Meanwhile, the pressures of big electoral victories are such that the new president and his family members, who will constitute the core of the new regime, might find it difficult to resist the temptation of giving into the wishes of their Sinhalese nationalist constituency. This is particularly so in view of the ethnic polarisation of the electoral verdict.
“The more visible euphoria that precedes the coming presidential election, is accompanied with a deeper, solemn realism that the country is unlikely to be better placed after a new president is in place. The most recent experience of the post-2015 presidential election, remains a hard lesson. Whoever the major political power blocks thrust into the highest seat, the promised golden era will continue to elude us.”
35 Member Second Chamber Proposed with 15 for Sinhalese, 15 for Tamils and Muslims and 5 for Others Like Veddahs, Malays, Burghers, Colombo Chetties etc” by Sumanasiri Liyanage
If opposition leaders are to live up to the hopes ignited by the Sirisena presidency, it is now crucial to prioritise a mode of governance marked by the new President’s stamp. The worst-case scenario is indeed a government in which President Sirisena will be relegated to passively adopting a Wickremesinghe or Bandaranaike agenda.
For many, myself included, it is difficult to imagine the Rajapaksas relinquishing office on the 9th of January consequent to a defeat at the polls. Therefore the genuine concern and speculation as to what could happen. I expect the use of the military to ensure a low turn -out in areas where there is a concentration of Tamil, Muslim and non- Sinhala Buddhist votes, especially in the North and East. We know what was done in the 2013 Northern Provincial Council election and in previous national elections. In particular, 2005.
“At present there is much drama regarding the cross overs from the ruling coalition to the opposition and vice versa on the political stage. On one hand these cross overs have generated much interest in the political campaign in general and anticipation about who would cross next kind of mentality on the other. Little we realise that these cross overs are happening within the same ‘political class’ which has been formed primarily during the post independence politics in the country-though some players have lineage to historical political figures who were active in politics during the pre 1948 period. One aspect of these cross overs relates to the concepts of positions (tanaturu) and privileges (vara prasada). These have to be examined in the country’s historical and sociological context for a better understanding.”
As Sri Lanka gears up for a presidential election five years after the end a long separatist rebellion, the country, especially the war-scarred North, faces a raft of unresolved chronic problems. Analysts regard many of them as long-term drivers of conflict.
The front-runners in the January poll are incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is seeking an unprecedented third term (thanks to a constitutional amendment passed by the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), and his former minister of health, Maithripala Sirisena. Both are southerners.
Neither candidate has released his campaign platform. In Sri Lanka’s former war zone in the North, there is widespread apprehension that post-war issues are unlikely to take top-billing.
Hard questions for the World Bank in Sri Lanka from Harsha de Silva MP. We have been told the World Bank wasn’t aware of key concerns enumerated in a report by Centre for Policy Alternatives around the social impact of the “beautification” of Colombo. This in turn begs the question as to why an institution that promotes good governance, in this instance unhesitatingly and directly supports practices and policies inimical to it.
“Finally, the word and expression `loving the motherland’ has been used to benefit the Rajapakse clan and people like the Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. It is a ‘Veil of Patriotism’ which hides the nakedness of their corruption. We are not bound to protect the rulers and the stooges who are dragging our motherland into disrespect internationally by their own crooked political vision. We have every right to speak about violent and corrupt practices of rulers that violate international human rights standards and norms every state as a member of United Nations have agreed to uphold.”