Mahinda Rajapaksa’s thumping victory in the Sri Lankan presidential elections proves that the people of the island state believe they should be led by an experienced political leader, not a self-centric, opportunistic ex-military general. Settling the internally displaced people who still live in government camps and providing an appropriate political solution to the Tamils are the two gigantic tasks before Mr. Rajapaksa. If he resolves the issues in a manner that satisfies all sections, he will be remembered as the real hero of Sri Lanka.
Mr. Rajapaksa’s victory is a positive vote for peace and development. Sarath Fonseka should accept the verdict gracefully. Mr. Rajapaksa should work towards making Sri Lanka the number-one tourist destination. He should also give the much-needed healing touch to all sections.
Mr. Rajapaksa, who delivered his country from the LTTE’s tyranny, deserved to win the election. Lasting peace can be achieved only through the political resolution of a problem that has been festering for three decades. For the first time since 1972, Sri Lanka has had a peacetime election. But this does not mean that the issues that pitted the minority against the majority and unleashed a civil war that lasted 25 years have disappeared.
Mr. Rajapaksa’s strategy to seek a fresh mandate two years before the expiry of his first term has paid off. With the clear-cut mandate that the Sri Lankans have given him, Mr. Rajapaksa must concentrate on the devolution of power through a sustainable political solution.
The results have shown that Gen. Fonseka is no Ulysses S. Grant or Dwight D. Eisenhower. He ended up as the poster boy of all those who had a single agenda — of opposing President Rajapaksa. The people of Sri Lanka should be happy that the winner has turned out to be a person with experience, plan and vision.