As I (smugly) pointed out on Twitter, I identified the contours of this campaign earlier this year.
This works well for the GR for President / MR (or proxy) for PM campaigns. Elect a no-nonsense technocrat who isn’t a professional politician & then allow him to appoint the best PM to compliment him. Widely attractive after the dysfunctional Pres-PM relationship we have now
— Rajit Hewagama (@rajit_h) March 26, 2018
With one exception, applying the model to the campaign shows that it meets the criteria needed for success.
|Zeitgeist||Yes||There is a sense of disillusionment with career politicians and a desire for an "outsider".|
|Ideology||Yes||As outlined in my tweets, an efficient technocrat is very appealing, as is non-ethnic nationalism. The specifics of policy beyond do-things-better & use-more-tech aren't fleshed out but are unimportant.|
|Personal Branding||Yes-No||See my comments below.|
|Bypassing Gatekeepers||Yes||There are no internal barriers to GR as long as his brother supports his campaign. For broader campaigning, digital platforms already enjoy high penetration and will continue to grow.|
While he has tremendous name recognition and a reputation for efficiency, due to his association with extreme Sinhala nationalism and his role as Defence Secretary personal branding is an issue for GR. I suspect this may not be a disincentive to the majority of undecided and floating voters in the south of Sri Lanka. However, ethnic minorities (primarily Hindu Tamils and Muslims) make-up approximately 22% of the total votes. Despite his appeals to an inclusive economic nationalism, they may take a far more sceptical attitude to him.