As the government makes clear that it intends to use its new two-thirds majority to strip away constitutional safeguards and consolidate power in the Rajapaksa family, several
newly elected opposition leaders and civil society leaders are realizing the urgency of uniting the 75 member opposition against the 150-member government, and generating public support for the coming debate between dictatorship and democracy.
Given the current composition of the government and opposition forces, the regime has a distinct advantage, in that in President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, they have a popular and powerful symbol of authoritarian and militarized rule, whereas the opposition currently does not have an equivalently strong symbol of democracy to rally behind.
Into this void, representatives of several political parties and public movements are seeking to reincarnate an organisation like the National Movement for a Just Society (NMJS) led by the late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera, to bring together the forces of democracy over dictatorship.
Their call is for one of Sobitha Thero's most prominent disciples, former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, to take on the role of uniting the opposition and civic groups, and to rally all parliamentarians opposed to dictatorship behind Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa.
Ever since the announcement of the election results, members of the SJB, UNP, NPP and 'Nidhasa' union of civil society groups have called on Jayasuriya to come to the forefront and re-enter active politics, at least temporarily, and to rally the opposition and defend the democratic gains won by the people through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.