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Colombo University debunks ‘opinion poll’

Prof. Samantha Herath

Academics from the Journalism Unit of the Colombo University’s Arts Faculty have decried an opinion poll on who the next leader of the country should be in 2020, referring to it as baseless, false and fabricated.

Journalism Unit Coordinator, Prof. Samantha Herath in a strongly worded statement has denied the lead story which was published in the Mawbima newpaper’s Sunday publication. Prof. Herath has distanced the university from the said ‘opinion poll’ adding that the unit had no prior knowledge of such a survey being conducted and it is neither endorsed by them.

“No such opinion poll has been conducted by the unit,”Herath said.

“There are no researches or studies on who would make a suitable Presidential candidate or leader of the country in 2020.”

Prof. Herath added that neither the Arts Faulty nor the Colombo University or the Journalism Unit had been officially informed of such survey reportedly conducted by the Journalism Unit, as reported in the newspaper. “As a general practice, the relevant department or individuals should be alerted or informed when such surveys are carried out, which was not the case with this one.” Prof. Herath stressed that the particular news was baseless and the survey unsound.

A Sinhala weekend publication, Mawbima had published an article detailing an opinion poll reportedly conducted by the Journalism Unit of the Colombo University on the traits that would define the next leader of the country in 2020. In it, they have revealed that the next leader of the country would be an intellectual patriot and autocratic leader who could also govern with an iron fist.

Prof. Ajantha Hapuarachchi of the Journalism Unit along with her assistant were quoted in the newspaper as having interviewed 505 individuals over a period of three months for this poll.

Titled “Gauging the people’s verdict on who the next President should be in 2020” the interviewees were asked to choose between five candidates: Maithripala Sirisena, Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sajith Premadasa, Anura Kumara Dissanyake and GotabhayaRajapaksa.

Compiled through a quantative method, the research allegedly targeted interviewees between the ages of 18 to 75 representing various ethnicities, religious backgrounds and professional spheres. Out of the 505, 231 are women while 274 are men.

According to their responses, researchers had come to the conclusions that the 134 respondents believe that none of the present leaders should come into power again. They were also of the opinion that the they do not believe in the promises made by political party or leaders, and were of the opinion the none of them had the intention of governing the country. According to the statements made by the respondents, most of them were of the opinion that the country needed a patriotic, autocratic leader who can fearlessly govern with a military rule.