MS With MR At His Side Nowadays Calls On SLFP To Unite

President Maithripala Sirisena with his major adversary Mahinda Rajapaksa at his side today called for the Sri Lanka Freedom Party to unite.

Maithri Mahinda August 2, 2015He was speaking at a meeting held to celebrate the 64th Anniversary of the SLFP in Polonnaruwa these days.

Nonetheless a extended standing SLFP MP stated that it was the power struggle among both Sirisena and Rajapaksa which divided the SLFP into two factions.

Sirisena went on to say that the SLFP ought to face the next polls as a united force.

Nevertheless, Chandrika Kuratunga who Rajapaksa has described as his greatest enemy was not on stage in Polonnaruwa.

The new General Secretary of the SLFP Duminda Dissanayake in his address stated that Bandaranaike could not attend the occasion as she had gone abroad.

Nevertheless, Sirisena was wary adequate not to grant a speech to Rajapaksa.

Though Rajapaksa was seated next to Sirisena the two did not engage in considerably speak.

Also the division within the SLFP was significantly evident at the meeting with both Sirisena and Rajapaksa factions choosing to band with each other with colleagues from the exact same side.

Sirisena To Lead SLFP At Upcoming Regional Government Polls

President Maithripala Sirisena will have to lead the Sri Lanka Freedom Party&#8217s campaign at the forthcoming polls to elect members to the local authorities, expected to take spot at the finish of the year, a SLFP source told Colombo Telegraph.

Maithri newThe above improvement comes in the wake of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who led the UPFA campaign in a loosing battle against the UNP at the last general election deciding to hand over the reigns to Sirisena.

A supply close to Rajapaksa mentioned that he has already conveyed this decision to Sirisena. This comes in the backdrop of a number of moves initiated by Sirisena to consolidate his power inside the SLFP. However it is unclear which party Sirisena will lead, the SLFP or the coalition UPFA in which the SLFP is the key stakeholder. According to SLFP sources the party is most most likely to pull out of the UPFA shortly.

Already the SLFP is divided with a majority supporting the national government mooted by Wickremesinghe and Sirisena and other folks joining the remnants of the UPFA led by Wimal Weerawansa, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Udaya Gammanpila, Kumara Welgama and Dinesh Gunawardena.

This UPFA remnant group is planning to be the main opposition in the new parliament which will sit for the very first time tomorrow.

Also they are planning to propose Kumara Welgama, the Kalutara district parliamentarian as the opposition leader.

Earlier in the day the President had told some UPFA leaders that the opposition will be permitted to appoint its own leader in parliament. Earlier the SLFP CC decided that President as the head of the party could take a decision as to who will be the opposition leader.

Meanwhile UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella told media that the powers of appointing the opposition leader were vested with the speaker.

Also the TNA has thrown its hat in to the ring claiming that the opposition leaders post ought to be theirs for the taking as the SLFP already has signed a MoU with the UNP to set up a national government.

Rajapaksa has conveyed to the UPFA remnants that he will sit as a back bencher for a brief period and resign from politics afterwards. However, according to a supply close to the former President, Rajapaksa could stay in parliament and bide his time if the new national government does fail to click as a robust unit.

Prior to the common election President Sirisena mentioned that the Local Government polls will be held soon after the parliamentary polls.

The regional bodies whose terms have been lapsed are currently being administered by unique commissioners in accordance with the Local Authority Act.

The government in March extended the official term of 234 local government bodies, which was due to expire by the 31st of March, until the 15th of Might. The terms of other remaining LG institutes are to expire in October.

TNPF For ‘Two-Nations in 1 Country’: Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam

This statement is being released with the intension of clarifying the Tamil National People’s Front’s (TNPF) policies relating to what we take into account to be a resolution to the Tamil National Question and our position on accountability with regards to international human rights law and international humanitarian law violations that had been committed against the Tamil men and women.

Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam

Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam

As regards the answer to the Tamil National Query, the TNPF stands for a policy primarily based on the notion of ‘Two-Nations in 1 Country’ – namely that the Sri Lankan State (nation) comprises of the numerically bigger Sinhala nation and the numerically smaller Tamil nation and other Peoples &#8211 a model really well known to scholars and practitioners of pluri-national/ multi-national constitutional ordering across the world. Examples of a bi-national state (country) contain Canada, Belgium and Bosnia-Herzegovina. We reject the notion of a Sri Lankan nation-state (one particular nation-one nation) for the reason that the numerical strength of the Sinhala Buddhist people, getting a permanent majority, would make Sri Lanka in practical terms a Sinhala-Buddhist state (nation). Accordingly, we insist that the recognition of Tamil Nationhood, its right to self-determination and the recognition of the North-East of the island as its territorial unit – its conventional homeland – in line with the Thimpu Principles of 1985 is quintessential to any solution.

We accept that self-determination and nationhood require not be necessarily manifested through the institutional settings of a separate state (country) but that a multi national state (country) can also recognize the plurality of nations and the self-determination of its constituent units. We are hence committed to exploring a political solution within an united state (nation) regardless of the history of failed negotiations amongst the Tamils and successive Sri Lankan Governments. We have produced this quite clear in the celebration manifesto that was release for the purposes of contesting the 17 August 2015 Parliamentary Common Elections.

The TNPF is of the view that the “Two Nations in One Country” notion can be accommodated inside a federal structure. However the TNPF has regularly rejected a devolutionary path to federalism, which we believe is contradictory to the assertion of the correct of self-determination. The term devolution concedes the place of state energy/ sovereignty with the political entity in handle of the state / country (in this context the Sinhala Buddhist Nationalist order) and seeks mere devolution of energy not as a matter of right but as a goodwill gesture of the Sinhala-Buddhist Nation. Offered bitter experiences of solemn pacts being abrogated unilaterally by the Sinhala leaders and unfulfilled promises, we consider that this is the wrong way of approaching the Tamil National Query. Rather we stand for the ‘pooling of sovereignty’ of the constituent nations strategy to federalism, which will offer the essential legal safeguards against the therefore far experienced unilateralist majoritarian approach of the numerically bigger Sinhala Nation. This method believes that both the Sinhala and Tamil nations are sovereign in their personal right and pool their respective sovereignties to develop a new social contract producing a multi-national Sri Lankan state (nation). This would guarantee genuine collective equality amongst the constitutive nations of Sri Lanka.

The TNPF categorically rejects the Unitary State structure of the current Sri Lankan constitution and is of the firm position that no arrangement inside such a Unitary State structure can form the beginning point for any negotiations with regards to locating a resolution to the Tamil National Query. For these causes we reject the 13th Amendment and the Provincial council system as supplying the basis for a political answer.

The TNPF wishes to emphasize that we have in our manifesto made it quite clear that our reference to ‘Two Nations’ does not mean that we cast aside the rightful place of the Muslims and Up Nation Tamils in Sri Lanka. We have explicitly noted therein that we think that the Muslims and Up Nation Tamils have the appropriate to self-determination but as to regardless of whether they want to conduct their politics with the consciousness of such is up to them. We have pledged solidarity politics with them towards justice and collective equality for all constituent Peoples in Sri Lanka. We have also explicitly stated in our manifesto that we are prepared to function with progressive sections in the Sinhala Nation for genuine reformation and democratization of the Sri Lanka.

The TNPF has been fairly unequivocal in its demand for accountability and justice for crimes committed throughout the 30 year long war and just before. Provided that the Sri Lankan Army is noticed as protectors of the Sinhala Buddhist order and the Army and the Police are the main accused parties concerning the grave crimes, like the crime of Genocide, committed against the Tamil people, we are of the firm view that no internal / domestic mechanism or inquiry can result in genuine prosecutions against the Sri Lankan Army, Police and members of its political class. To hold an internal / domestic accountability process will be tantamount to “victor’s justice” and hence we insist on an international criminal justice procedure as portion of a wider programme for accountability, truth seeking and justice.

The TNPF has also warned the Tamils regularly about attempts to use the Tamil people’s struggle as leverage for geo-political contestations. We have argued that we are not against the national interests of any nation, but are opposed to Tamil national interests getting sacrificed by any global energy for the attainment of merely their ambitions and interests.

We urge and welcome our detractors to engage us with the issues that we stand for. Regardless of the electoral setbacks suffered by the TNPF, the celebration will remain committed to the Tamil Nation’s struggle for self-determination, justice and genuine democracy.

(Signed)
Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam
President, Tamil National People’s Front

29 August 2015.

Giving Priority To Regional Constructors

By Hema Senanayake &#8211

Hema Senanayake

Hema Senanayake

We have a corporate sector. And a couple of of corporate leaders not too long ago had spoken to Sri Lanka Everyday News about the new government. One of them created a comment and a request for which I paid a tiny much more attention. This report is about it. In truth the report is not about his certain comment or request, alternatively this article is about an economic principle on which the government ought to establish an critical national policy in regard to his request. I think his request merits in establishing such a national policy.

So, not too long ago, Dr. Rohan Karunaratne, President of Ceylon Institute of Builders had commented as follows

“… with the alter of presidency in January some of the on going improvement projects were halted due to different motives. “We hope that the government would look at to any irregularities if any and re-commence these projects as the market is facing issues due to this.” “We also request the new government that they give priority to regional constructors when awarding future projects” (Day-to-day News).

Construction is an essential sector in the economy. Even although I do not know the precise percentage of the contribution of this sector to GDP, I imagine the figure could be nicely more than 20%. Hence, this sector in the economy is so essential in creation of the nation’s wealth and a lot of direct and indirect employments. This sector will stay so in the next five years as well. Now, on behalf of the people who have direct business or employment interest in this sector, Dr. Karunaratne requests that, “the new government provides priority to neighborhood constructors when awarding future (improvement) projects.”

China Sri Lanka RanilIt seems his request is reasonable. His request seems far more suitable considering that the setting up of the giant “megapolis” project has been mentioned as the flagship development project in the UNP manifesto. Beneath the Megapolis project, it has been proposed to develop the region stretching from Negombo to Beruwela with the city of Colombo as the core. The Everyday News has reported that Megapolis plan will convert the hitherto unplanned Western Province into a main megapolis by 2030 with an estimated population of 8.four million. This indicates a lot of constructions will involve in this project itself.

The building of Mattala Airport was offered to Chinese firm. So was the building of Hambantota Harbor. A billion dollar project of Port City would be again awarded to a Chinese firm even under the government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The list of development projects which had currently been awarded in the past and which would be awarded in the future to foreign companies would be a lot longer. Why does any government do favor foreign development companies than neighborhood developers?

If we ignore all concerns about corruption and technical knowledge such as designing capabilities, engineering know-how and acquisition of crucial machineries and so on. the easy answer to the above mentioned query is the concern about Balance of Payment (BoP) in the country. I will clarify later as to how the issue of BoP requires in determining how a lot of development projects need to go to neighborhood constructors and how many projects be awarded to foreign firms. Before that, from the above answer we could make an additional easy conclusion in regard to the fundamental rule on creating a feasible national policy in awarding contracts. What is it?

It is that, we have to award all improvement projects to local constructors, if such awards shall not impact the country’s BoP circumstance badly. This is an critical rule. Also, this rule implies that, if any project is anticipated to change the BoP circumstance badly, then, nevertheless the local developer may possibly be capable to win the contract award if that firm could aid in stabilizing BoP. When these two fundamental concepts are incorporated into the national policy of awarding construction contracts, the local bidders recognize that they are partly obligated in stabilizing the country’s BoP, so that the bidders or their regional bankers can come up with a appropriate economic program which helps removing the unfavorable effects that can possibly happen if the project is totally funded with domestic funds/currency.

Some people think that there are no adequate funds in the domestic economic program in order to finance certain mega projects and as a outcome we need to offer you those projects to foreign firms. This notion is not accurate. The issue is not the insufficiency of funds instead the difficulty is about the stabilizing of BoP. Below the existing banking technique which is known as fractional reserve banking which we practice right now, we have literarily limitless quantity of funds but the limit is set by the BoP scenario.

When any nation increases consumption or investment or each, then, that mostly affects the country’s present account. If the country is operating a current account deficit currently which is the case for Sri Lanka, the deficit will enhance when the nation increases consumption and investment. This seems as bad. But if the damaging influence can be balanced out by the funds recorded in the country’s monetary account then the country’s BoP would be stabilized. That is why I talked about above that the limit of neighborhood funds has nothing at all to do with insufficiency rather the limit of nearby funds is determined by the BoP circumstance.

As a result, giving priority to regional constructors is not a basic selection. But it is also not a tough decision, if all stake holders get collectively to facilitate the approach. The crucial stake holders I have in my mind would be the Central Bank, the Treasury, the regional constructors/ tentative bidders and the local industrial banks. Under this approach, the bidders have to submit a economic strategy as well. That is precisely what the Chinese firms do in securing a improvement project. For instance, they submit the bid and Exim Bank of China submit the financial proposal.

Now, below the new method I talked about above, the constructor would submit the bid and their banker would submit as to how a lot they mobilize in neighborhood funds and how considerably they want in foreign funds so as to neutralize the effects of BoP in carrying out the project. Alternatively of paying to Exim Bank in China, now the government would pay to neighborhood bank which financed the project which is an further benefit.

Also, the above talked about policy setting will do yet another essential issue which is that the government will put much more projects in “investment mode” than “consumption mode.” These two “modes” relate to the fund flows in the economy. The government can employ a contractor to do a distinct project. When the project is completed the government would pay the contractor in full. Even though this kind of infrastructure or any other development project is referred to as as an “investment” by the government, in truth such projects should truly be defined as “consumption” when deemed the fund flows in the economy. When a bank finances the project, it will grow to be an investment. It may well be strange, but that is how it functions in the economy.

Given that the Ministry of Finance has now requested the public and private sector institutions and the common public to submit their proposals to be integrated in the proposed spending budget for the year 2016, I submit the above view. I want if the Ministry of Finance pay its due consideration on this matter.

Sri Lanka’s New Directions Soon after The Parliamentary Elections

By Siri Gamage &#8211

Dr. Siri Gamage

Dr. Siri Gamage

Sri Lanka’s New Directions soon after the Parliamentary Elections: National Demands vs. International Dimension

Leaving aside the ongoing horse-trading going on for positions in the new ministries, appointment of defeated candidates to the national list by the party secretaries, and the concept of national government mooted by both the UNP and the SLFP leadership, there is no doubt that the country will expertise a new path in political, economic, diplomatic and other arenas in the close to future. Political and civic forces that have been behind the adjust initiated on January 8th and strengthened with the outcomes of the parliamentary elections held this month –though at present are in a state of flux- are potent adequate to introduce and implement policies and applications that are different from those implemented by the previous regime led by former President Mahinda Rajapakse. We are however to get a really feel for these new policies and applications. It is early days. Nonetheless, it is achievable to imagine the nature of foreign policy to be adopted by the new government and some of the policies as properly as challenges facing the nation and the new government. Election manifesto of the UNFGG led by the UNP supplies some tips in this connection.

Questions can however be raised about the directions in financial policy to be adopted by the new government. Is it going to be complete-blown neoliberal, free-market place driven policies equivalent to the Open Economy policies adopted by JR since 1977? Or is it a mixture of a nationally focused policy with some encouragement offered to indigenous industries, producers, farmers and other entrepreneurs even though pandering to the multinational corporations from the US, Europe, Australia and the Asian area? Is it going to be a Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysian style economic improvement exactly where the regional and international capital run the show or is it going to be an economic policy oriented toward a far more sustainable development with a firm foot on the natural environment, regional culture, needs of the population at huge rather than the well-to-do segments of society- such as these with close hyperlinks to the Sri Lankan diaspora?

Maithri NishaWhen we look at the tourism sector for instance, several who operate in its five star establishments like resorts, hotels are just earning a ‘living wage only’ once they leave out their meals, transport, housing and other costs. They have a job but it doesn&#8217t give considerably surplus on a month-to-month basis when the costs are left out. The same could be stated about these working in factories set up in Cost-free Trade Zones and similar enterprises with foreign capital, ownership and know-how. Colombo and other cities in the country are currently becoming a also costly place for mum and dad visitors. Numerous hotels and resorts appear to be catering to higher-finish tourists with fat pockets. These places of entertainment, relaxation and are beyond the capacity of many Sri Lankans to afford. So are the higher-end shops that are selling designer products. If the needs of country’s population are at heart, the new government demands to develop policies and applications that can on a single hand give job opportunities for the young in various sectors where they can earn ‘a genuine wage’ to fulfil their life aspirations rather than a living wage alone. Similarly, it has to develop policies and programs to offer you products and services for these living in the rural sector, working class and middle class in a affordable expense-benefit framework. The balance of emphasis has to be turned up side down in some ways compared to the policies and applications of the prior regime, which created the basis for a ‘synthetic’ and ‘corrupt’ economy. Making conditions for ‘economic democracy’ is as critical for a small island nation like Sri Lanka for its extended-term vision and development.

Going back to the roots of Sri Lanka freedom Party’s economic policies, especially these implemented throughout early to mid 70s beneath Mrs. Sirima Bandaranaike, 1 could even speculate that there could be some emphasis on supporting nearby entrepreneurs, farmers, industrialists, pros and so forth. to develop their respective fields and compete in the globe and regional markets. This is where one particular can count on, rightly or wrongly, the new government to orient its financial policies in such a way that it provides priority to boost nearby meals production, manufacturing, service and other fields with an eye for the regional and international markets &#8211 instead of producing the nearby population just imitative customers of imported items and services. In the globalised planet where Sri Lankan diaspora is spread more than several countries, this challenge may be met with its cooperation and excellent will. Nevertheless, the competitors Sri Lanka faces from the nations in the area and elsewhere will be fierce. For that reason, while emphasising the national concentrate in economic field, it is also crucial for the newly elected PM, Parliamentarians, ministers, as properly as key bureaucrats and policy makers to recognize the existing state of play in the area in their respective fields of activity.

One consideration ought to be the improvement of high quality of life. This is where the notions of sustainable development, environmental protection, top quality education, well being and nutritional solutions, transport options, and import policy and so on. can be a catalyst. Taking for example the fume developed by diesel and petrol operated autos on the country’s roads, one particular can only hope for policies to lessen such damaging fumes. The congestion on roads contributes to ill health, as are imported products with artificial additives. Smoking, alcohol and drug consumption are other locations of concern. Commercialisation of the medical profession/sector with out promoting ‘services with a social conscience’ is consuming into the very fabric of society, specifically its vulnerable segments. These with cash and sources are capable to access private well being facilities but the vast majority rely on state sponsored overall health services. In this connection, current introduction of an ambulatory service in two districts with the help of Indian government need to have to be appreciated.

A society’s soul is measured by how its members take care of the sick, old, vulnerable and the weak. Charitable and voluntary organisations play a essential part in this regard by complementing services provided by the state. However, such organisations want the assistance of the state to some extent in financial terms also.

If the new directions adopted by the national government is just to cater to foreign interests in economic and other fields, Sri Lanka runs the threat of becoming a satellite state of regional and worldwide massive powers who have their own agendas. A policy re-think is also needed in almost in all fields at this juncture. This is since there could be policy conflicts among the two election manifestos of the two major political camps on 1 hand and policy vacuum in other locations. The new government has to hit the road operating and it does not have much time to waste ahead of getting to company of government. Although these in a variety of political camps are busy trying to sort out positions, responsibilities and privileges, the majority of folks yarn for some relief for day-to-day living on a single hand and a greater future on the other. It is for creating required situations for great governance as effectively as sensible financial and other policies that are nationally focused but regionally and internationally integrated that a great opposition is necessary in the national parliament. Policies of the new government need to be founded on an articulate social, financial and political philosophy also. But the attributes of such a philosophy are not frequently identified, particularly in the context of the national government getting mooted at present! The MOU signed in between the two major political camps does not supply enough information in terms of the general direction of the new government.

Second Victory Gives Exclusive Chance For Dilemma Solving 

By Jehan Perera &#8211

Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

At the presidential elections held in January this year Sri Lanka created its initial transition away from authoritarian rule in which ethnic nationalism was utilised to deliver repeated electoral mandates. The victory of the coalition of parties led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Common Elections on August 17 will guarantee that the alterations brought about at the presidential election will be sustained. The majority of Sri Lankan voters reaffirmed the option they had produced in January when they voted in President Maithripala Sirisena and rejected the siren get in touch with of narrow ethnic-based nationalism. The principal significance of the newest election verdict is that it paves the way for transition to take location in two essential aspects of governance. The very first is that will consolidate the modifications that have taken arbitrary power away from people and vested them alternatively in systems.

The question at the common election was regardless of whether the modify that had taken place soon after the January elections would be reversed. The sustainability of the reformist good governance method lies in the fact that virtually all the political parties have agreed that the systems of government need to be strengthened. The second crucial transition that the country has taken as a outcome of the general election is the shift away from the governance method of the UPFA period that saw the escalation of militarization in a state that suspected conspiracies against itself and the targeting of ethnic minorities as possible enemies of the state. There is now a want to journey towards a society that is truly multi-ethnic and multi-religious in its selection creating and its alternatives.

Maithripala SampanthanThe outcome of the common election guarantees that the procedure of transition will not be reversed any time soon. Even although the UPFA challenge to the new governing coalition was quite strong during the elections, now that the outcome is in, their challenge seems to have collapsed at least for the time being. Members of the defeated opposition are gravitating to the leadership of President Maitripala Sirisena who occupies the presidency of the SLFP as effectively as being chairman of the bigger UPFA coalition. Bereft of a well-known mandate, the twice defeated former president Mahinda Rajapaksa has small in tangible terms to supply to keep them loyal to him. It seems that a lot of in the opposition would be interested in joining the new consensus government to be formed by the signing of an MOU by the UNP and SLFP.

Consensus Exists 

The agreement signed by these two parties soon after the elections is to work with each other for two years on numerous identified locations of great governance. They incorporate addressing corruption concerns, taking the country on a quick track of economic development, safeguarding fundamental freedoms and protection of the rights of females and kids. The MOU reflects the consensus that exists in society with regards to excellent governance. This can pave the way for constitutional reform which will not be controversial, and which the new government can do with no facing opposition. There are numerous unfulfilled pledges in the government’s one hundred day programme that it can start off to implement. Chief amongst these would be establishing the bipartisan Constitutional Council with members drawn from each the government and opposition and also from civil society.

The importance of the Constitutional Council is that it is the body vested with the authority under the 19th Amendment to appoint the members of the different independent commissions, most notably those pertaining to the judiciary, police, public service, bribery and corruption commission, human rights commission and elections commission. These institutions of state are of the greatest value exactly where it concerns establishing a system of checks and balances in limiting the powers of the elected politicians. For the duration of the UPFA period many ruling politicians and their supporters ended up behaving with the impunity linked with royalty in the feudal ages. They could pillage, rape and even commit murder with no action becoming taken against them.

President Sirisena’s readiness at the beginning of his term of workplace to reduce his own powers in the national interest was an act of statesmanship that has handful of parallels in Sri Lanka, and even internationally. There is explanation to think that his continuing commitment to very good governance will make sure that a lot more structures for checks and balances will be in place quickly. These reforms would incorporate producing a renewed try to pass the 20th Amendment which is about getting smaller sized electorates a lot more accountable to voters, and passing the right to info law which would give the basic public access to governmental documents. The lack of transparency in the governmental program was brought to light for the duration of both the presidential and basic election campaigns, with revelations of enormous corruption in government contracts that took spot in the past with no any transparency at all.

Receding Force 

Another location of reform in the area of governance that will need to be tackled is that of inter-ethnic relations and the devolution of power. This was the essential theme in the election campaign of the Tamil parties in the North and East of the country. Though the winning party, the TNA, is regarded to be a moderate celebration on account of its willingness to engage in dialogue and trust-building with the government, it campaigned on a platform of greater autonomy and federalism for the North and East. In contrast to other concerns of governance, which relate to central government institutions, the problem of devolution of power is 1 on which there is much much less consensus in the nation. It is to be noted that those who got the largest numbers of votes in the defeated UPFA opposition have been these who took stands against the devolution of energy.

The problem of ethnic nationalism continues to be alive in the nation even although the inability of the UPFA to make it a winning formula at two successive elections suggests that it is receding as a force. It has been in existence given that the 1950s when the SLFP was formed and utilized the energy of language-primarily based ethnic nationalism to trounce the UNP at the basic elections of 1956. The past ten years of UPFA rule was mainly primarily based on ethnic nationalism with the common population getting constantly exposed to a barrage of anti-minority propaganda. For that reason there is a need to have for the government to commence an quick programme of public education on the concern of inter-ethnic relations and the choices for a political answer that would address the roots of the conflict. This could be done alongside civil society organisations to prepare the ground for future reforms that are needed to resolve the conflict in a sustainable and mutually acceptable manner.

In the meantime, efforts to win the trust and self-assurance of the ethnic minorities want to continue. The pay a visit to paid by President Sirisena and former president Chandrika Kumaratunga to the former war zones of the East to give back land taken over by the military to the men and women shortly right after the election indicates that the government is on the conflict-resolving track. The reality that President Sirisena is each on the side of the government and opposition presents a special chance for problem solving. It will imply that when the government and opposition sit with each other to go over how to deal with even contentious troubles, they will be sitting collectively and not necessarily as adversaries. They will not be engaging in negotiations in which 1 side should lose in order for the other side to acquire, but in dilemma solving exactly where every single side’s issues are taken into account so that all sides can acquire. This must not only be a wish, it can turn out to be reality.

Election Final results, Political Reforms & The Process Of Reconciliation

By Dinesh D. Dodamgoda &#8211

Dinesh Dodamgoda

Dinesh Dodamgoda

The recently concluded Parliamentary Election has designed a ‘kind of hostile politics of the enemy-friend bi-polarity’ in terms of intended political reforms and the proposed reconciliation agenda of the new government. An evaluation of the election outcomes would show that a tiny over 50% of voters are for reforms and a small much less than 50% of voters are against reforms. What does this imply in terms of bringing intended political reforms into reality and implementing a reconciliation approach effectively?

It is evident from election results that there can be a significant ideological resistance to political reforms and to the proposed reconciliation agenda by virtually half of the population that voted for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa led United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). There is no doubt, former President Rajapaksa is the reputable, symbolic leader of the anti-reformist / reconciliation agenda. Nonetheless, one particular could argue that President Maithripala Sirisena and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga need to be able to win the symbolic leadership position of the anti-reformist / reconciliation population by gaining and securing power in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Central Committee as properly as in the UPFA Executive Committee. In my opinion, though Sirisena-CBK group could gain ‘majority’ seats in these bodies, they will not be capable to obtain ‘legitimacy’ so simply. For that reason, ideological resistance to reforms and to the reconciliation agenda by former President Rajapaksa led population will remain as a serious obstacle. Furthermore, former President Rajapaksa led group’s resistance to political reforms and to the reconciliation agenda will reinforce the group’s political survival as properly. Hence, the stated obstruction is strategically crucial in terms of the group’s survival and, for that reason, the obstruction is almost inevitable.
Maithri Ranil
In order to emphasise my argument, I would like to note that practically 95% of pro-President Sirisena candidates that contested from the UPFA list did not make it to Parliament as there was an internally orchestrated negative campaign against them by the pro-Rajapaksa group. Some of the pro-Sirisena candidates who got defeated had been effective figures in the last Parliament. Hence, the vote that the UPFA received in this election can be viewed as a pure pro-Rajapaksa vote in which Rajapaksa led group derives its political energy. The vote percentage that the group received is effectively more than 47% of the total voters. Therefore, bringing mere structural modifications to Celebration steering Committees to secure Sirisena-CBK majority will not help the group in gaining ‘legitimacy’ amongst the UPFA voters who are capable of disrupting the new government’s socio-political agenda.

How does this have an effect on the new government’s proposed political reforms / reconciliation agenda? The answer is if not handled / or tackled wisely, the opposition can seriously destroy or disrupt the new government’s reformist / reconciliation agenda.

It is not required to emphasise that the new government’s reform programs need to be implemented smoothly as feasible. The UNF government, therefore, ought to very carefully and unconventionally devise its approach. Very first, the UNF government must be careful when devising its strategy as any careless error would cost dearly. Second, it has to be devised unconventionally as the technique ought to be aimed at reaching a consensus amongst politically polarised groups, the process that goes beyond conventional political boundaries.

Giving the nature of the hard line political stances that the President Rajapaksa led group displayed in the previous, it is reasonable to assume that the group would resort to comparable sort of political opposition even with regard to the proposed reforms / reconciliation approach. On the a single hand, the group has indicated that it aims to comeback to energy in the near future. On the other hand, a challenging line strategy would weaken the new government by derailing its reformist agenda in which the government aims to sustain its minority as properly as the international support. As a result, identifying of an appropriate strategy that would mitigate any challenging line opposition from the 47% of Rajapaksa led population is of paramount important for the new government as it decides the UNF government’s good results as properly as its internal and external political survival into a considerable extent.

The Maithri-Ranil government’s past eight months’ track record was not so impressive in terms of mitigating Rajapaksa Group’s hard line political opposition. There was a political as effectively as a personal hard-hitting hostile approach from Maithri-Ranil government against Rajapaksa group during final eight months. As a outcome, some of the Rajapaksa group’s members are still in remand and investigations are going on. In my opinion, the Maithri-Ranil government’s challenging-hitting approach against Rajapaksas had reinforced the group’s desperation for its political and personal survival and that led the group to type and group a robust political opposition that rallied and sooner or later fielded pro-Rajapaksa UPFA candidates in the not too long ago concluded Parliamentary Election against Maithri-Ranil government. The query is, ‘Should Maithri-Ranil group continue with the same difficult-hitting, hostile strategy in the future as well?’

If the Maithri-Ranil group want to continue with the same political and individual hostile approach against Rajapaksa group, it is affordable to count on a equivalent type of reaction. There is no doubt, this is the way Rajapaksas’ believe and in truth, the choice by the former President Rajapaksa to execute as an ordinary MP in the new Parliament is an indication of the ‘never giving up’ attitude of Rajapaksas’. They would fight till they die. Even so, the context that this hostile approach would produce is not the most favourable context that the UNF government want (or need to have), if they want to effectively implement intended political reforms and the reconciliation agenda.

The question then is ‘how ought to both groups move forward?’ The answer is ‘they must generate a context of political and individual co-existence for each groups that would assure UNFG’s smooth functionality at least in terms of proposed political reforms and the reconciliation agenda. Nonetheless, it will not be so effortless to achieve this context of political and private co-existence for both groups unless each sides operate hard, strategically and patiently. There are a few issues to note. Given that the hostile attitude in each sides is comparatively higher, a middle ground should be produced to facilitate initiating a constructive dialogue. The best way is to utilise proxy groups or ‘behind the scene strategists’ in both sides to open up a dialogue. Thereafter, modalities and terms can be laid out. Therefore, the most crucial activity would be to reach an agreement amongst proxy groups to be constructive and then to bring the level of hostilities in political actors of each sides at least to a much less destructive point. If this is possible, we can have a hope at least in terms of bringing intended political reforms into reality and implementing a reconciliation approach successfully.

As a final note, I would like to mention that this an critical chance that the country has to strengthen the civil society by bringing intended political reforms and to end the cycle of ethno-religious hatred by implementing a procedure of reconciliation that aims at rising the level of socio-political tolerance. The job would not be feasible unless both political sides, Maithri-Ranil group and the Rajapaksa group, are prepared to attain a political and individual compromise, at least to facilitate intended political reforms and the approach of reconciliation.

*Dinesh D. Dodamgoda, a Fulbright scholar and a lawyer, has a M.Sc. degree from the British Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham (Cranfield University) on Defence Management and Worldwide Safety. He was also an MP from 1995-2000.

JVP Encourages Rosy To Enter From The Back Door

The Central Committee of the Sri Lanka Freedom Celebration, has agreed and granted their approval for the formation of a national government. The acting secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Celebration had stated that when working committee of the SLFP converged they had offered their consent and had put it forward to President Maithripala Sirisena.

RosyThe Elections Secretariat stated that the names of the winning 196 candidates will be sent to the government printer to be officially gazetted this evening. The names of the other MPs pointed out on the national list are to be handed in by the relevant party secretary&#8217s inside a week of results being officially declared.

Meanwhile the JVP had hit a discord when the Anura Kumara Dissanayake led celebration had incorporated the name of Sunil Handunneththi on the national list along with the name of Sarathchandra Mayadunne. This meant that Chrishmal Warnasuriya whose name was second on the list had to be scrapped off to accommodate Handunheththi who earlier was not elected when he contested from the Kalutara District.

Warnasuriya however had posted the following comment on his Facebook web page &#8220My dear Anura I sincerely hope that you had a Explanation for performing what you just did, I am deeply perplexed as none have been explained to me! However, now that you have taken this step, I will expect you to appreciate that I as well will have to Explain all of this to the many who supported us, and who are now inquiring of me &#8211 WHY? &#8221

Subsequently Warnasuriya posted and tendered a public apology to his supporters.

The UNFGG candidate from Colombo Rosy Senanayake who also failed to secure a seat contesting from the Colombo District, has had resounding assistance from her lobbyists who are egging Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to consist of far more names of female candidates by means of the national list. A petition performing its rounds on social media searching for signatures at present has noticed a mixed reaction to this campaign.

&#8221 Let&#8217s not begin back door manoeuvres when it suits us and criticize when it does not&#8230 If back door manoeuvres are incorrect when MR did it&#8230 it is also wrong If and when MS or RW does it. For example when Mervyn Silva lost the election some time back and was brought via the National list there were howls of protest&#8230. It was wrong then and this as well is wrong if they do!! The new culture has to be shown in action not words. Continuing the wrongs completed previously is not the way&#8221 stated a comment.

&#8220Only 11 ladies elected to this parliament. Final parliament had 13.&#8221 girls rights campaigners say.

Rajapaksa’s Loss Spells Victory For Democracy

By R Hariharan

 Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s hopes of coming back to power as Sri Lanka’s prime minister crashed when the. United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA), which fielded him as a candidate, lost out narrowly to the United National Celebration (UNP)-led coalition in the parliamentary election held on August 17.

In the most peacefully carried out election in Sri Lanka in recent occasions where over 70 per cent of the people are stated to have voted, the UPFA could win only eight of the 22 electoral districts as against its rival UNP’s victory in 11 districts. The Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK)-led Tamil National Alliance (TNA) won in three predominantly Tamil districts of Jaffna, Vanni and Batticaloa South. It would assistance UNP-led government rather than that of UPFA.

In Sri Lanka’s electoral program, out of the 225 parliament members, 196 members are elected by way of proportional representation method from 22 electoral districts. Every celebration is allocated a number of seats from the quota assigned to the district in proportion to votes secured by the celebration. The balance of 29 seats known as national list are allotted to parties according to the nation-wide proportional votes they receive in the election.

Mahinda jan 6 2014Rajapaksa conceded defeat in the morning of August 18 even prior to outcomes were officially announced. He told the AFP news agency &#8220My dream of becoming prime minister has faded away…I am conceding. We have lost a great fight.&#8221 Even though a message from his twitter account later contradicted this, he need to have noticed the writing on the wall early in the day.

As Wickremesinghe described, the presidential election was in a way a referendum. Over 15 million voters of Sri Lanka had to make a decision whether or not they wanted Rajapaksa’s return to politics right after a decade in energy. Once hailed as Sri Lanka strongman, Rajapaksa need to be a disappointed man to be rejected once again by the individuals in his bid for national leadership within a year following he lost the presidential election in January 2015. He had high hopes of coming back to energy as prime minister after the powers of executive presidency had been cut down to size by President Maithripala Sirisena. Rajapaksa also had to overcome the efforts of Sirisena as chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), to avoid him from contesting as a UPFA candidate.

Though neither the UPFA nor UNP-led alliance is probably to have a majority in parliament, Ranil Wickremesinghe, victorious leader of the UNP obtaining bigger number of seats, is expected to be sworn in once again as prime minister. President Sirisena is most likely to choose his loyalists inside the SLFP to join the national alliance government led by Wickremesinghe. Therefore both Sirisena and Wickremesinghe will be capable to follow up in action to fulfill their agenda for structural and constitutional reforms and pull up the sagging economy.

Rajapaksa’s failure is a political triumph for Sirisena, specifically soon after senior members of the SLFP central committee challenged his leadership and tried their ideal to bring back Rajapaksa to the detriment of Sirisena loyalists. Sirisena sent a sturdy message of his authority and sacked 13 senior members of the central committee including the all important secretaries of UPFA and SLFP and appointed his own nominees quickly after polling ended on August 17.

But Sirisena’s action could be challenged when the Supreme Court reopens on August 31 from holiday. According to a former chief justice, as per the party constitution only the secretary of the celebration has to nominate the national list members. On the other hand court action may possibly nicely be deferred as some of those impacted seem to be creating friendly noises to get back into excellent books of Sirisena.

Rajapaksa as a productive member of the UPFA will have to sit in the opposition benches in the exact same parliament where his writ ran unchallenged when he was president. If he is selected as a leader of the opposition by UPFA members, he will be presiding more than an anomalous circumstance when some of the members join the cabinet. Would he do it?

Out of power and after two successive failures, Rajapaksa’s political influence has been slashed. But his assistance base among the conservative Buddhist nationalist southern Sinhalas seems to be largely intact. Will he bounce back into politics? Apart from Rajapaksa, two other people – Sirisena and Wickremesinghe – also are probably pondering more than this query

In addition to former president Rajapaksa, his brother Chamal Rajapaka and son Namal Rajapaksa have also won. This would make certain an element of protection for the three Rajapaksas as they can not be arrested when the parliament is in session. This becomes essential in the investigations into situations of corruption and misuse of workplace now underway.

But this will spell problems for Rajapaksas. Mahinda is facing cases of corruption in handling of public funds and his brother and former minister Basil is tangled in yet another similar case in the law courts. These instances are likely to move on a quickly pace. But we can expect each Sirisena and Wickremesinghe to tread meticulously lest they antagonize Sinhala nationalist segment by vindictive action.

As far as India is concerned the news of Wickremesinghe combine’s victory would be welcome though even had Rajapaksa come to power he would have handled India with kid gloves. As far as China is concerned, possibly it would rue the failure of Rajapaksa as a lesson learnt, and court the new leadership to get its stalled projects by means of and get back to organization. Practically nothing moves Chinese like funds and President Xi Jinping like 21st Century Maritime Road. Sri Lanka is critical for China on each counts.

*Col R Hariharan, a retired Military Intelligence specialist on South Asia, served with the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka as Head of Intelligence. He is related with the Chennai Centre for China Studies and the South Asia Evaluation Group. E-Mail: [email protected] Blog: http://col.hariharan.info

Sri Lanka’s Ethnic Question & The JVP: A Pre-Election Clarification

By Chaminda Weerawardhana &#8211

Dr. Chaminda Weerawardhana

Dr. Chaminda Weerawardhana

As the Sri Lankan common election approaches, there is an work amongst pro-UNP media to raise an intriguing argument. This argument goes as follows: Voting the JVP is completely unadvisable, since JVP MPs will side with Mahinda Rajapaksa, when the UNP-led government moves towards ‘reforms’, specifically with regards to the ethnic question. Articles of this nature, published in outlets such as Lanka E News, very first appear in Sinhala, and then in English. In the Sinhala articles, the term ‘balaya bedeema’ is employed, when referring to the measures that a UNP-led government will supposedly take, in addressing Sri Lanka’s ethnic question. Civil society activists in Colombo’s English-speaking, West-oriented non-governmental lobby, who rely on funding from Western sources for their projects, have lengthy advocated the term ‘balaya bedeema’ in their Sinhala language documents, media engagements and public events. This was also the preferred wording of Chandrika Bandaranaike, who held the executive presidency from 1994 to 2005, and engaged in repeated efforts to bring about political reforms to the ethnic question. Back in 1993-1994 and in the course of her initial couple of years in workplace, the term ‘balaya bedeema’ was frequently employed when referring to a set of political reforms that would help address the political grievances of the Tamil community. When programmes for awareness raising and mass mobilisation, such as sudu nelum and thavalama were launched, the Sinhala documentation explaining the rationale for such initiatives also included the term ‘balaya bedeema’.

JVPIn what follows, this writer argues that the above-mentioned anti-JVP position of pro-UNP media is all but a hollow and desperate bid to woo swing voters. By castigating the JVP as prone to take the side of Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sinhala nationalists in the face of ‘progressive’ balaya bedeema reforms, the pro-UNP media demonstrates that they either a) have no clue of the political evolution of the JVP and the party’s present-day scenario, or b) they are totally aware of the JVP’s rising reputation and present-day position on the ethnic query, and are consequently desperate to engage in final-minute fear-mongering. In order to get to the bottom of this argument, it is needed to take a minor detour, recapitulating the regional and international implications of the problem of political reform.

Political Reform: international ramifications?

Six months into the presidential election of January 2015, it is clear that external powers, specially the India-USA-EU consensus, played a part in the political developments that facilitated the political changes of early 2015. Such developments involved Ranil Wickremesinghe, the leader of a political party given that 1994, with a strong track record of being ‘unmarketable’ at elections, taking a back seat. By means of the mediation of Chandrika Bandaranaike – who, just like Wickremesinghe, is a trusted ‘friend’ of the West – a a lot a lot more locally marketable ‘man of the people’, Maitripala Sirisena, was selected to contest for presidency on behalf of a common front, headed behind the scenes by the Wickremesinghe-Bandaranaike duo.

One particular of the crucial factors that led Delhi to endorse a procedure of regime change in Sri Lanka was the Mahinda Rajapaksa government’s reluctance to fulfil a pre-May 2009 guarantee to Delhi- that of implementing political reforms that would address the fundamental demands of the Tamil polity (read the Tamil leadership represented by the Tamil National Alliance), which Delhi could eventually market in Tamil Nadu to appease the province’s Tamil nationalist sentiments, and to enhance Delhi’s profile in Tamil Nadu as devoted to the cause of the Tamils of Sri Lanka. The failure of this plan was at the heart of strained relations in between Delhi and Colombo. Some media reports referred to an angry President Rajapaksa returning from Delhi soon after attending Narendra Modi’s swearing in ceremony, the cause for presidential anguish becoming Modi’s reiteration of Delhi’s demand for political reforms in Sri Lanka. Irrespective of the truism of this claim, it is clear that Delhi was, and continues to be, deeply interested in witnessing some kind of ‘political reform’ taking spot in Sri Lanka vis-à-vis the ethnic query. It goes with out saying that Delhi’s position influences perspectives on Sri Lanka in Brussels and Washington D.C.

The report on Norwegian engagement in the Vth Peace Process, produced by the Christian Michelsen Institute in Norway, reveals, Ranil Wickremesinghe’s zest to implement marketplace reforms raised concern even among Western diplomats. Below a Ranil Wickremesinghe-led government right after #gesl2015, there is a likelihood that Colombo would be receptive to the Delhi-led get in touch with for political reform, and get itself involved with a balaya bedeema discourse with the TNA.

A convoluted topic: parameters and public perceptions of political reform in Sri Lanka

In implementing political reforms with regards to the ethnic query, 1 can notice similitudes in the challenges that successive governments have faced. Throughout the heyday of the LTTE, attempts at negotiation, mediation, external facilitation, confidence-building measures, and discussions on comprehensive devolution and quasi-federal reform have been all perceived with scepticism in the Sinhala nationalist lobbies. The explanation for that scepticism, from the Chandrika Bandaranaike proposals for a draft constitution to the Wickremesinghe-led, Oslo-facilitated Vth peace procedure and the aborted P-TOMs initiative, have been the exact same they have been all deemed as measures that would ‘divide’ the ‘country’. The Sinhalese appellation ‘rata bedana salasum’ was tagged onto all the aforementioned reform initiatives. Political opportunism put aside, a substantial segment of the polity and Sinhalese society perceive substantial devolution and quasi-federal reforms as inimical to the interests of the Sri Lankan state. If a government, on the basis of a parliamentary majority, international help or the strength of an influential leader, seeks to ‘force in’ such reforms in the absence of public support, that government and its leader are prone to face a political crisis and a challenge to its energy base, paving the path for wider protest and unrest.

Managing the Reform Challenge?

When considering political reforms, any future government requirements to take previous precedents strongly into account. Secondly, and most importantly maybe, it is important to take stock of public attitudes to political reform. A vital question pertains to the domestic and international actors who are demanding political reforms. At residence, the TNA is quite keen to receive a set of reforms from Colombo, which it can then market to its northern electorate, and reinforce its energy base for posterity. Delhi’s keenness on political reforms was evoked earlier in this article.

At this point, it is of value to highlight a critical factor. It is not this writer’s objective to adopt a Sinhala nationalist stance and maintain that political reforms are unwarranted. This has been, for instance the position of the Jathika Hela Urumaya. This writer strongly believes that political reform, inspired by a context-distinct amalgamation of components from consociational energy-sharing models and integrationist perspectives of political reform, would be really appropriate and valuable in enhancing the current structures of governance (i.e. the Northern Provincial Council, municipalities and pradeshiya sabas).

However, this understanding of the suitability and worth of political reform does not blind this writer to a essential reality – that of the sensible feasibility of implementing political reform in a context of asymmetric energy, in between an ethno-national majority and numerical minorities. On top of that, the Sri Lankan polity is marked by repetitive situations when political reform projects failed due to varying types of majoritarian opposition, from the BC Pact of 1957 to the P-TOMS proposals of 2005.

Provided this reality, if a programme of political reform is to be effectively negotiated, agreed upon, ratified in parliament and implemented in full, there is an earlier preliminary step to be dealt with – that of developing broad-ranging consensus on the necessity and usefulness of such reforms in managing minority rights and ethnic relations. The collective failure of all past leaders who attempted political reform lay in an inadequate appraisal of this preliminary necessity. Taking past precedents and the present-day political configuration into account, it can be noted with certitude that Sri Lanka has not however entered the phase of implementing devolution or federalism-based political reform. If this reality is ignored and reforms are to be introduced directly, it amounts to placing the cart before the horse and abject pointlessness.

The real problems at hand?

How, then can a future government seek to reconcile this predicament, and adopt a workable strategy?

As a first step, a future government need to imperatively recognise the reality that the Tamil folks of northern Sri Lanka are concerned with priorities that go beyond political reforms, which neither the TNA nor any other Tamil political parties are keen to prioritise. An incomplete list of concerns, which the subsequent government imperatively ought to contemplate as absolute priorities, incorporate the following:

  • The full implementation of the national language policy (specifically in predominantly Tamil regions),
  • Developing a medium and long-term programme of help to war widows, single-parent (specifically single mother) households
  • A national programme for the welfare of orphaned young children and young adults
  • A plan of action to address drug proliferation, alcoholism and gender-primarily based violence
  • A robust initiative to make certain gender justice, with quick, medium and lengthy-term goals
  • Measures to address the situation of caste-primarily based discrimination in all elements of life
  • Guaranteeing an equitable policy of land distribution, returning acquired land to their rightful owners
  • Making sure fundamental human freedoms, which includes the appropriate for political engagement, of upholding political views of one’s option
  • Making sure, and totally guaranteeing the appropriate of Tamil people to commemorate war victims, which includes fallen LTTE combatants, who, soon after all, happened to be disgruntled citizens of Sri Lanka
  • A transparent national mechanism to examine wartime disappearances, deaths and acts of violence

Social reform instead of political reform?

The most advisable technique for a future government to adopt is to take a social reform strategy, which focuses not on the Tamil polity, but on reforms ensuring social justice for Tamil folks. Creating a national program of action to address the above-talked about and associated troubles, with the participation of a broad variety of civil society activists, victims’ assistance groups, religious leaders, academics and researchers, advocates of reconciliation and human rights activists is an absolute national priority. It is also a step with a lesser danger of a Sinhala nationalist backlash.

Instead of such a programme that focuses on people and society, the next government could repeat the past error of focusing exclusively on political reform, in a dance to Delhi’s existing tune. If this path is pursued, previous precedents indicate the inevitability of a political crisis. A programme of this nature is bound to strengthen the Sinhala nationalist lobby, which could mobilise around Mahinda Rajapaksa. It would be a birthday present to Bodu Bala Sena, Ravana Balaya and all other Sinhala nationalist entities.

The JVP: a strategic reaction is completely regular

Provided the absence of public assistance to a UNP-led internationally influenced project for political reform involving the TNA, its connotations of getting a concoction of pro-Western politicians and the of western-funded NGOs, the JVP, a national-level political movement that stands for ethno-national harmony inside a united Sri Lankan state, can not be anticipated to endorse such a reform drive. The JVP cannot be blamed for a choice of this nature, as the fundamental priority of any political movement is that of making sure its important support base and enhancing its electability.

Requesting the electorate to not to vote for the JVP, due to the probability that the JVP will oppose political reforms – a favourite pastime of pro-UNP media – is puerile at greatest. Let’s contemplate, for example, the (unlikely) hypothesis that the JVP does not carry out effectively at the basic election and is not represented in parliament. Even in the JVP’s absence from the legislature, a Sinhala nationalist backlash against Delhi-Ranil Wickremesinghe-TNA political reforms is inevitable. That backlash, if past examples are something to go by, will take place within the legislature as nicely as on the streets, spearheaded not by the JVP, but by an assortment of Sinhala nationalist hardliners who have MR to rally around.

The advisable course of action?

It is in the UNP’s ideal interests to bring this problem up with its Indian and Western allies, and reach an understanding on the substantive political dangers of pursuing the path of satisfying the demands of constitutional Tamil nationalism, represented mostly by the TNA. Beyond a set of cosmetic political reforms that it can marketplace in the North, the TNA harbours no interest in the day-to-day problems affecting the Tamil folks and specially the class and caste dimensions of such difficulties. The West is engulfed by the perception that the TNA is the main Tamil political entity, commanding the biggest support base. The TNA wins elections with relative ease in the North due to a fundamental cause: there exists no viable and credible option to the TNA in the predominantly Tamil electoral districts of northern Sri Lanka. It will be in the very best interests of a future UNP government (and certainly its Indian and Western backers) to proceed on a social reform agenda, and also take concerted methods to open a lot more space for political participation, and assist build option political voices that challenge the TNA’s electoral monopoly.

The present-day TNA is all but a Vellalar gentlemen’s’ Club, an unwelcome space for these from other castes and for rehabilitated ex-LTTE combatants, and for the most vulnerable segments of society. In this context, it is an absolute necessity in terms of basic democratic politics to aid create credible, totally democratic, non-violent and inclusive political alternatives to the TNA in northern Sri Lanka. A procedure of that nature would also give a valuable basis to launch a conversation on topics such as devolution of powers and institution creating. International observers want to take adequate stock of this reality.

Delhi, Washington D.C. et al: set your priorities straight!

Unless Delhi and the West wishes a future return of the Rajapaksa regime, it is in their very best interests to assistance a social justice-based reform agenda in northern Sri Lanka, which also involves an effort to strengthen democratic politics, diversifying political representation and enhancing inclusivity. Instead, adumbrating a commitment to practically non-feasible and politically risky political reform is verified hara-kiri and a enjoy letter to hardline Sinhala nationalism. As the pro-UNP media does, singling out a political party striving to emerge as a decisive force in national politics fit to be the official opposition and/or to assume governmental workplace, amounts to all but petty fear-mongering and a increasing fear of the JVP’s recognition.