New-Democratic Party (Sri Lanka)
The Central Committee of the New-Democratic Party unanimously resolved that the people should not vote for any candidate contesting the forthcoming Presidential Election but spoil their ballot papers, and thereby carry forward a mass movement of protest to reject and eliminate the dictatorial presidential system with executive powers; and by doing so the entire people, especially the Tamil, Muslim and Hill Country Tamil people, should express their disgust and opposition to the system of personal dictatorial presidential rule that has been in place for thirty-one years.
The Central Committee of the New-Democratic Party unanimously adopted the above resolution, after debating the stand of the Party on the Presidential Election. In a detailed statement on the above resolution, S.K. Senthivel, General Secretary of the Party, further added:
During the past 31 years the country and the people have at various levels have with pain and sorrow experienced economic crises, political repression, injustice and devastation. The presidential system with executive powers has been principal among factors that caused the three decades long chauvinist capitalist war and the struggles carried out among the Tamil people. The one who initiated the war was J.R. Jayawardane, the first executive president. Thirty years on, the one who celebrated victory after ending the war in a flood of Tamil blood is President Mahinda Rajapakse. At the same time, the one who carried forward the cruel war in the battlefield is Army General Sarath Fonseka.
President Rajapakse and General Fonseka jointly carried forward the final war. Although the two are today opposing each other in the Presidential Election, both are incapable of fulfilling the basic aspirations of the working people of the country and of the Tamil, Muslim and Hill Country Tamil people. Both uphold chauvinistic positions that are unwilling to find a sincere solution to the national question. For the people to choose one as the better candidate and vote for him will not only be a politically unwise act but also one amounting to their blighting themselves.
The New-Democratic Party poses the question to the Tamil, Muslim and Hill Country Tamil people as to how they could vote for either of these two main candidates contesting on behalf of two chauvinistic parties. To vote for the other parties will not only be meaningless but also deflect the opposition of the people to the executive presidential system and indirectly support the main candidates.
The statement further added that, if a joint candidate had been put up collectively by the Tamil, Muslim and Hill Country Tamil parties and the parties of the left against the candidates of the two chauvinistic capitalist parties and a situation created in which neither candidate secured 50% of the votes, it would have led to a constitutional crisis relating to the presidential system and forced a need to amend the constitution. Besides, it would have led to the building up of political awakening among the people and mass political power.
The minority nationality parties that are seeking to elect one of the main candidates with no consideration for the above prospect are committing an act of betrayal for the sake of securing their posts and positions and their pursuit of selfish parliamentary politics. This is a continuation of the past politics of ruling class dominance. In the 30-year war, around two hundred and fifty thousand Tamil people have been killed. Property worth tens of billions has been destroyed. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced, and in the end three hundred thousand people have ended up as refugees behind barbed wire fences. The sorrow of the destruction and despair of the final stages of the war have not gone away.
Under these conditions, how can people vote for the executive presidential system that is responsible for the cruel war and the problems of daily livelihood and the two candidates who caused the destruction? Likewise, the system of government that took the lives of nearly a hundred and fifty thousand Sinhalese people plunged in a pool of blood was exactly the same dictatorial presidential system. Hence, it is fantasy to expect that anyone coming to power will for the sake of election pledges willingly abandon this presidential system and its brutal powers to being democracy for the people.
Thus, there is an opportunity before the people to express their disgust and opposition to the presidential system and the main candidates; and the proper way to do it is to reject the electoral process by spoiling the ballot papers. The call of the New Democratic Party to the people is that they could through such rejection carry forward alternative politics by demonstrating their political strength and taking the path of mass struggle.