Opinion: The Relevance of Ranil Wickremesinghe

Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe lands in the Maldives today on an official visit.

September 2, 2019 (LBO) – The hyenas in the UNP are chomping at the bit. In their delusions of grandeur they feel that the have the UNP leader cornered, and are drooling at the chance to feed on the spoils of his dead carcass.

They want power, the only nourishment that will satisfy their selfish ends. In a ruthless quest for that power, they are putting forward a Presidential candidate whose chief attribute being promoted is that he is a winner.

Winning at all costs is the name of the game. If they help their candidate to win, they will be rewarded with the perks and power that come with a cabinet portfolio, and one lucky scavenger will become the Prime Minister of a Sajith Premadasa Presidency.

There is one question however that the hyenas in the UNP have failed to articulate. What do they and their proposed leader exactly stand for? At this point the answer is simply power. Power for a new breed of UNPer who seems so in a hurry that they will bite the very hand that has fed them for so many years.

Ranil Wickremesinghe is the current king of the jungle. He has the UNP party leadership and is the sitting 5 time Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. We know what Ranil Wickremesinghe stands for. He has a multi decade record to show for it. Ranil stands for democracy, peace, inclusiveness, an open economy, globalism, a free press, minority rights.

With Ranil you can say what you want. You can scold him and criticise his leadership all day long, and he will just smile. When he is in power, racism, thuggery, and religious extremism are in check.

Ranil Wickremesinghe’s record in politics makes him extremely relevant. You know who you are voting for, and the politics that he will practice. This consistent record has allowed him to win over the vast majority of minority political leaders. They have confidence that he will do the right by them and their communities.

Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the last Presidential election just 5 years ago. Some of the major reasons that he lost the last election are that people valued the political positions that Ranil Wickremesinghe has advocated for his entire career. The votes against Rajapaksa were values based, not on personality. This is reflective of an electorate whose maturity is greater than people give them credit for.

So now, the UNP rebels aim to bring fourth a new candidate based on a personality rather than values. This effort is likely to be a mistake. It is not that Sajith Premadasa doesn’t stand for admirable positions, it is that the people around him have promoted him for hollow reasons. This makes him, at this critical juncture in Sri Lankan politics, less relevant.