Yesterday it was announced that a coalition was in the offing- between General Sarath Fonseka’s Democratic National Alliance (DNA) and the UNP led United National Front (UNF).
This was following the call from some parties to have a broader alliance, for greater impact. Hardly rocket science- the UPFA already has a near two-thirds majority in Parliament. As such, the Opposition is forced to voice grievances in Parliament which are quickly drowned by the outraged shouts (and sometimes insults) on the Government side. In terms of power, the Opposition’s got the thin end of the wedge.
The main cry for many is the need for a strong, vibrant Opposition- one which is able to provide some sort of check and balance to the Government. The fact is, right now that doesn’t seem to exist.
The main Opposition party, the UNP, has come under fire of late, with several consecutive losses under their belts. What’s more, the party has turned inward on itself, with petty infighting and finger pointing. What’s more, Opposition Leader Wickremesinghe is working with the President to implement constitutional reforms. While there’s nothing wrong with having a different point of view when discussing reform, Wickremesinghe doesn’t have the political clout to stand up to the President. It looks like the Opposition is opposition in name only.
In that sense, joining with Fonseka seems like a good idea, in theory. Then again, there’s that sense of deja vu. The last time Fonseka decided to work with the UNP, it didn’t exactly end well. Fonseka has publicly said he thinks the UNP could have done more to help him once he was incarcarated. Besides that, the merge didn’t yield the fruitful results expected- the common candidate Fonseka polled even fewer votes than Wickremesinghe had previously.
So while it might make sense to join forces, the Opposition needs to put aside their political and personal differences if they want to make any sort of impact. That means no more personality clashes, contradictory statements or subtle digs.
Possible? Yes. Probable? Maybe not.