Friday, November 25, 2005

Mahinda's first week in office

Well, he's been in office for a week and there are some ominous signs of things to come.

1. All roads to parliament seem to be closed, causing huge traffic jams. Spent an hour in one of them yesterday.
2. While wending my way in one of the jams encountered a convoy; motorcycle outriders, backup jeeps and a car in the middle thundering down on the wrong side of the road. Had to get onto the pavement to let the convoy through, was informed by one of the outriders (in sign language) as to the specific kind of oaf I was for peacefully sitting on my side of the road in a traffic jam.
3. The markets are jittery and driven by all manner of rumours, in the absence of a clear policy statement by the government. The stock market fell 10% in two days, the rupee is nudging 102.40 (its being held down by Central Bank intervention).
4. The Tigers seem to be intent on provoking the army, meanwhile the president calls for talks amongst parties in the south and of changing the facilitator.
5. Nobody seems to have a clear idea of what the government is upto, there seems to be no communication between government and the business community.
6. Parliamentary elections are rumoured to be held in March 2006.

All in all, the inexperience is beginning to show and there is a danger that things can spiral out of control, particularly on the war front.