FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Emmanuel Macron: Why Sri Lanka and South Asia canít do a France
Posted:May 8, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
The French say they love revolutions. Yesterday they usurped one, electing 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron as the new President of the Fifth republic. Mr Macron’s victory – he won two-thirds of the popular votes in the second round against his far-right rival Marine Le Pen -- represents the most formidable response to xenophobic populist nationalism that led to Brexit and propelled those like Donald Trump to power.    
 
 There are signs however, earlier in the Netherlands, and now in France that far right nationalism in Europe is finally receding, before it reaches the developing world. That may be a blessing since the ideological battles could easily degenerate into outright violence in this part of the world. Mr Macron’s victory is consequent for regenerative properties of democracy that it manifested after the old order of politics was de-legitimized. Mr Macron, the former economic minister of the socialist government of president Hollande ran as an outsider, having built his own movement, En Marche, barely a year ago. The candidates of two mainstream parties, Francois Fillion of the Republican Party and Benoit Hamon, a former back-bencher of the Socialist Party were wiped out in the first round. Mr. Hamon came in a dismal fifth, polling only six per cent of the votes.    
 
After a divisive campaign that pitted Mr. Marcon’s centrist, pro-EU, globalist credentials against Ms Le Pen’s economic protectionism and anti-immigrant xenophobia, Macron, who was virtually unheard three years back, romped home; his win hailed as a victory of liberal democracy against xenophobic nationalism.    Dysfunction in political institutions is not a problem unique to countries like ours. France was mired in its political paralysis and domestic discontent in recent times just like Britain had been in the 70s. The general tendency in the face of those crippling domestic paralysis is to seek simple solutions, thereby dragging the political discourse to the further extreme. Which is what is happening in Donald Trump’s America, Erdogan’s Turkey and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, the latter was vaporized in the British local government elections held last week. Practical and effective solutions to intricate solutions need greater soul-searching and a more dispassionate approach and above all political institutions that are inclusive and a political culture that favour common sense over rabble rousing.    
 
France may have pulled off the miracle by virtue of certain inherent attributes of its political culture. For instance, Mr. Macron now says his new party will field 50 per cent of its candidates for the forthcoming parliamentary election from political outsiders; from the civil society, student activists, professionals, etc. If that is ever tried in Sri Lanka, most of them are likely to lose their deposit, let alone winning. That tells a lot about the different level of maturities of political cultures.     Our political system suffers from a far worse level of political dysfunction, however its ability to evolve solutions to those defects are seriously compromised by the nature of our political institutions and political culture. 
 
Our politics is to a greater degree distorted by dynasticism, which erodes the promise of electoral democracy. (This is not limited to Sri Lanka; take for instance, India’s Congress Party and myriads of ruling parties at the State level where politics is a family affair). Residual effects of an earlier feudal culture which had not been fully evaporated by the time when the universal suffrage was introduced continue to influence the voting patterns of the Sri Lankan electorate. Thus the passing of mantle from father to son or husband to wife is all too common. Though appearing innocuous in the eyes of the naïve, such practices compromise the diversity of political representatives and shut the door on qualified contenders. In the absence of competitive selection criteria or primaries, a majority of those who would run for elections, carry very little useful talents to elected office. Politics in rural Sri Lanka has more resemblance to the Wel Vidange system in the past, than any competitive democratic system.   The effects of this deformity is multiplied by a second defect; the absence of inner-party democracy. Sri Lankan political parties are personal fiefs of their leaders. The worst of this aberration was seen during the Rajapaksa era when the SLFP was reduced to a rubber stamp of the Medamulane Carlton House. This level of unchallenged authority trickles down from the top to the provincial leadership. Thus every leader at each level is a demigod to his sycophant followers. 
 
Daily Mirror, May 9, 2017
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image A career diplomat, Chitranganee Wagiswara, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, is the first woman to be the island nation’s envoy to India. As Foreign Secretary, she was Sri Lanka’s top diplomat for 18 months before being posted to New Delhi.
 
read-more
India has accused the United Nations Security Council and the international community of tending to ignore the terrorists ravaging Afghanistan and their backers while these forces “have stood up against one of the biggest collective military efforts in the world.”
 
read-more
Close Canada-India collaboration in health and wellness is a journey that commenced in 2015 in Toronto, when the first major health summit was held, and ended in March 2017 in New Delhi.
 
read-more
With weird concoction like "Beer Yoga" getting popular as the next big international fitness craze, the ancient art of inner blossoming is seemingly going topsy-turvy. And as yoga hogs the limelight on its third International Day, the loud call for saving the spirit of the ancient and modern practice can't be swept under
 
read-more
The death of deputy superintendent Mohammed Ayub Pandith at the hands of a lynch mob highlights the dangers to the police in Kashmir today, whether from gun-wielding militants or locals disgruntled with the Indian State.
 
read-more
Sher Bahadur Deuba has been elected Prime Minister of Nepal at an especially fragile time in the life of the 11-year-old Himalayan republic.
 
read-more
The rapid rise of Mohammed bin Salman, from one among many princes in the al-Saud royal family to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia within a span of two years, is an unprecedented development in the history of the Kingdom.
 
read-more
A United States fighter downed a Syrian military aircraft for the first time when it bombed a Syrian rebel faction backed by Washington.
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: Reporting Pakistan; Author: Meena Menon; Publisher: Viking/Penguin Random House; Pages: 340; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

  A former Indian civil servant, who is currently a professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke University, US spent long periods in distant villages and city slums of India. The result? A scholarly book that presen...

 
Column-image

  Title: The Exile; Author:  Cathy Scott-Clark & Adrian Levy; Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; Pages: 640; Price: Rs 699

 
Column-image

Jim Corbett was a British-Indian hunter and tracker-turned-conservationist, author and naturalist; who started off as an officer in the British army and attained the rank of a colonel. Frequently called in to kill man-eating tigers or leopards,...

 
Column-image

Title: Bollywood Boom; Author: Roopa Swaminathan; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 221

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive