Appoint Best to the Ministerial Posts
Even though the recently concluded General Election was conducted amid uncertainty and fear surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, it is considered by many to be a successful and at the same time a peaceful election.
According to authorities and election observers, only a meagre number of election law violations were recorded during the Election and the overall voter turnout exceeded 70 per cent. It was also South Asia’s first election after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic early this year.
The General Election was held at a time when Sri Lanka is gradually recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already taken its toll on close to 3,000 Sri Lankans including 11 deaths, and has dealt a heavy blow to the country’s economy and people’s daily lives. The General Election was initially set for 25 April following the dissolution of Parliament in March. However, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities were forced to postpone it several times. Despite various debates and criticism over holding the Election before the country could completely recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s national election body, the Election Commission, decided to give people the opportunity to use their right to vote, in order to ensure democracy. Authorities, including the Election Commission, faced a huge challenge when it comes to holding the Election while ensuring that no person contracts COVID-19 at polling centres. Even though this was a huge challenge, the successful completion of the Election is proof that Sri Lanka has achieved that target.
The Election also resulted in an unforeseen event, i.e. the fall of the UNP. It is noteworthy that Sri Lanka’s single largest political party, the United National Party (UNP), after parting ways with a number of UNP members who decided to join the Sajith Premadasa-led Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) right before the Election, was able to secure only one national list seat. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who held the UNP leader post for 26 consecutive years, this week decided to step down from the post, inviting a new leadership. In a context where the UNP seems to be plunging into a crisis, the SJB was however able to secure enough seats to become Sri Lanka’s new Opposition Party.
Several governments that came to power in the recent past have failed to fulfil the promises they gave to the people. At the General Election last week, the country’s citizens voted for candidates they thought would serve the people best. Now the task is to entrust the newly-elected Parliamentarians and the new Cabinet of Ministers with duties they are capable of performing.
The country is heading to a new direction - a large number of well-known politicians were voted out of office; the country’s once most prominent political party was able to secure only one seat and a new party has obtained enough votes to become the new Opposition Party. Most importantly, the establishment of a fresh government has begun with the swearing-in of the new Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, last Sunday (9). The new Cabinet of Ministers is scheduled to be sworn in today (12). For decades, Sri Lankans have suffered the consequences of electing incompetent leaders, corrupt politicians and short-sighted people’s representatives.
We could not afford to make another wrong decision at the Election, which has the potential to haunt the country for five years, until the next Election. The people voted for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the former Defence Secretary, in the Presidential Election last year, with the hope that that situation would be changed under his leadership. Also, at this General Election, people voted for many candidates supporting the President, in order to support the President to form a strong government and do what is necessary to revive and protect the country. Everyone is expecting that the new Government, especially the new Cabinet of Ministers being sworn in today, would steer the country towards a new path. Mistakes should not take place when appointing Ministers. Only the capable MPs should be nominated to the ministerial posts disregarding the seniority.