Ranil at the UNP office on election day
If anyone should step down, it’s Ranil Wickremesinghe. This is the umpteenth loss he’s been in and he tossed the dude overboard as soon as it was over. Ranil said it was a free and fair election when A) it wasn’t, it was merely tolerable by execrable standards and B) Sarath was saying he didn’t agree with the results. From the body language at the conference table, Sarath was always leaning JVP, but perhaps that’s because they work harder and run an active opposition. I was in the UNP office and they have good machinery, but Ranil doesn’t work it. We saw during this election the positive changes a confident opposition can make simply by forcing the government to compete. But Ranil isn’t the leader for that. He’s just waiting for the stars to align in 2016.
It’s damn nonsense though. The country needs an opposition not as a placeholder between elections but as an active part of the government. Holding them to task, demanding certain things, forcing them to compete for the peoples affection. That results in better governance for everybody, from any party. Most of the intelligent people in the UNP have already crossed to the government and Ranil just holds sway over the loyal rump. And he’s sitting on it. I like the guy, respect him and think he’s really smart. But he’s also failed. I’m pretty smart but when I fail at stuff I try to step down and let someone else have a go. It’s nothing personal.
Sarath tried in this election, he put everything on the line and he never stopped fighting. If anybody failed it’s Ranil, and he should step down. Six more years of Mahinda is going to be annoying, but six more years of Ranil in opposition is way too much status quo for me. I’ve been saying this for years now, but this is one big test and he failed it. Not only was he unable to run, he was unwillingly to field a UNP candidate for the first time ever and the candidate he backed lost. I dunno, perhaps he wanted him to lose. Either way, he failed. More importantly, that candidate showed how little work Ranil had really been putting into the role of opposition leader.
For the good of the UNP, the country and himself, Ranil should go.