Photo by Perambara*
Since the election’s been called, IDPs have been given (limited) freedom of movement, general travel in Sri Lanka has been eased, etc. You can’t correlate this to one factor, but there has been a lot of movement since elections were called. The plus of Sarath entering is that a lot of that movement has been towards the center.
At the end of the war Mahinda said there were no minorities, only those who love the country and those who don’t. With General Sarath Fonseka running against Mahinda that narrative is suddenly blunted. Sarath is many things, but no one doubts his love for the country (in that nationalistic sense).
Polls I’ve heard about indicate that it is close in the south. I don’t know. But assuming that Sarath does split or even splinter the Sinhala vote, the non-existent minorities suddenly become more important. How do the new voters vote, how do the IDPs? Seeing as both candidates have pretty similar credentials among the Sinhala edge, they’re now moving towards the center for votes. In the end, I think, this competition is good for all of us.
*SRI LANKA, Colombo, November 29 – Former Army Commander and the subsequent Chief of Defence Staff Lt Gen Saratth Fonseka today announced that he would be challenging President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the January 26, 2010 Presidential election. “Can I win? Yes, I can,” Fonseka told a media conference attended by over 100 media personnel. (Amantha Perera/Perambara)