The origins of democracy go back many centuries. The UK was the first to be recognised as a democracy,
and it is maintained thus far. Some say that even today, democracy in the British Parliament is so
tolerant that it is a democracy that has gone beyond its limits. Other countries adopted it as a tool of
society. After democracy was adopted by Britain, especially after the Second World War, many countries
adopted ‘democracy’ to control their governments, especially those held by the colonies.
Democracy is not in the English vocabulary; hence, it is a word that seems to be adopted by the Greeks.
In Greek, Demos means people, and cracy means Law, rule or fairness. There are two main objectives
for democracy to take effect completely. In Sri Lanka, the Government and the opposition met with
democracy differently. The opposition always seems to grab power by hook or crook. In Sri Lanka, many
governments were made from coalitions and with other opposition party members against the
Government. This tendency is not very healthy towards democracy.
In the UK, democracy was initially known as the Magna Carta, reinforcing parliamentary democracy,
irrespective of the party in power. The opposition has a significant role in any government in the world.
It is obliged to support a nation in settling for the interest of its national issues or finding a close tab on
all activities. A typical example to quote would be cooperating with the Government and how the
Labour Party in the UK supported the war with the Falkland Islands. Whatever their policy differences
were, The Labour Party decided to support Margaret Thatcher’s Government on the Falklands Islands
war based on the national issue.
The opposition has a significant role in any government in the world. It is obliged to support a nation in
any government in settling for the interest of its national issues or finding a close tab on all activities.
Whatever their policy differences were, the Labour Party decided to support the Margaret Thatcher
government on the Falklands Island’s war based on the national issue.
Therefore, the opposition in Sri Lanka should always play a substantial national role while keeping a tab
on the nation’s Parliament. The people who are elected are the representatives or members of
Parliament! It is because there is always some form of a national issue- either the teachers’ pay or the
fertiliser issue! Or the territorial integrity, putting it separately.
Recently, the opposition Leader was criticised in the Parliament for excessive blabbering in the August
assembly as he kept on waffling excessively for questioning the speaker in the Parliament on relevant
and irrelevant questions.
How democracy works was illustrated as mentioned above (during the Falkland Islands War, where the
opposition Labour Party agreed to support the Government). When Sri Lanka was bankrupt, no one in
the opposition came forward despite many urges. Only Ranil Wickremasinghe accepted the challenge
and took responsibility over his shoulders. Indeed, the UNP (United National Party) did not win a single
seat in the last election. Still, Ranil Wickremesinghe took the plunge, took on bankrupt Sri Lanka
confidently, and negotiated with the IMF. That was his luck or because he had many friends
internationally. The people in Sri Lanka are very forgetful, and they quickly forget how they suffered
without gas; many were standing in mile-long queues to obtain fuel, and many accidents involving gas
explosions took place. Today, thanks to Ranil Wickremasinghe, we hear that the bankruptcy status in Sri
Lanka will be removed very shortly.
Responsibility of the opposition parties
It should be the responsibility of the opposition to look rather than examine the ministries and relevant
departments and to block any corruption issues in the Government; they should concentrate on national
issues that affect the country’s progress. In Sri Lanka, the opposition is responsible for maintaining the
cost of living in the country rather than constantly repeating Ranil Wickremesinghe’s appointment as
the President or the finance minister! The President has repeatedly urged the opposition to join him to
resolve the national issue. Still, none of the opposition, among the opposition parties have agreed so far.
It should always be examined how the JVP (Under a different name. Ranil Wickremesinghe became the
President and finance minister according to his luck and the Constitution of Sri Lanka. The opposition
opposite parties are hell-bent on how and engaged in organising how to come to power rather than
resolving the most significant problem Sri Lanka faces internationally.
According to the terms and conditions of the IMF, there is no doubt that taxation had to be increased
rapidly. Although the living index showed that it has come down to a single figure, when people go
marketing, consumer prices have skyrocketed. During negotiations, the government should have
pointed out to the IMF that more taxation means consumer prices will increase tremendously. From the
first of January 2024, the VAT is scheduled to increase by 18%, which means that the consumer will be
‘hit’ more and more.
It could be better that the first Finance Minister, Dr N.M. Perera’s calibre has yet to be found in the
Cabinet today. Today, the Parliament is criticised by the public because of the behaviour of some
Members of Parliament saying, “225 should be sent home”! We have seen on TV how the members of
Parliament behave. Some young children who came to see the parliamentary sessions were forcibly sent
out due to the government party members and the opposition having arguments, counterarguments,
and hot exchanges of words (both the Government and the opposition. The repulsive behaviour where
the speaker had to suspend sittings in the Parliament before adjourning the Parliament again.
The British Parliament had never heard of such repulsive behaviour and fisticuffs. Of course, there were
members of Parliament who cast aims in a jolly manner by using acceptable against their political
opponents to humiliate and to get the opponents but never endeavour to opt for filth, smuts
disparaging remarks or uncivilised remarks against them. The British Prime Minister Sir Winston
Churchill was challenged by Parliamentarian Lady Asther after the Second World War, quoting: “Mr Prime Minister, if you were my husband, I would have poisoned you.” Miss. Asther was always
opposed to Sir Winston Churchill’s debates. In return, Prime Minister Sir Winston got up from his seat
smiling and replied, “If you, my wife, I would have gladly drunk that poison – the astonishment of the
Just see the difference between Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom and the behaviour of
Parliamentarians – Worlds apart! The public thinks there are uncouth parliamentarians appointed to the
Parliament from both the Government and the opposition. Today’s paper on the front page (7 th )
reported, “Sajith and Mahinda lock horns over alleged Rs.10 billion misappropriation by Methmalie
Dissanayake. “The opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa and Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), MP
Mahidananda Aluthgamage locked horns on (6) when the latter claimed that an audit report uncovered
a misappropriation of Rs.10 billion during Premadasa’s tenure as the Minister of Housing and Cultural
Affairs. Aluthgamage alleged, “A sum of Rupees 10 billion has been misused from the Central Fund by
the Opposition Leader’s wife. The Minister of Cultural Affairs should state this matter. Later, Premadasa,
who was outraged by Aluthgamagage’s allegations, shot back, alleging that millions had been utilised
from the Central Cultural Fund in 2011 for a cycle race and at the swearing-in ceremony of the then
President. At this juncture, Aluthgamagage demanded Premadasa resign. Aluthgamage stepped into
the well of the Parliament and demanded that Premadasa resign immediately”.
The problem in present politics is that everyone in Sri Lanka intends to make politics an industry and
make money, not care about the country. It is such a shame!