Is there a low – cost way out from the present crisis boiling within the Maithripala Sirisena – Ranil Wickremesinghe administration? During the past few days, a number of well – wishers of the present government posed this question to me in personal conversations. All of them are people who have contributed in a variety of ways to the political change of January 2015. They are now deeply worried about the inevitable disintegration of the yahapalanaya regime, with two other inevitabilities – rendering irrelevant the reform mandate of 2015 and the returning to power of the unreformed Rajapaksa camp with a plainly authoritarian political agenda. Still there are no signs of a new option emerging, embodying the democratic and humanistic ideal of our society.
In these conversations, I have also been repeatedly reminded of a bitter political truth. We as citizens who are seriously committed to social and political change may bring politicians of various hues into power through the democratic process. That we do with the hope that politicians and their parties would be truthful to the mandate we, and our fellow citizens, frame and give them. In power, they pay no heed to the concerns of the citizens who authorized them to rule. With scant regard for the popular trust placed on them, the politicians have the habit of running away with political power. At times, they might even get into self-destructive power fights among themselves, as it is happening now, fully ignoring why the people placed their trust on them. Worse still, they show no understanding of why they have been entrusted with political power to begin with. This is the stuff that causes disillusionment with democracy.