Given the deep connection between politics and Astrology in Sri Lanka many politicians are presumably visiting astrologers to find out –who would be the next prime minister.
Since introducing the executive presidency the post of prime minister has been reduced to a mere ceremonial figure, but still it’s an important post many politicians aspire for a varied number of reasons.
In the case of Mahinda Rajapaksha and R. Premadasa the post of prime minister was a opportunity to prepare themselves for the executive presidency while in the case of D. B Wijethunga,Sirimavo banadaranayaka (non executive Prime minister) Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka, and Current Prime minister D.M Jayaratna it was an position of prestige that signified the tail end of a long carrier in politics.
Ranil Wickramasinha is the Only Prime Minster who had real power to implement policy as prime minister parallel to a executive president , However Presidient Chandrika Bandaranayaka Kumaratunga did not take long to impress upon Wickramasinha the power of the executive presidency by taking back three important ministries while he was out of the country.
Although the post has little real power under an executive president the glitter of the Post is attracting many since current prime minister D. M Jayaratna has fallen ill. Since returning from the USA after having been treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore he has very rarely been seen in public.
It was rumored that he had refused to tender his resignation from the post of Prime minister although he still recovering.
Meanwhile several possible candidates have been emerging.
These candidates could be mainly classified in to three groups.
Firstly a member from the Rajapaksha family who will not be an obstacle to the appointment of Namal rajapaksha who is been groomed to take leadership may be appointed. Speaker Chamal Rajapaksha and Basil Rajapaksh are possible candidates.
Secondly a senior member from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) may put up a fight for the post. Secretary of the SLFP Maithripala Sirisena and leader of the House Nimal Siripala De Silva are front runners in this group. Although this may not be the most preferred choice for President Rajapaksha it remains a possibility depending on the political climate. In fact Mahinda Rajapaksha and R.Premadasa both were named at a point of time when they were not the top on the most preferred list of the leaders. While J R Jayawardana could have preferred Gamini Dissanayaka or lalith Athulathmudali. Kumaranatunga could have preferred her brother Anura Bandaranayaka. However, both leaders were more sensitive to the political climate rather than their personal preferences.
The third group is made of the compromise candidates, while any number of possible candidates could emerge within this group the key characteristic of these candidates is that they don’t significantly influence the power balance. Former Prime minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka been called back is a possibility. Given the strategic thinker Rajapaksha is, a little known candidate could be appointed.
The next Prime minister will not only be someone been appointed to a post of prestige but also it will signify the direction of leadership.
Given the popularity president Rajapaksha enjoys at the moment decision he makes is not going to be questioned by the mass but a wrong move may rock the boat of governance in the short time from within and in the long time it may be a costly mistake for the dynastic politics that is slowly and steadily taking shape.