Mahinda Ranil Score Lines – Time Ripe for Ranil to Win? And is MS Making a Bid to Collect his Value?

Mahinda Ranil Score Lines – Time Ripe for Ranil to Win? And is MS Making a Bid to Collect his Value?

Presidential Elections           Ranil (latest first) WLLL      Mahinda LWWW

Parliamentary                       Ranil (latest first) LLWL       Mahinda WWLW

Is there momentum on one side, a trend depicting capacity to win? Clearly each election has unique features and is situated in a context where history has some influence.   The executive presidency seems to exert an influence on the parliamentary election, winner in the former wins the latter when the parliamentary election follows the presidential election. In 1994 and 2004 the parliamentary elections came before the presidential election. The party that won the former won the latter. Presidential elections were held in 1988 and parliamentary elections the following year, the same party won both elections.

Election 2010 2005 2004 2001 2000 1999 1994
Presidential January November December November
     Won UPFA UPFA PA PA
Parliamentary April April December October August
   Won UPFA UPFA UNP PA PA

If there is some deep structure in this trend the result of the 2015 parliamentary election should also give the winner of the presidential election a leg up on the parliamentary election as well. Meaning what? President Maithree is favored to lead a parliamentary group? Well his actions tend to support the view that he considers this advantage and sees its potential value. As in the labor theory of value? Well, kind of as return to capital.

Whatever led to his election, now MS is the president and there is a high value to that office and it can independently influence many events. Is MS unwittingly giving the impression that he is looking at collecting fair value? Is it unwittingly or quite directly done? Let the facts sway you if they can. What man is a man that leaves the table with a pile of value untouched? A pile that he helped generate, no less. MS on his own or at the suggestion of others might be collecting value to help reduce bargaining positions of others later. MS has upped the ante in this game, or so the facts suggest. He has become a player and he can collect big time depending on how he plays. He has played and has he collected so that he can continue to be a very strong player? Such a player has to have deep pockets or have a deep pocketed big daddy.   These games are those of season and the clever need to play only in the right season. MS may have seen such an opportunity. That he does not let it pass is a good sign, a sign that he aware of what creates value.

From each according to his ability to each according to his deeds, or needs?  Very Chinese all of this.

Ranil and Mahinda had one head to head presidential contest in 2005, Mahinda squeaked or roared by.

Ranil Nil Mahinda 1.

That is the score line as far as the highest office is concerned. Ranil- nil Mahinda 1. Does this matter at all in the perception of voters who will be electing their parliamentary representatives tomorrow? Does history matter?

Tomorrow Ranil and Mahinda don’t go head to head in the same way as in a presidential contest but they lead the election for their parties and electoral groups, they are the captains as if it were. But the candidates have to convince the voters on their own. But the team they belong to matters. The day of the independent candidate seems to have gone past us without stopping.

Ripening time or not, there are fruit that rot on the vine.

Ranil came within a whisker, a hair’s breadth of winning the presidency in 2005, 186,000 votes separated him from Mahinda. And after that he seemed to have no stomach to contest Mahinda for the Presidency.

The 2010 Presidential contest was not a head-to-head contest between the two. There was a common candidate in General (now Field Marshal) Fonseka but MR won, and it would have been a surprise had he lost. That Ranil did not contest in 2015 might be construed in a rosy light if we accord it a virtue of not endorsing, by indirect means, the attempted third term of MR. All very convoluted, the attempt to wrest virtue from seeming fear of a direct contest. Also to be considered is the result, no third term, if that was the target then it was achieved and Ranil was an important player in that effort. That makes it a score for Ranil even if we go to the extent of calling it an own goal.  In that case we have to take all three presidential elections, 2005, 2010 and 2015 as being MR Ranil contests by proxy or in direct form. Then the score for Mahinda is 2-1 not 1 nil? I think we can take that score line.

So, we have MR – 2 Ranil 1 in presidential contests.  In these three contests, the JVP and the JHU also played important roles and without them the wins may not have been possible for MR.

Ranil has contested in two presidential elections 1999 and 2005 and lost both times. Ranil nil – SLFP (and others) 2.   He has been behind the scenes in two more and won one and lost one. So his record for presidential contents can be read as Ranil 1- Opponents 3 in four presidential contests. In all four contests Mahinda was around, twice as a contestant and twice as an important party member.  Presidential elections Ranil 1- Opponents 3

Now comes MR-Ranil head to head contests in parliamentary elections. What is the score there? Well, except for 2010 when MR was the head of the SLFP and Ranil of the UNP, there were no head to head contests before. In 2010 the MR led SLFP won the parliamentary election. MR – 1 Ranil nil.   In the parliamentary election of 2004 the SLFP led group regained the parliament after losing it to the Ranil led UNP in 2001. This makes it 2-1 if we consider that Mahinda was in the SLFP on both occasions. In 2000 the SLFP led group won and Ranil led UNP lost. MR was in the SLFP but he did not lead the election campaigns of 2000 and 2001. So bringing in those contests might not be appropriate for this reckoning.   But let us continue.

We might consider the 2004 Parliamentary election a kind of Mahinda Ranil contest since the prospect of the two contesting the Presidential election in the next year was a distinct possibility at that time.     So we have two MR Ranil involved parliamentary contests and the score is then MR 2 Ranil nil. If we add the 2000 and 2001 parliamentary elections when Ranil led the UNP, Ranil is 1- 3.

Ranil won in the parliamentary election of 2001 despite having lost both the 1999 presidential election and the 2000 parliamentary election as head of the UNP. Yes, crossovers occurred and the Chandrika presidency was seemingly in turmoil in 2001, but Ranil captured the benefits of the situation and gave us the opportunity to see how the executive presidency functions when the parliament is led by another party. I guess we learnt lessons from it. For some it might have been never again.

In the four parliamentary election 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2010, Ranil was the leader of the UNP and his score is Ranil 1 Opponents 3. In two contests, 2004 and 2010 we might consider Mahinda and Ranil matching wits and Ranil is nil – MR 2.

What do we have now as far as parliamentary MR-Ranil contests, if we can consider them as such? Only two contests 2004 and 2010 may be counted and the score is MR 2 Ranil nil. The 2010 Parliamentary election was after the victory for MR in the presidential election earlier in 2010.

But when we take parliamentary elections from 2000-2010, four elections Ranil 1 opponents 3.

Now here we are, with Ranil relatively fresh after engineering a win of sorts in the presidential election. Does it mean that he can now take on Mahinda and beat him in the parliamentary election? Beating in this case means winning the majority in the parliament and forming a government.   Is Ranil at the top of his game? With the best chance to win and favorable resources and circumstances?

Are the forces aligned such that Ranil scores again this time? On the basis of facts, history and conjecture will the 2015 parliamentary election be the time of Ranil?

Winning is not written in the Stars nor in the past. It depends on actions taken and to be taken tomorrow by voters and what candidates and parties have done, expectations formed, promises made, and prospects of them being kept by those wo make them. There is the “it will rain” promise. My own impression is that #$%&! will win and form a government.

Let me put it this way. If on the 19th of August Ranil is not in a position to form a government the UNP should take a long hard look at itself and make some decisions about who should lead them. But that happening, I think, has a less than an even chance.

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