6, President Wickremesinghe opened his political office in the heart of Colombo, indicating that he will definitely run for the forthcoming PE. According to the decisions made by various political parties mentioned above, it is clear that the reality of the country’s politics is different from some agency surveys and that there is already a clear picture drawn about the 2024 PE results.

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