The current parliamentary election presents a clear division between democratic forces and anti-democratic forces. A victory for democracy would offer a generational chance of resolving some of the fault lines in Sri Lankan society. The Rajapaksa regime won the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) but they used this victory to defeat the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Tamil people.
The Parliamentary election is getting closer. The submission of nominations has been completed. Voters look on with surprise at the antics of some candidates. Some people are confused due to views expressed through the media by the President. How does this situation affect the elections and the future of our country? Let us ask Mr. Tissa Jayatilaka, Executive Director of the US-SL Fulbright Educational Exchange Commission about his views.
As Sri Lanka prepares to go to the polls next week, the country’s controversial former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, is fighting a battle for his political life.
He has faced a dizzying reversal in his fortunes.
Sri Lanka’s former president Mahinda Rajapaksa has vowed to win an outright majority in parliamentary elections due on 17 August.
Mr Rajapaksa told BBC Sinhala he was confident of winning more than half the seats in parliament.
He is hoping to become prime minister, but the result is far from clear-cut.
A Rajapaksa win would mean an uneasy cohabitation with party rival Maithripala Sirisena, who beat him in presidential elections in January.
Their Sri Lanka Freedom Party remains divided over the two men – the president failed to stop his predecessor from standing as a party candidate in the polls.
“Sri Lanka’s former strongman leader on Tuesday blamed unnamed conspirators for carrying out anti-Muslim attacks during his tenure as he tries to woo estranged minority communities in his comeback bid in next month’s parliamentary elections.”
Sri Lanka’s main opposition party Tuesday scrapped a longstanding promise to give greater autonomy to minority Tamils, as it tries to win over hardline sections of the Sinhalese majority before a general election.
In its manifesto launched in Colombo, former strongman Mahinda Rajapakse’s United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) said it would refuse to grant more powers to a local council in the Tamils’ northern heartland if it won the August 17 election
For the ex-president, the election battle “is a fight for political survival,” said Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, executive director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives in Colombo. “Rajapaksa Inc., the dynastic project, can’t stay out of power too long or it risks destruction.”
This is the backdrop on which we are going for the general election in August 2015. Again, I want to stress on the significance of the minor party politics in the parliament. Whenever, a major party secured undue power, they chose to do divisive and Nationalistic politics brewing a polarization between North and the South. The antidote seems to be a strong minor party block that appreciates the need for good governance, rule of law, democracy, and National reconciliation. Traditionally, minor conventional leftist parties and the Muslim Congress have settled down to conform with the ruling party in exchange of ministerial positions. Therefore, that block should come from minor parties that have traditionally stood by their principles. Due to this reason, I would dream of that block to come from TNA and JVP with a strong will to defend above National priorities and to hold the major parties accountable for it, so that they will do more of that politics to win over the vote base of minor parties than doing more of Nationalistic and divisive politics. Having said that, I would strongly urge JVP to abandon their traditional tactics of waiting till a disaster happens to make their point, and to be a more active driving force in the opposition with determination to engage positively.
The TNA calls upon the voters in the electoral districts of Jaffna, Vanni, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara to unitedly and overwhelmingly exercise their franchise in favour of the TNA, contesting under the name of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi and the “House” symbol and thereby democratically endorse, to the fullest degree, policies of the TNA enunciated here in regard to vital issues of fundamental concern to the Tamil and Tamil speaking Peoples as set out in this Manifesto.
This Manifesto is issued by the TNA comprising of ITAK, TELO, EPRLF and PLOTE.
On top of it all, a recent survey by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) found that 58 per cent of Lankans were satisfied with the Sirisena regime. However, Rajapaksa hopes that quarrels over plums of office among the UNFGG MPs will enable him to use his skills in horse-trading and capture power eventually.
The positive achievements of the regime change are quite significant, but paradoxically they remain mostly invisible and intangible. Key among them include making the state less and less repressive, removing the use of fear, terror, intimidation and corruption as instruments of governance, turning the regime behaviour moderate and less leader-centric, dismantling the political culture of the personality cult, demilitarisation of politics and public space, the re-opening of the space for critique and dissent, and the removal of the fear among ethnic and religious minorities of organised violence. These indeed are no mean achievements gained within a space of days and weeks of the regime change. All these are negative achievements in the sense that they are outcome of the government refraining from doing certain things. But they constituted a fundamental alteration of the pattern of regime behaviour evolved during the past so many years.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday criticized a comeback bid by Mahinda Rajapaksa, the rival he beat in elections last January, and his own allies for backing him to become prime minister.
Sri Lanka’s president dissolved parliament on Friday, a government spokesman said, in an effort to consolidate power and push through political reforms.
Two government officials told Reuters elections will be held to elect a new parliament on Aug. 17.
Sri Lanka’s proposed war crimes investigation has been delayed by several months until September as the government focuses on impending parliamentary elections, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said Wednesday.
Conscious of strong opposition to its earlier decision on retaining the size of Parliament at 225 as part of the proposed 20th Constitutional Amendment, the Sri Lankan Cabinet on Friday decided to increase the number of Members of Parliament to 237. Of this figure, 145 members will be elected through the system of First Past The Post (FPTP) whereas the remaining 92 will be under proportional representation (PR). Within the tally of 92, the component of district PR will have 55 members and the national list will have 37.