New government must tread cautiously: Sri Lankan daily

Colombo, Aug 19 (IANS) The electorate has not given the winner a majority as they “realised that majorities make politicians lose their heads and get intoxicated with power”, said a Sri Lankan daily which cautioned the new government to “tread cautiously”.

An editorial “Happy Jumbos” in The Island on Wednesday said that the people have spoken and their message is loud and clear.

“They, however, haven’t given the winner a working majority. Perhaps, they have realised that majorities make politicians lose their heads and get intoxicated with power. The new government to be formed will have to be mindful of public opinion and tread cautiously if it is to avoid the fate of the UPFA (United People’s Freedom Alliance) administration which, having secured 144 seats in 2010, failed to manage its electoral gains and came crashing down,” it said.

The daily said that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has silenced his critics who, on numerous occasions, questioned his ability to steer the United National Party (UNP) to victory and went so far as to conspire to oust him.

“True, he failed to beat Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presidential race in 2005 and avoided the 2010 contest, not wanting to lose again. But, he has won against (former president Mahinda) Rajapaksa 10 years later. It is no mean achievement and let him be congratulated.”

The daily went on to say that the UNP has played its cards well since late last year against numerous odds.

“Its government succeeded in keeping itself afloat and granting some relief to the people. It tried to live up to their expectations. It failed to honour most of its promises, but it managed to convince the public that it was genuine in its efforts to make good those pledges.”

“The UNP government also made some blunders but the people voted for it in spite of them. Above all, it benefited immensely from the UPFA’s debilitating internal crisis.”

The daily said that the people gave a “mild knock to the UNP and a sobering slap to the UPFA on Monday. But, they dealt a knuckle sandwich to the Bodu Jana Peramuna (BJP), which is the political face of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS). It was simply routed!”

It asked the UNP-led new administration to learn lessons from its predecessors.

“The UPFA will have to brace itself for bitterly fought internal battles, legal wrangles and, more than anything else, a winter of despair. The UNP is faced with the uphill task of fulfilling its promises. People’s expectations are high and it will have to live up to them,” it added.

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