Ratey Raala has been supporting a non-party president role for Ranil and an all-party government as a solution to the country’s crisis.
That is still valid. Ranil tried at times to be a non-party president, but it did not flow because that role should have run parallel to an all-party administration. It should happen on a reciprocal basis.
Given the present scenario, making an all-party government a reality is not an easy task. Therefore, Ratey Raala decided today to come out with his Plan B.
Here, the non-party president’s role remains, while an amendment is proposed for an all-party government. It should be a government of national consensus. The final proposal is for a non-party president and a government of national consensus.
A government of national consensus needs to have its minimum and maximum plans of action. We cannot ensure it. That should come from Ranil’s side.
Those who agree with the maximum can join the government, and those who support a minimum can do so while in the opposition.
Here too, Ranil should remain a non-party president. Ratey Raala still finds it unclear if Ranil will play that role with determination. Anyway, he is taking forward the IMF programme as the solution to the economic crisis.
He says the agreements between the government and the IMF will be made into law.
He says citizens’ powers will be strengthened through independent citizens committees. Ranil also says steps will be taken to reinforce parliamentary committees.
He is also preparing to bring in an anti-corruption act.
While positive work of such nature is taking place, things like anti-terrorism act are cropping up as well. Amending the PTA comes as a result of continuing international pressure.
After the military defeat of terrorism, the PTA was used for state repression, to repress anti-government public opinion.
There is a far more serious pressure coming from our society. A recurrence of terrorism should be prevented. There is no argument about that.
But, it is a serious matter if acts to repress people areto be introduced by hiding behind the term terrorism. We still do not know the full content of the anti-terrorism act. However, there is strong opposition from society against it. Therefore, the government will have to tone it down to some extent.
There is talk that this anti-terrorism act is nothing new, that it is the same one Gotabaya Rajapaksa planned to introduce. If that is so, it could be surmised that Ranil is being misled by those who had misled Gotabaya.
The 21st amendment was of Gotabaya’s making. If the one coming up as the PTA is something similar, Ratey Raala has serious doubts about Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s role. His role in such situations has been questionable.
Ratey Raala does not approve of the violence that took place in the country towards the end of the Galle Face struggle. Mahinda should accept blame for that violence.
Ratey Raala has suspicions if the plan is to gratify the SLPP by curtailing people’s democratic rights through the anti-terrorism act.
It will be a joke if someone thinks of preventing public uprisings by using laws, punishment, repressing rights, curbing media and cracking down on rational trade union action.
Such measures can prevent struggles being waged by the SJB and the JVP only, or the failed union action in recent times. Laws cannot prevent real people’s struggles like the one that happened on July 09.
Firstly, the government should present its proposals for a government of national consensus. The UNP should fill the gap by using the moral power it has received courtesy Ranil.
However, the UNP remains fast asleep. Ratey Raala questions what Vajira, Range, Sagala, Ravi, Ruwan, Navin, Akila are doing. None will play the national political role within the UNP.
Although the opposition is not agreeable to a common programme, the SJB, NPP, 43 Brigade, SLFP have all presented their own programmes and are promoting them.
Karu’s National Movement for a Just Society has one of its own. However, the government is still without a plan despite its call for political unity.
Ranil says a few things. He gives certain timeframes. Those are yet to become political. Public officials cannot do that. If the SLPP is tasked with that, the UNP will be done for.
A national programme in this country has become a way of sharing ministerial positions. One such thing is giving the health ministry to Rajitha. Do not try to confine a national programme to that level.
National consensus should come together with a plan to rebuild the country. Or else, Ranil, UNP, country as well as UNP’s dream of making him president again will all become ruined.
Whatever good he brings about for the country, Ranil will not be able to win without making a mark in the public mindset. Ratey Raala believes only deal politics is happening now. Vajira is a veteran on that.
But, deals cannot solve the problem. A leadership other than Ranil should emerge within the UNP to fulfill the accountability part in national politics. The UNP is now badly in need of a second tier of leaders to promote a national consensus programme, accountable to the country on that and exert pressure on the opposition.