Harim Peiris

Political and Reconciliation perspectives from Sri Lanka

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Archive for January 12th, 2010

Ranil’s formula for the General’s Success

Posted by harimpeiris on January 12, 2010

UNP and Opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe has long believed that winning a plurality of the Sinhala vote and a vast majority of the Tamil and Muslim vote will guarantee a presidential candidate victory at an election. He assiduously followed this strategy though out the early part of this decade and tested out his thesis at the presidential election of 2005. It almost worked but not quite. The fatal flaw in the theory, applicable at that time, was that the real arbiter of the Tamil vote was neither the TNA nor any other political party but the LTTE. Hence the Tamil vote in Jaffna and Colombo stayed away and Ranil narrowly lost to then Prime Minister Rajapakse, by a mere eighty odd thousand votes nationally. He barely crossed the fifty percent mark needed for an outright win, by about twenty five thousand votes or on average a thousand votes per district. Interestingly the Batticalao Tamils in 2005 defied both the LTTE’s boycott and the TMVP’s call to support Mahinda Rajapakse and voted overwhelmingly for Ranil Wickremesinghe.

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