Any election held in a nation which is governed by a strong man who has been in power for years runs the risk of simply being some sort of illegal affirmation that he should remain in power. President Mahinda Rajapaksa had presided over a large segment of the nation’s civil war and was regarded as an architect of the final victory last year. However, he was challenged for the presidency by General Fonseka who actually was in charge of the military campaign and was also regarded as a key figure in the victory. Most polls suggested it would be a close race, but when the totals came in the president won easily. At his first media conference, the president was shocked by aggressive questioning not only about the election but the large number of people who are fleeing Sri Lanka for the safety of Australia.
“Am I in the dock” he responded. Of course, many in the media wondered why General Fonseka has been holed up in a hotel and has challenged the vote totals. Yes, Mr. President, you are in the dock until the election results are confirmed by independent sources.