Monday, May. 02, 1960

Crisis of the Weeping Widow

Nearly all responsible Ceylonese devoutly hoped that the United National Party of jowly Dudley Shelton Senanayake, 47, would win a decisive victory in the March election. After 3½ years of indecision, corruption and leftward drift under the Sri Lanka Freedom Party of assassinated Prime Minister Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike, Ceylon badly needed a firm and honest hand on the tiller. But tardily proclaiming itself opposed to Communist influence, the Sri Lanka Party paraded Bandaranaike's weeping widow all over Ceylon, garnered enough sympathy to split the conservative vote, almost match (50 to 46) the U.N.P. in total seats.

Appointed Prime Minister, Senanayake angled patiently for enough votes to give him a clear anti-Communist majority. But the Bandaranaike party refused to support him, and he himself would have no truck with the Trotskyite opposition. Last week, defeated on a technical vote of no confidence, Senanayake gave up, asked Ceylon's Governor General Sir Oliver Goonetilleke to dissolve Parliament and call new elections in July. By then, Senanayake hoped, Ceylon's voters would be less susceptible to an overwrought widow's overworked tears, return the U.N.P. with a workable majority.