“Rabidly anti-Tamil and Islamophobic Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a man accused of war crimes comes to power in Sri Lanka
’70-year-old former wartime defence secretary, the younger brother of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, has swept the poll with over 60% margins in most Sinhala majority districts while his 52-year-old rival Premadasa has performed well in the minority Tamil-dominated north and east provinces.
Premadasa has garnered over 80% of the vote in Tamil areas, reducing Rajapaksa to less than 5% in some areas in the north….According to observers, with pro-China Rajapaksa in the fray, India is keeping a close watch on the election results as its outcome will have a bearing on the country’s presence in the Indian Ocean region where Beijing is increasingly making its inroads.’
via: The Wire
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.
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.
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.