Democracy must be seen to be exrcised
Daily Mirror Editorial
Dec 21, 2011

For a group demanding democracy within, the violent manner in which the verdict of a democratically held vote to the United National Party was opposed on Monday left much to be desired. The violence exercised by the group opposing the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe, no doubt left many a serious question on the minds of the Party supporters. It is possible that the average UNPER woke up to the immature trend likely to be exercised should the reformists succeed.

Whether one was a UNP supporter or otherwise, the indignity of conduct, undoubtedly encouraged by the political leaders of the reformists group, left those who witnessed the fiasco in disgust.

How can the reformists now stand before the Party and demand change towards democracy when they stand exposed of an agenda far removed from it? What rationale and explanation can they attribute to the shocking lack of discipline exercised in the premises of the Party headquarters Monday evening? How can any right-thinking voter be they UNP or otherwise condone such violence and total disregard for opposing views?

It is likely that the global trend towards people’s power as witnessed over the last few months contributed towards the unruly behaviour of the supporters of the UNP. Certainly, there is much to be said of the positive nature of such action as was exercised in the Arab nations etc. Yet, how are the parallels to be drawn between the UNP leadership and theirs, when the Wickremesinghe allowed and reigned over a democratically held secret ballot? To his credit he did not oppose the demands seeking a secret ballot and possible change at the helm of the Party.

Granted, there are many negative aspects to the manner in which Wickremesinghe has been seen to lead the Party with of late. The continuing trend of losses the Party has faced over past decade is certainly discouraging. There is much that demands change within the UNP if the Party is to regain the strength it did. Yet, these are all changes that must follow the very path that the reformist group calls for.

Democracy can not only be demanded on paper, but seen to be exercised if they are to be taken seriously. Change that opposes this process is neither long term nor can expect to enjoy the strength envisaged. The repercussions of forcibly obtained rights can be far more damaging to the Party than its stagnant popularity at present.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka