Rajapaksa is Sri Lankan of the Year
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Rajapaksa is Sri Lankan of the Year

Rajapaksa gets about 80% of the votes from readers of the state-owned Daily News, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Jan 01, 2007 17:30 IST
PK Balachandran
PK Balachandran

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been voted "Sri Lankan of the Year" by the readers of the state-owned Daily News, the most widely circulated English language paper in the island country.

A report on this published on New Year's Day, did not give any figures, but insiders told Hindustan Times that Rajapaksa got about 80% of the votes sent by post, e-mail and fax byreaders of both the print and the web editions.

Political observers wonder if this will enthuse Rajapaksa to order a snap parliamentary election, a possibility which is already being written about in the press despite denials by government ministers.

The president, directly elected by the people, is an unassailable position, but his party is in a precarious position in the 225 member parliament, having to cater to the whims and fancies of a conglomerate of alliancepartners, especially the Marxist and radical Sinhala Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP).

The leader of the Opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe, was the runner up in the poll. But he bagged only 20% of the nominations.

Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga ,who ruled the country for 11 years till December 2005, was nowhere in the picture.

Members of the council of ministers were conspicuous by their absence. And of great sociological significance was the fact that very few women were deemed fit for the accolade, despite the fact that women are the majority in the Sri Lankan population and enjoy greater freedom than their counterparts in other South Asian countries.

If the poll is to be believed, cricketing legend Sanath Jayasuriya counts for little. Indeed he is among the "Top Ten", but then the term "Top Ten" is quite meaningless in this manifestly one-sided contest.

The poll had no official list of candidates. The reader could nominate whoever he or she fancied.

First Published: Jan 01, 2007 17:30 IST