Congratulations, and welcome to Maithripala Sirisena. He has quite a mandate and quite a job ahead of him. I voted for him and within 100 days I expect him to build the political and legislative infrastructure to carry this country into the next 100 years. I also hope he understands what he has won. He himself proposed a fixed four year term and I hope he knows that Temple Trees has had a new door installed.
But for now, honestly, he should just enjoy it. The next 100 days are going to be hard, but he’s done the impossible. He has won an opposition race for President. This has never happened in Sri Lanka. Every President has either died or run into term limits. The whole state is in an incumbent’s favor during an election, and Maithripala still pulled it out. Also props to Ranil Wickremesinghe of the UNP, who I still don’t love but who definitely Frank Underwooded this whole thing (in a far less dodgy way). But now to business.
Here is what I signed up for over the next few weeks. This is copied directly from his 100 Day Work Programme:
- 10th (Saturday) – The new President, Maithripala Sirisena, will take his oath of office.
- 11th (Sunday) – A cabinet of not more than 25 members, including members of all political parties represented in Parliament, will be appointed with Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister.
- 19th (Monday) – Parliament will meet
- 20th (Tuesday) – The Standing Orders will be amended and, in terms of Proposal 67/10 now tabled in Parliament, Oversight Committees will be established and their Chairmanship will be given to representatives of all Ministers in consultation with the leaders of all parties represented in Parliament.
- 21st (Wednesday) – The process will begin of abolishing the authoritarian executive Presidential system and replacing it with an executive of a Cabinet of Ministers responsible to Parliament, and of repealing the 18th Amendment to the Constitution with legislation to establish strengthened and independent institutions, including a Judicial Services Commission, a Police Commission, a Public Service Commission, an Elections Commission, a Commission against Bribery and Corruption and a Human Rights Commission. This will be through a 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which will be presented to Parliament and passed as swiftly as possible.
So, he’s got a lot of work ahead of him. I actually think 100 days is a feasible time frame, but only in the sense that he simply doesn’t have enough political capital to drag his feet. He has to move these Parliamentarians now (not guaranteed) while the people are activated and watching. His achcharu coalition will not hold together unless it keeps forward momentum. He must keep going and he must go fast.
I think he can do it, mainly because we can do it. The Sri Lankan people have voted quite clearly for good governance and we damn well better get it. So welcome Mr. Sirisena. You have my support, you have support from within every political party and you have a mandate from the people. Let’s do this.