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Today the SLMC will probably cross to the government side, giving Mahinda more than a two thirds majority. This is the final crumbling of Ranil’s coalition which began in 2001, hastened in 2004 when he didn’t fight President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and now almost completed since he has not fought President Mahinda Rajapaksa. With the last two Presidents he’s tried to negotiate and they’ve simply picked his pockets of his MPs. Now the UNP’s fall is almost complete, but Ranil will probably stay there until there’s no party left. Today the greatest impediment to democracy is not Mahinda but Ranil. The MPs he’s lost over the years now comprise the better part of Mahinda’s government – G.L. Peiris, Bandula Gunawardena, Keheliya Rambukwella, S.B. Dissanayake, etc. Most party leaders would step down to prevent such an implosion, but Ranil hasn’t. So now it looks like Mahinda will get enough to change the Constitution entirely.
I supported Ranil in the 2005 election, but he didn’t run in 2010, so there isn’t really anything to support. I don’t see why a guy who won’t run for President still wants to retain control of the opposition though, in reality, he no longer has control. Some people really believe in the UNP or are simply to incompetent to cross, and that’s who’s left. Most of the bright lights have left the UNP and now it looks like Rauf Hakeem and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress are on the way out. In past weeks two Tamil MPs cross, but Ranil has continued to negotiate and meet with Mahinda as if he has a say in Constitutional changes. Mahinda was simply buying time to poach the other MPs he needed.
This is truly a sad and pathetic state of affairs because even if Ranil steps down now, the party is still much, much weaker than if he had stepped down at opportune moments in 2004 or even last year. As it stands, the cross of the Muslim party will give Mahinda Rajapaksa the support he needs to keep Sarath Fonseka in jail and to push through whatever constitutional changes he wants. More than anyone else, this is Ranil Wickremesinghe’s fault, as the UNP has slowly bled to death under his tenure.