La démocratie raffermie

Les résultats de l’élection législative du 17 août 2015 confirment ceux de l’élection présidentielle de janvier 2015. Les candidats de l’United National Party (élargi sous le nom d’United National Front for Good Governance, UNFGG, à des membres de la société civile, à des dissidents du Sri Lanka Freedom Party et à une fraction du Jathika Hela Urumaya) remportent la majorité des sièges dans 11 districts sur 22, les plus urbanisés, les plus jeunes et les plus mêlés ethniquement, obtenant au total 93 sièges; cette coalition regroupe l’essentiel des forces qui avaient soutenu la candidature de Maithripala Sirisena, et avaient gouverné le pays depuis janvier sous la direction du leader de l’UNP, Ranil Wickremasinghe, sans avoir la majorité au Parlement. L’United People’s Freedom Alliance (dont la grande majorité des candidats appartiennent au Sri Lanka Freedom Party) conserve la majorité dans 8 districts cingalais du sud et du nord-ouest principalement ruraux, mais avec un score très inférieur à celui de 2010, et remporte 83 sièges; l’ancien président Mahinda Rajapaksa, battu en janvier, avait tenté de s’appuyer sur les candidats de ce parti qu’il avait sélectionnés en forçant la main de son successeur Maithripala Sirisena (théoriquement leader de ce même parti), afin de contraindre ce dernier à le nommer Premier Ministre au cas où l’UPFA l’aurait emporté. La Tamil National Alliance remporte les élections dans les trois districts à majorité tamoule du nord et de l’est, avec 14 sièges. Le Janata Vimukthi Peramuna n’obtient que 4 sièges, et les deux derniers sièges reviennent à un parti tamoul aligné sur l’UPFA (l’EPDP) et à un parti musulman, le Sri Lanka Muslim Congress.

Le système électoral complexe combine l’élection à la proportionnelle dans le cadre de 22 districts électoraux de 196 députés sur des listes établies par chaque parti mais où les électeurs peuvent exprimer un vote préférentiel permettant d’établir un ordre de classement et donc d’éliminer ou de favoriser tel ou tel candidat de la liste. En outre, 29 députés sont désignés sur une liste nationale en proportion des voix obtenues à l’échelle nationale par chacun des partis dans l’ensemble du pays: l’UNP gagne 13 sièges nationaux, l’UPFA 12, le JVP et la TNA 2 chacun. Ranil Wickremasinghe devra donc obtenir l’appui ou la neutralité du JVP, du SLMC et/ou de la TNA pour constituer un cabinet sûr de la majorité absolue au Parlement, ce qui ne devrait pas poser de problème dans l’immédiat, et ce qui par ailleurs fait obstacle à une dérive anti-démocratique.

Ces élections confirment la maturité démocratique du corps électoral sri lankais. Le taux de participation moyen est de l’ordre de 75%, un peu inférieur à celui des présidentielles, mais bien supérieur à celui de beaucoup de démocraties occidentales: les seuls districts ayant un taux inférieur à 70% sont ceux de Jaffna (55%), d’où beaucoup d’électeurs potentiels ont émigré, et de Hambantota (64%), le district d’origine de Mahinda Rajapaksa, qui l’avait déserté pour se présenter à Kurunegala et laisser sa place à son fils, son frère et sa nièce… Ce sont les élections les plus pacifiques et les plus régulières qu’ait connu le pays depuis le début des années 1960. Après le cycle de violence amorcé dans les années 1970 avec les révoltes du JVP cingalais et leur répression en 1971 et 1989, après la montée en puissance des Tigres de l’Eelam Tamoul, la guerre de près de trente ans qui en est résulté, et leur écrasement sanglant par l’armée gouvernementale en 2009, et après la dérive démagogique et les atteintes aux droits de l’homme sous les deux présidences successives de Mahinda Rajapaksa (2005-2015), il semble que la démocratie soit à présent raffermie dans un pays dont la jeunesse a décidé de tourner la page et de dépasser les années d’épreuves et de mauvaise gouvernance qui avaient fait de Sri Lanka l’homme malade de l’Asie du Sud. Le printemps sri lankais a porté ses fruits. Il restera de lourdes tâches au gouvernement, celles de consolider la démocratisation des institutions et des pratiques politiques, et de mettre en place les outils d’une véritable réconciliation nationale entre la majorité cingalaise bouddhiste et les minorités linguistiques et religieuses. A cet égard, le ralliement de membres influents du clergé bouddhiste à des positions ouvertes est un signe encourageant.

Eric MEYER

Note: On trouvera sur le site adaderana.lk les résultats complets accompagnés d’une infographie de bonne qualité.

” Even God Cannot Save Tamils if People Vote for Diaspora Backed TNPF – ACTC “Cycle”” by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“The ACTC/TNPF is strongly backed and heavily influenced by LTTE and Pro-LTTE elements in the Global Tamil Diaspora.These tiger and pro-tiger elements are strongly opposed to the TNA and its current political approach of working towards an acceptable political settlement within a united but not necessarily unitary Sri Lanka. The overall objective of these elements is two – fold. Revive the LTTE in some form and engage in violence in Sri Lanka. Undermine the political process and disrupt all positive political engagement between Tamil representatives and the Governments in power in Colombo.”

“Comeback Hopes Dim for Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s Ex-President” by David Barstow

“It is very difficult to keep Rajapaksa out, I would think,” said Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, who runs an election monitoring group and a policy research organization in Sri Lanka. On the other hand, he noted, every recent poll shows Mr. Rajapaksa trailing, and there is “no demonstrable evidence of any kind of swing or shift to him.”

see: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/17/world/asia/comeback-hopes-dim-for-mahinda-rajapaksa-sri-lankas-ex-president.html

“Five Things to Know About Sri Lanka’s General Elections” by Nikhil Kumar

‘Minority votes are likely to go in favor of Sirisena’s supporters, while one recent CPA opinion poll showed that although Rajapaksa retained the backing of many Sinhalese Buddhists, with 36% favoring him as the next Prime Minister, a significant section of the majority community also supported his chief rival and Sirisena’s ally, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was backed by nearly 32%.’

http://time.com/…/five-things-sri-lanka-general-elections-…/

“China’s man-made island takes shape in Sri Lanka” by Channel NewsAsia

“The Ocean seafood restaurant at Colombo’s five-star The Kingsbury was once famous for its magnificent view of the Indian Ocean. Its open-air wooden terrace that runs along the hotel’s western façade used to be so close to the beautiful coastline that waves lapped the rocks, sending sprays of sea foam into the air. Not anymore”

see: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/china-s-man-made-island/2051350.html

“Sri Lankan ice-cream parlour gains fame after surviving brutal conflict” by Channel NewsAsia

After the end of decades of armed conflict, an ice-cream parlour in war-torn Jaffna has gained popularity among Sri Lankans, thanks to its persistence in remaining open despite the violence.

see: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/sri-lankan-ice-cream/2052282.html

“Former Tamil Tigers set to contest upcoming Sri Lankan election” by Channel NewsAsia

Sivanathan Navindra was once known as Venthan, a former bodyguard of the slain Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of the world’s deadliest terrorist organisation at the time, the Tamil Tigers.

When Sri Lanka goes to the polls on Aug 17, Mr Sivanathan will be a candidate, hoping to be elected as a member of parliament.

see: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/former-tamil-tigers-set/2045446.html

“Torture of Tamil detainees in Sri Lanka has continued, says charity” by Julian Borger

Sri Lankan security forces have continued to torture Tamil detainees even after the election of reformist president Maithripala Sirisena in January, according to a report.

The report, by the UK-based charity Freedom From Torture (FFT) and published on Thursday, comes just four days before critical parliamentary elections on 17 August. Sirisena, elected on a promise to lift government repression, is seeking to prevent a comeback by his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose government has been accused of systematic brutality against the country’s Tamils after the military rout of the Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009.

see: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/13/torture-tamil-detainees-sri-lanka-report-alleges

“Sri Lanka’s Minority Outreach Holds Risks Before Vote” by Uditha Jayasinghe

Sri Lanka’s government has been reaching out to the country’s influential Tamil diaspora with the aim of building minority support and boosting its international standing. But the contentious strategy holds risks for the government’s survival ahead of parliamentary elections next week.

see: http://www.wsj.com/articles/sri-lankas-minority-outreach-holds-risks-before-vote-1439436855

“Farming recovery in Sri Lanka’s ex-war zone exposes water woes” by Amantha Perera

Since Sri Lanka’s three-decade civil war ended in 2009, Nagarathnam Ganeshan has faced a major new uncertainty: how much water he will have to grow his crops.

see: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/12/us-sri-lanka-agriculture-water-idUSKCN0QH0BV20150812

“Sri Lanka Between Elections” by International Crisis Group

“A half year after Maithripala Sirisena’s stunning defeat of President Mahinda Raja­paksa raised hopes for democratic renaissance, the complexities of partisan politics, and Rajapaksa himself, have returned to centre stage. Sirisena’s initial months with a minority government led by the United National Party (UNP) have opened important political space: robust debate and criticism have replaced the fear under Rajapaksa, and important governance reforms have been made, but much remains undone. By initial steps on reconciliation, the government set a more accommodating tone on the legacy of the civil war and the ethnic conflict that drove it. But divisions within government and Sirisena’s failure to take control of his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) prevented deeper reform and allowed Rajapaksa and his supporters to mount a comeback. With Sirisena opposing Rajapaksa’s return, the 17 August parliamentary elections will test the continued appeal of the ex-president’s hardline Sinhala nationalism and give a chance for the fresh start that lasting solutions to the country’s social divisions require.

see: http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/south-asia/sri-lanka/272-sri-lanka-between-elections.aspx

“Kadir’s Daughter Launches His Biography Today On 10th Death Anniversary” by Colombo Telegraph

‘The Cake that was Baked at Home’ attempts to unveil lesser known aspects Kadirgamar’s life. Told through Ajita’s memories, stories and recollections by those who knew him, extracts of published media and tributes composed specifically for the book, she endeavours to shed light on facets of a brilliant and complex man. Kadirgamar spent the last ten years of his life in the harsh and sometimes unforgiving public spotlight, adored by some, declared a traitor by others, all the while knowing he was constantly being targeted by the LTTE.

The 440 page book is also the author’s personal journey of healing and discovery where she poses the question, ‘Do we ever really know a person, even one’s own parent?’ Ajita admits in the concluding chapter, ‘People will certainly ask what kind of a daughter I am, that I can be so critical and judgmental about this much loved and respected man. They will see me as tarnishing a hero’s image. Well, I’m the kind of daughter who tells it like it is, and more so with advancing age. The fact remains that his greatness came at a price. We paid the price. We paid the price for his single minded ambition, drive and brilliance that led him to the highest echelons of public office. We stood in the wings helplessly as, first a woman and then a whole nation hijacked him as their own.’

see: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/kadirs-daughter-launches-his-biography-today-on-10th-death-anniversary/

“How Should Sri Lanka Marginalise Ethnic Parties?” by Ameer Ali

Different ethnic members in the national party must also find accommodation in the cabinet. Such practices are not new to Sri Lankan politics. In fact, they were adopted under the Westminster model in the 1950s to 1970s. With the Gaullist model however, ethnic parties are having a field day. Religious leaders of the country, particularly the Mahanayakas, should bring pressure on the national parties to avoid pre-election pacts with parties like SLMC. Even if ethnic party candidates succeed in the election and enter the parliament let them sit in the opposition and warm up the seats. Their supporters will soon come to realise the futility of electing them and will switch their allegiance automatically to one of the major parties. An enlightened national party can make the ethnic parties redundant. That will be a healthy outcome to a plural democracy.

see: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/how-should-sri-lanka-marginalise-ethnic-parties/

“Canadian Tamil Congress Urges Tamils of North&East Sri Lanka to Give a Strong Mandate to the Tamil National Alliance”

(Text of a Press Statement Issued by the Canadian Tamil Congress on August 7th 2015)

The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) strongly urges Tamils and all citizens of Sri Lanka to exercise their right to vote at the upcoming Parliamentary elections.

The presidential election of January 8th, 2015 was a turning point in the recent political history of Sri Lanka. Voters turned up in large numbers and voted for change and a new beginning.

While Canada and other members of the international community acknowledged and welcomed these changes it is the duty of all responsible Sri Lankan citizens to ensure that these tenuous beginnings are consolidated without giving any chance for their reversal.

Although many issues of the Tamil people including land rights, political prisoners and disappearances were not addressed as expected, the election did bring about early signs of goodwill, as reflected in some actions that were taken by the current government. CTC believes that these positive developments, together with new-found political optimism, can be further strengthened after the August election.

The resolution of the Tamil problem will invariably involve meaningful negotiations between the Government of Sri Lanka, the elected representatives of the Tamil people, and other relevant stakeholders. In this context, Parliamentarians elected by the Tamil people will have a major role to play. One strong united voice speaking for Tamils will have a significant impact at these negotiations.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), under the responsible and experienced leadership of Mr. R. Sampanthan, has earned the recognition and respect of not only the Tamil people, but also other community representatives in Sri Lanka and international community members like Canada, USA and India. He has carefully and consistently articulated the concerns, grievances and aspirations of the Tamil people

CTC works closely with TNA, and our partnership has been crucial in some of the diplomatic achievements made in Canada as well as at the UNHRC in Geneva. TNA’s Secretary for Legal and Foreign Affairs, Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran’s advocacy skills, experience and expertise has been beneficial to both CTC and TNA when meeting various government officials in Canada, Geneva and other parts of the world.

CTC firmly believes that a strong mandate given to the TNA to represent Tamils in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka will strengthen our position during negotiations. Together with a victory for the progressive forces that advocate democracy and good governance in the South, the chances of achieving a negotiated political resolution, accountability and sustainable reconciliation in Sri Lanka will more likely become a reality.

source: http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/42527