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Using the Political Disruption Model

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Rajit Hewagama

This event which provided the most detailed articulation to date of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s inevitable Presidential campaign also provides an opportunity to apply the political disruption model.

As I (smugly) pointed out on Twitter, I identified the contours of this campaign earlier this year.

With one exception, applying the model to the campaign shows that it meets the criteria needed for success.

 GR CampaignComments
ZeitgeistYesThere is a sense of disillusionment with career politicians and a desire for an "outsider".
IdeologyYesAs 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 BrandingYes-NoSee my comments below.
Bypassing GatekeepersYesThere 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.

About the author

Rajit Hewagama
Rajit Hewagama

A highly experienced digital strategist, with an extensive background in social media marketing and e-commerce and has served as an online communications strategist for national level political and cause-based
campaigns.

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