“The election circus has come to town once more. This time, an election that should not have happened in the first place has been thrusted upon the people. In February this year, speaking at a meeting jointly organised by two Leftist parties in Jaffna, I said we should stop the Presidential Election of 2019 which was against the mandate given by the majority of the people in 2015 (this was one of the reforms over which there was an island-wide consensus in 2015).
I said stop, not boycott. Boycott is not an option for me as the country is continuing to pay the price of the LTTE’s call to the Tamils in the North and East to boycott the 2005 Presidential Election. I was a first-time voter in 2005 and had come to my hometown in Jaffna from the University of Peradeniya, where I was a first-year undergraduate, to cast my vote for Ranil Wickremesinghe as a way of showing my support to the peace talks that he had started with the LTTE. Like thousands of Northern Tamils, I did not cast my vote out of fear of the LTTE. What happened after the 2005 Presidential Election is now history.”
via: Sunday Observer
“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.”
The 2019 presidential election, rather predictably is shaping up politically, very similar to its precedent in 2015. On that occasion, the then ruling Rajapakses’ sought an unprecedented third term and was rebuffed at the polls. In 2019, the Rajapakses’ are essentially seeking a third term, with the personalities changed. The message though from the Rajapakse camp has not changed, only increased in intensity. The message that the Sinhala people are under threat both from within and without and require an authoritarian saviour.
Opposing this narrative, rather late in the day and through through no fault of his own, is Sajith Premadasa, the charismatic relatively young deputy leader of the UNP, whose political task and challenge is to recreate the politics of 2015 in 2019, with himself as a new standard-bearer and with a fresh political vision and message.
As many as 35 candidates are running for President in Sri Lanka’s November 16 election, but northern Tamils view it as a two-cornered fight between Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa. And they know who they don’t want in power.
via: The Hindu
Defeated in 2015 by a coalition led by Maithripala Sirisena, who promised to reform the economy and break with Sri Lanka’s history of human rights abuses, nepotism and corruption, the Rajapaksas are set to fight this election on the populist staples of security, ethnicity and religion. It is a vote that could profoundly shape the direction of Sri Lanka’s politics, as the clan works to establish an immovable political dynasty, threatening to unwind more than four years of democratic progress.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Even before the coordinated bombings that killed 250 people last month, Sri Lanka’s president and prime minister were in trouble — largely of their own making.
Now calls for President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to step aside when their terms are over, if not before, are mounting from opposition groups as well as from the ranks of their own parties.