The SJB, and the JVP-led NPP yesterday staged a walkout in Parliament, which they will boycott for one week to pressure the government to sortout the economic crisis and grant relief to the public. Their right to protest cannot be questioned, but one questions their wisdom of cranking up pressure on the government in this manner. On the one hand, they call the government an abject failure, and on the other, they ask it to deliver! How could anyone with an iota of intelligence expect a failed government to reveal, within one week, how it proposes to resolve an economic crisis? Thus, the Opposition’s protest smacks of self-contradiction, and amounts to an exercise in futility.
Some Opposition parties are demanding that a snap election be held so that people could get rid of the failed leaders who have made a mess of the economy. But an election is the least desirable option at this juncture, for the country is not ready for an electoral contest.It will be impossible for political parties to conduct election campaigns amidst the prevailing fuel shortage. Some MPs cannot even attend Parliament for want of fuel, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena has said.
The country is facing a rupee crisis as well, and money is printed to pay the public sector salaries. A general election is believed to cost about Rs. 10 billion, and this time around more money will have to be spent, given the soaring prices of fuel, paper, etc. Most of all, even if an election is held immediately, by any chance, and a new government elected, the crisis will not go away anytime soon, and all political parties will have to make a concerted effort to find a solution.
Hence the need for them to join forces now to contain the economic crisis and prepare the ground for a general election, which can be held next year. The incumbent government has manifestly failed to prove that it is equal to the task of managing the present crisis. It is groping in the dark apparently in the hope that the crisis will resolve itself with the passage of time! The present Cabinet consists of a bunch of incompetent politicians who are also responsible for the failure of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government.
We have, as the Prime Minister, a person who could not even manage a crisis in his own party, the UNP, which suffered a debilitating split and an ignominious defeat at the last general election, as a result. The President has owned up to his blunders, which are legion. So,one cannot but agree with the Opposition that nothing is stupider than to expect the current administration full of failures to succeed in overcoming the economic crisis. Similarly, the Opposition is not full of mavens adept at crisis management and capable of delivering the people from suffering in case of being given a mandate to govern the country