Lankan embassy keen to witness 'retail US politics'

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 07 January 2004, 18:05 GMT]
The Sri Lankan Embassy in US has expressed its interest in joining a diplomatic delegation to witness the New Hampshire presidential primary described as a "preeminent showcase of grass-roots politics and the biggest celebration of American democracy," reported Wednesday edition of Washington Post.

The delegation will attend political and polling briefings, campaign rallies, voter forums and local party gatherings across New Hampshire, "a high-speed introduction to retail presidential politics," said the paper.

"While serious and fundamental issues related to basic democratic principles and good governance are afflicting Sri Lanka politics, it is surprising Sri Lankan embassy staff are embarking on this exercise," commented a political analyst from Colombo.

Bitter personal rivalry often governs the conduct of politicians at the highest levels in Sri Lanka to the point where they ignore national interests for personal gains. Elections in Sri Lanka invariably involve bloodshed, and ruling parties regularly employ State's resources to its benefit. What is needed in Sri Lanka is a new generation of service oriented leaders that despises corruption, is willing to eliminate nepotism and work for peace, quipped the Colombo analyst.

The diplomatic delegation to New Hampshire is being organized by former US Ambassador George Bruno who also served as the co-chair of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign committee.

"In New Hampshire, the candidate has to attract voters one person at a time, in schools, in coffee shops, living rooms and kitchens...[It] is an opportunity for diplomats to meet presidential candidates up close, to mingle with their staff and take the measure of the candidates themselves, and convey to their governments not only what they have learned but how our democracy works," Bruno is quoted as saying according to the paper.

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