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 Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has confirmed his presence for the occasion. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, Indonesia’s Ambassador to India, Sidharto R.Suryodipuro, reminded Nilova Roy Chaudhury that the first Chief Guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations, in 1950, w
 
read-more
The words of Ho Chi Minh  “Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty” rang true for the people of the erstwhile East Pakistan when, with increasing brutality, the West Pakistani oppression spread across the land, writes Anwar A Khan from Dhaka
 
read-more
In a significant boost to New Delhi's Act East Policy, India and Japan set up the Act East Forum on Tuesday as agreed during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to India this year for the annual bilateral meeting that would help to focus and catalyse development in India's Northeast.
 
read-more
  United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated on Friday Washington's warning that “all options are on the table” to meet North Korea's nuclear threat while offering to keep the lines of communication with Pyongyang open.
 
read-more
The 15th trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China concluded in New Delhi on Monday with many nuanced takeaways embedded in the joint statement of 46 paragraphs. Reiterating that the forum “is not directed against any other country”, the statement underlined the importance of the establishment o
 
read-more
The first thing that one sees when a flight approaches New Delhi is thick smog that envelopes the city and its lack of greenery.  In almost all other major cities of India lack of greenery is the most obvious sight that one sees when approaching it by air.
 
read-more

Pakistan has agreed to allow the rupee to depreciate after holding talks with the International Mone­tary Fund (IMF) on the country's economy.

 
read-more

Two major global changes in the past year; the ‘Brexit’ referendum and the advent of Donald Trump, writes Sandeep Kaur Bhatia

 
read-more

It is also imperative for India to explore other regions for markets. Its trade deficit with Latin America has been narrowing. Also, its trade with Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala has increased, ...

 
read-more
Column-image

Over the last 25 years, India's explosive economic growth has vaulted it into the ranks of the world's emerging major powers. Long plagued by endemic poverty, until the 1990s the Indian economy was also hamstrung by a burdensome regulat...

 
Column-image

Title: A Ticket to Syria; Author: Shirish Thorat; Publisher: Bloomsbury India: Pages: 254; Price: Rs 399

 
Column-image

Gorichen, a majestic peak in the Eastern Himalayas at an altitude of 22,500 feet, is the highest in Arunachal Pradesh. Beautiful to look at and providing a fantastic view from the top, it is extremely tough climb for mountaineers.

 
Column-image

It is often conjectured if the reason for long-standing conflicts and insurgencies, in the developing world, especially South Asia, is not only other powers fishing in troubled waters but also the keenness of arms industries, mostly Western, to...

 
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699