Mahinda’s going to win, it looks like comfortably. It wasn’t really a fair fight, but it was a good one. I think Fonseka is having a press con in an hour. So it’s another six years. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s not the start of anything new. We’ve got a strong king and a weak constitution. What I fear is that this challenge will make him more paranoid and mean, but we’ll see.
How Mahinda Won
Mahinda is a great politician and he did everything possible to win. This included violating many election laws and any sense of decency, but such be politics. He’s also a naturally good politician and this time he had the full force of the state behind him.
More importantly, he also ended an intractable civil war decisively, which even I commend him for. He’s a strong leader, stable, and not prone to crazy flame-outs. That said, he’s also very good at being bad and abusing power and his same knack for holding power weakens our institutions and, I think, our country. I don’t think he has any intention of following the Constitution, so we become a strong man democracy.
How Fonseka Lost
Starting in November Fonny didn’t have much chance to win, let alone register to vote. He had a new candidate burst in the polling, but people really didn’t know him that well. He’s not a natural campaigner and he had no particular party behind him. He had the support of the UNP and JVP, but those are both hobbled parties and without trust action is difficult.
He’s also a flawed human being of compromised character. He was basically placeholder for what people wanted, for me a basically UNP drafted manifesto. I still think it was a better choice because Mahinda was guaranteed dictatorial, but it was a risky one.
I think most people just chose the known devil.