Sri Lanka parliament elected a ‘law and order’ president in Ranil: legislator


ECONOMYNEXT – Legislators who have faced violence at the hands of a section of the electorate amid currency depreciation and high inflation had elected Ranil Wickremesinghe to restore law and order, a Sri Lanka Podujana Party legislator said.

In July President Gotabaya Rjapaksa resigned amid intensified protests and battles with riot police and last week Ranil Wickremesinghe was elected by 134 members of the 225 member assembly. He was earlier appointed Prime Minister and Acting President by Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

In June dozens of houses of ruling Sr Lanka Podujana Party officials were torched after supporters of ex-Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa attacked un-armed protestors and one legislator was killed by a mob.

Wimalaweera Dissanayake, an SLPP member and one-time Minister of Wild Life said Wickremesinghe was voted in by legislators who feared for their life and property and some one who can restore order.

“That is one of the main reasons,” Dissanayake told reporters in Colombo. “Everywhere there is violence wrongdoing and cruelty (beeshanaya, krroorathwaya. dushtathwaya,).

“Then number one is security.”

“So there had to be someone who does not represent the protestors (aragala karuwan) who is strong.

He said many legislators saw the need who did not have the approval of the protestors (aragalakarwan ge anumathiya).

“I am not saying whether that is right or wrong. But that is the reality.”

Sri Lanka has seen large scale protests after the country’s central bank created the highest levels of inflation seen since the 1980s, when money was printed and the currency depreciated under basket band crawl (BBC) policy, triggering widespread strikes and social unrest.

Sri Lanka’s central bank has printed money and depreciated the currency for seven years in three currency crises in quick succession under ‘flexible inflation targeting’ from 131 to 360 to the US dollar with the biggest fall coming after March 2022.

Wickremesinghe, after he was appointed acting President claimed there were ‘fascists’ among protestors. His own residence which had a valuable library was torched hours after police attacked reporters covering protestors in a surprise move.

SLPP legislators have pointed fingers at the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and its breakaway and more hardline Frontline Socialist Party operatives for the violent acts of protestors in the same vein as the ‘fascist’ comment of Wickremesinghe.

The JVP and its DJV military wing led an armed uprising in 1987 after seven years of high inflation and currency depreciation.

Dissanayake said the media and some commentators have lent moral support to violence and lawyers and Western nations were not critical enough undermining the authority of the state.

‘Law and order’ and ‘discipline’ was also a plank of ousted President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

In sharp contrast to 19th century classical liberals who reduced punishment to fit the crime and established rule of law over law and order meted out punishment only after a court hearing, law and order rulers engage in harsh treatment of citizens using police power.

One of the first acts of President Ranil Wickremesinghe was to inspect police and troops guarding the parliament.

Wickremesinghe came under international fire after unarmed protestors were attacked by police and paramilitary units in a pre-dawn raid.

Sri Lanka is a European nation-state with a police and standing army set up by the British.

Unlike Kings, who only had a Royal Guard and peasant levies in times of war, European nation states have a standing army and are extremely difficult for the people to overthrow, political analysts say.

In Sri Lanka the urban intellectual elite is generally fascinated with fascism and violence of the state, law and order, worship of the state (statolatry) and jeer at liberal values and individual freedom.

A European nation-state operates primary with the police power.

“The state is, if properly administered, the foundation of society, of human coöperation and civilization,” explains economist and philosopher Ludwig von Mises.

“But it is a tool and a means only, not the ultimate goal. It is not God. It is simply compulsion and coercion; it is the police power.

“The state is a human institution, not a superhuman being. He who says “state” means coercion and compulsion. He who says: there should be a law concerning this matter, means: The armed men of the government should force people to do what they do not want to do, or not to do what they like.

He who says:This law should be better enforced, means: the police should force people to obey this law. He who says: The state is God, deifies arms and prisons. The worship of the state is the worship of force.

However analysts say a liberal order is difficult to maintain without sound money, a key plank of classical liberalism, if central banks print money and create monetary instability under the guise of flexible inflation targeting and flexible exchange rates.

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