Gorgeous Actress Geetha Kumarasinghe Stars in New Role as Galle District MP

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Elections are over and a new Parliament has been elected. The political excitement however is yet to subside. ‘Spotlight’ returns after a brief interval to focus on films, film personalities and film-related matters. The focus this time would be on an alluring beauty who made a successful name for herself on the cinema screen and then entered the political stage. I am of course referring to the gorgeous actress Geetha Kumarasinghe who was elected as a Member of Parliament from the Galle District on the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) at the recent poll.

pic via: geethakumarasinghe.com

pic via: geethakumarasinghe.com

Controversy surrounded her election as Geetha, having married a Swiss national, was at one time a citizen of both Sri Lanka and Switzerland. Geetha who got married to Chris Fuhrer Ferdinand many years ago has a daughter, Tharika Fiona. Having dual citizenship apparently debars one from contesting elections in Sri Lanka and some of her political opponents opined that she was disqualified from being a Member of Parliament.
Continue reading ‘Gorgeous Actress Geetha Kumarasinghe Stars in New Role as Galle District MP’ »

42 Cabinet Ministers Including Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Sworn in by President Sirisena-Govt will go up to 93.

Forty two Cabinet Ministers Including Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe were sworn in by President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential secretariat on September 4th 2015. Among these were 21 from the UNP,12 from the SLFP and 9 non –UNP MP’s who contested under the elephant symbol of the UNP led UNFGG.

Premier Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs.Among the three ministers already sworn in Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe and Resettlemt minister D.M.Swaminathan were sworn in again as ministers of Buddha Sasana and Hindu religious affairs respectively. These portfolios are in addition to the ministries they already retain.

Foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera was not given any additional portfolio.Along with Samaraweera the number of ministers in the new cabinet are 43.

Continue reading ‘42 Cabinet Ministers Including Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Sworn in by President Sirisena-Govt will go up to 93.’ »

SLFP Leader Maithripala Makes a Mockery of President Sirisena’s Good Governance Principles

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Pallewatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena was elected President of Sri Lanka on January 8th 2015. The general secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party(SLFP) had broken away from his party and contested the Presidential elections as the common opposition candidate. Maithripala Sirisena defeated his former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa.The victory was hailed as a silent revolution. United National Party(UNP)leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed Prime minister of a Government that promised to usher in good governance(Yahapalanaya/Nallaatchi)

The newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena takes oath at the Independence Square in Colombo (pic: courtesy of The Hindu)

The newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena takes oath at the Independence Square in Colombo (pic: courtesy of The Hindu)

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After eight months of the good governance regime, Parliamentary elections were held on August 17th 2015.The UNP led United National Front for Good Governance(UNFGG) won 106 seats in a hung Parliament. The SLFP led United Peoples Freedom Alliance(UPFA) got 95 seats.Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed Prime Minister again.

The UNFGG victory was described as a continuation of the Jan 8th revolution which brought about good governance.However the anticipated appointment of cabinet ministers, state ministers and deputy ministers did not take place. News reports explained the delay as being due to protracted inter –party negotiations between the UNP and SLFP. The discerning public read between the lines and realised that intense squabbling for portfolios was going on.

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TNA Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan Becomes new Leader of the Opposition in Sri Lanka Parliament


Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentary group leader and veteran Trincomalee district MP Rajavarothayam Sampanthan has been recognized by the newly elected Sri Lanka parliament as the leader of the opposition.

An announcement to this effect was made by the Speaker Mr. Karu Jayasuriya in Parliament on September 3rd morning.

Rajavarothayam Sampanthan MP - Leader of the Opposition speaking tp BBC Sandhesaya after the announcement on Sep 3, 2015

Rajavarothayam Sampanthan MP – Leader of the Opposition speaking to BBC Sandeshaya after the announcement on Sep 3, 2015

The speaker said that the house was recognizing Mr. Sampanthan as opposition leader in the absence of claims by any other political party or front. Mr.Jayasuriya said that neither the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) nor the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) had made staked any claim for the Opposition Leader post.
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How the UNP Formed a Seven Party National Government Fifty Years Ago

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who is also the leader of the United National Party(UNP) and the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) is determined to form a National Government if returned to power after the August 17th Parliamentary Poll. Since most political observers opine that the next Parliament would be a hung parliament, Wickremesinghe may be in a sense creating a virtue out of necessity as a multi – party coalition is definitely required to cobble together a National Govt with a stable majority.

Dudley Senanayake and M. Tiruchelvam

Dudley Senanayake and M. Tiruchelvam

Thanks to Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNF, the term national govt has re-entered the political discourse of the country in a big way. It is the term national govt which is in vogue currently and not coalition govt or multi-party govt. Even Mahinda Rajapaksa says he will not form a national govt instead of saying coalition or multi – party govt.
Continue reading ‘How the UNP Formed a Seven Party National Government Fifty Years Ago’ »

Remembering Comrade Bala Tampoe the Legendary Trade Union Leader on his First Death Anniversary

By

D.B>S.Jeyaraj

(Veteran Trade Union Leader Philips Balendra Tampoe passed away at the age of 92 on September 1st 2014.Comrade Bala Tampoe as he was generally known created Trade union history by being the general secretary of the Ceylon Mercantile Union for an unbroken period of sixty – six years.To denote the first death anniversary of Comrade Bala Tampoe I am re-posting an article I wrote about him in May this yer to mark his 93rd birth anniversary on May 23rd………………DBSJ)


Remembering Comrade Bala Tampoe the Legendary Trade Union Leader on his 93rd Birth Anniversary -May 23

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark” is perhaps an apt description of how the International Workers Day was observed in Sri Lanka on May 1st. Instead of being given pride of place on May Day, the workers and their trade union leaders were virtually ignored by the political parties conducting rallies and processions on workers day. The May day event has been transfigured or disfigured into a Political Tamasha by major political parties.

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The pathetically fractured trade union movement and hopelessly debilitated working classes of Sri Lanka have either been unable or unwilling to check or counter this increasing politicisation and consequent diminution of the trade union sphere over the years. The transformation of May day into a political event where the workers were treated as children of a lesser god is only symptomatic of a malady that has afflicted this country for many decades. The sea of red that this writer witnessed on May day during his childhood slowly began changing colour to seas of green and blue over the years. With the presence of artistes and actors from India on stage, the meaning of May day got distorted as a cultural show.

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Karu Jayasuriya of UNP Elected Unanimously as Speaker:SLFP’s Thilanga Sumathipala -Deputy Speaker. Amirtharaj Adaikkalanathan alias “Selvam”of TNA -Deputy Chairman of Committees.

Senior United National Party Leader and National List MP Karunananda Jayasuriya has been elected unanmously as Speaker of Parliament. The name of “Karu” as he is popularly known was proposed by Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and seconded by Nimal Siripala de Silva.

Continue reading ‘Karu Jayasuriya of UNP Elected Unanimously as Speaker:SLFP’s Thilanga Sumathipala -Deputy Speaker. Amirtharaj Adaikkalanathan alias “Selvam”of TNA -Deputy Chairman of Committees.’ »

Wimal Weerawansa Personally Apologises to President Sirisena for Using Abusive Language Against Him During Election Campaign

In what is called a dramatic turn of events in the local political arena NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa had tendered an apology to President Maithripala Sirisena when a UPFA delegation met the President yesterday.

Weerawansa had tendered the apology to the President for using abusive language during the Presidential election campaign against him (the President).

According to UPFA sources Weerawansa had tendered an apology to the President, during a discussion at the paget road residence.

Continue reading ‘Wimal Weerawansa Personally Apologises to President Sirisena for Using Abusive Language Against Him During Election Campaign’ »

LTTE Supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran did not Commit Suicide says Ex- Army Chief Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka

By P K Balachandran

Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, who commanded the Sri Lanka Army during the 2006-2009 Eelam War IV, has refuted the contention of former Tamil Tiger commander “Col” Karuna Amman, that Tiger Supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran had shot himself dead and was not killed by Lankan troops as claimed.

“He had a head injury in which a part of the skull had come off. If he had shot himself, the bullet would have come out from the other side of the head. But this had not happened. He might have been hit by shrapnel from a mortar bomb or a shell,” Fonseka told Express here on Monday.

Asked if a post mortem was done on Prabhakaran’s body, Fonseka said that the police did a post mortem as per law, and a DNA test was also conducted to establish his identity.

Continue reading ‘LTTE Supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran did not Commit Suicide says Ex- Army Chief Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka’ »

With Mahinda Rajapaksa Gone the International Investigation Bogey also Goes

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Since the end of war, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the ex-President kept a nation; mostly its Sinhalese villagers in the rural hinterland petrified by the simple mention of a bogeyman: an international war crime trial. Of course, his nemesis in the West and the fringe groups of the Tamil diaspora unleashed it on him; and later MR and his acolytes began nurturing it. It provided a smokescreen for all his grotesque abuses. The sheer mention of the word was so terrifying that it dwarfed the real terror unleashed by real white vans.

Of course, he was pushed to the wall by his adversaries in the West and in the State Department, who did not like him for multiple reasons, ranging from his authoritarian tendencies to his cozying up with China. It was he, who had cultivated his cult persona back home and had paeans sung in his name (one of those female singers later got a road named after her as means of the President returning feudal favour), expected a similar reception from foreign Capitals. Instead, he was met with marauding Tamil mobs, who were driven by an equally destructive agenda.

Later on, MR turned his international calumny into advantage. He cried international conspiracies at every turn, and labelled his critics as traitors. A significant portion of people began to view Western embassies and NGOs as dens of conspiracy. Wimal Weerawansa, Mervyn Silva et al had a field day organizing protests in front of the embassies, often financed by the government itself.

Continue reading ‘With Mahinda Rajapaksa Gone the International Investigation Bogey also Goes’ »

Parliamentary Poll Results Show India had Nothing to do with Electoral Defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa in Presidential Elections

BY N SATHIYA MOORTHY

In an interview to N. Ram for ‘The Hindu’ a day after being sworn in as Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister – for a second time in eight months and fourth time, overall – Ranil Wickremesinghe referred to India-facilitated Thirteenth Amendment, circa 1987, “build on it…maximise it” for finding a negotiated settlement to the vexatious ethnic issue in the island-nation. On China, another issue of concern for India, he had this to say: “We get back to having the close relations we had with the West and with India while maintaining our relationship with China, which has also been a longstanding one. And looking at our own role in the region and what stand we will take on some of the main international issues.”

Surprisingly for a South Asian, Third World nation’s Prime Minister in his place, Wickremesinghe was less critical of arch-political rival and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Was it a kind bonhomie that had marked the personal disposition of the two leaders towards each other through the past decade and more, or was it also indicative of a kind of broad national consensus’ on key issues about which enough signs and signals where available for long now?

If nothing else, until the ‘people were ready to vote out Rajapaksa’ or even afterward, Ranil and his UNP were less than critical of the former’s regime. It owed to their combined ability to retain and recover much of the ‘traditional’ UNP vote-share/vote-bank on the one hand. On the other, they might have also not wanted to risk targeting the ‘war-victor’, whose image the civil society and the social media had sullied enough.

In the final analysis, Rajapaksa could consolidate the traditional SLFP vote-share as none else before him but could not retain the 10-plus per cent from the ‘swing-votes’, which he had got ever since the LTTE’s military reversals began in 2007. Now, with successor President Maithripala Sirisena trying to take over the party from Rajapaksa, that too with the open blessings of their common predecessor, President Chandrika Kumaratunga, upcoming attempts at anticipated political re-alignment could become as much a burden for PM Ranil as it seems to be a boon, to make up the numbers.

Continue reading ‘Parliamentary Poll Results Show India had Nothing to do with Electoral Defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa in Presidential Elections’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Fourth Stint as Prime Minister Wont be a Walk in the Park

By The “Sunday Times” Political Editor

When Ranil Wickremesinghe led the United National Party (UNP) to victory at the August 17 general elections, it was not merely the end of a hectic 49-day campaign; it was also the culmination of a 40-year-long political career that had few triumphs and many disasters.

Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the country’s Prime Minister for a record fourth time in a simple fifteen minute ceremony four days later. It is a feat matched only by Dudley Senanayake. Senanayake was first appointed as Premier following the sudden death of his father D. S. Senanayake but was elected to office thrice later. Wickremesinghe who was first appointed as PM after the assassination of Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993 was elected as Prime Minister in 2001, appointed as Premier earlier this year and elected again last week.

Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe had a privileged entry to politics. His father Esmond Wickremesinghe had been at Lake House since 1950s — when it was later said that “what Lake House said today, the (UNP) Government did tomorrow” — until a few years before it was nationalised. He was a power broker in the UNP. By the mid-1970s, Ranil’s uncle J.R. Jayewardene was leading the UNP. Young Ranil must have imbibed heavily from the heady brew of politics at the dinner table in the Wickremesinghe household and would have found it difficult to say no to being appointed UNP organiser for the Kelaniya electorate, and later shifted to the newly carved neighbouring Biyagama electorate. He has said that he would have been a journalist if he had not entered politics.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Fourth Stint as Prime Minister Wont be a Walk in the Park’ »

Investigators Subpoena Lobbyists in Effort to Trace Rajapaksa Assets in the US:8 Rajapaksas with US addresses Including Basil and Gota Named in Document

By Namini Wijedasa

The payments were so covertly done that neither Cabinet nor Parliament knew of them. As with many other transactions, the cabal that struck deals for key members of the previous regime played the cards close to its chest.

But in July-August 2014, the Sunday Times exclusively revealed that the Sri Lanka Government had signed up with several lobbyists and public relations consultants in the United States through a go-between named Imaad Zuberi. This newspaper has now obtaind documentary proof of money transfers, not only to a company that Mr. Zuberi claimed to own, but to his personal bank account.

A total of US$ 6.5 million (Rs. 872,806,569, at prevailing rates) was released by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka between May 9 and September 10, 2014. None of it went through the prescribed channels —that is, via the Foreign Ministry and Sri Lanka’s diplomatic mission in Washington, DC.

The Central Bank paid out the money on the written instructions of Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, then Monitoring MP to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ajith Nivard Cabraal, then Governor of the Central Bank, and Lalith Weeratunga, then Secretary to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, recommended the disbursements in writing.

The Sunday Times saw emails that validated this. Mr. Vass Gunawardena and Mr. Cabraal used their personal email accounts for the correspondence. The former’s is sajinvg@gmail.com and the latter’s is nivardcabraal3@gmail.com.

Continue reading ‘Investigators Subpoena Lobbyists in Effort to Trace Rajapaksa Assets in the US:8 Rajapaksas with US addresses Including Basil and Gota Named in Document’ »

President Sirisena Meets Vasudeva Nanayakkara,Dinesh Gunawardena and Wimal Weerawansa to Determine Future of UPFA

By Shamindra Ferdinando

President Maithripala Sirisena has called for a meeting with three UPFA constituents today (Aug. 31) to explore the possibility of reaching a consensus regarding their role before Parliament meets tomorrow.

The Presidential Secretariat has requested Ratnapura District MP-elect Vasudeva Nanayakkara (Democratic Left Front), Colombo District MP-elect Dinesh Gunawardena (Mahajana Eksath Peramuna) and Colombo District MP-elect Wimal Weerawansa (National Freedom Front) to meet President Maithripala Sirisena.

Well informed sources told The Island that the fate of the UPFA would largely depend on the outcome of today’s meeting scheduled to take place at the Paget Road residence of President Maithripala Sirisena.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Meets Vasudeva Nanayakkara,Dinesh Gunawardena and Wimal Weerawansa to Determine Future of UPFA’ »

FROM JAN 8 TO AUG 17 AND AFTER: THE MAHINDA MOVEMENT AND THE FUTURE OF SINHALA NATIONALISM


– BY

DR. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA


“…of battles won or lost—but waged—against the enemy.”
(Che Guevara: ‘Message to the Tricontinental’)

The Mahinda Movement hoped for, believed in and fought determinedly for a victory at the August 17th election, but beneath the rousing nationalist romanticism there was always a tougher-minded realization that what was being waged was a resistance struggle; a peaceful people’s uprising which could well prove to be a rearguard action.

The main reference point of the Mahinda Movement’s public discourse after January 8th was not the 5.8 lakhs of voters, but rather the marker year 1815, the year of the betrayal of Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe who had successfully resisted the colonial incursion of 1810.

1815 was the year of the Kandyan convention which sealed the surrender of the whole island to Western colonialism. This year was the 200th anniversary of that surrender.

1815 will be appropriately marked by the joint resolution being drafted for presentation at the UN in Geneva this September by the US together with what Asst Secretary of State Nisha Biswal calls the “international core group on Sri Lanka” (whatever that is), and which is meant to be endorsed by the Sri Lankan Government. US Asst Secretary for Human Rights and Labour Tom Malinowski says that a domestic inquiry mechanism will have to be “led by persons acceptable to the minorities” and have international presence”, “participation and “monitoring”.

Reuters reports that the proposed US resolution which is expected to obtain Sri Lankan concurrence will include a US-UN “framework for reconciliation” for postwar Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘FROM JAN 8 TO AUG 17 AND AFTER: THE MAHINDA MOVEMENT AND THE FUTURE OF SINHALA NATIONALISM’ »

President Sirisena has Laughed at the Peoples Verdict by Appinting Defeated Candidates to Parliament Through National List

By

Udaya Gammanpila

There is a specific objective of introducing the National List in the Constitution of 1978. It is to get important people who are reluctant to contest elections involved in the policy formulation and law making process. Professionals, academics and leaders of insignificant communities such as Malays, Burghers, Vedda and disabled people belong to this category. It was never intended to be used as a shortcut or backchannel to bring defeated candidates to Parliament.

In order to meet the objective of the national list, high profile personalities such as Prof G.L. Peiris, Prof. Tissa Vitarana, Prof. Rizvi Sherifdeen, Prof. Colvin Gunaratne, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, Prof. Kapila Gunasekara, D.E.W. Gunasekara and Gevindu Kumaranatunga were included in the UPFA National List. The people who voted for the UPFA expected these high profile persons to be in Parliament. Unfortunately, none of them were appointed to Parliament.

The UPFA was able to secure 12 parliamentary slots from the national list. All twelve opportunities were given to political refugees who lost the election or who got themselves included in the national list fearing electoral loss. People voted out a politician at the election with the intention of denying him Parliament. Appointing such a politician to Parliament through the national list is against democratic and good governance principles. In fact, President Sirisena has laughed at the people’s verdict by appointing defeated politicians to Parliament.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena has Laughed at the Peoples Verdict by Appinting Defeated Candidates to Parliament Through National List’ »

US has Always Talked of Both Domestic and International Probes on Sri Lanka says TNA Leader Sampanthan

By

P.K.Balachandran

R.Sampanthan, the top most leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), has said that the party can take an official stand on the latest US policy on the mechanism to investigate charges of war crimes in Sri Lanka, only after reading the report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Written by Sandra Beidas under the supervision of Martti Ahtisaari, Asma Jahangir and Sylvia Cartwright, the OHCHR report is to be presented to the Lankan government soon, for its comments. Along with these comments, the report will be submitted to the UNHRC in the second half of September.

If the report is hard hitting, the TNA could press for a full-fledged international investigation or a stricter international monitoring of any domestic Lankan inquiry mechanism. The US itself has said that its resolution on Lanka will take into account the findings and recommendations of the OHCHR report.

The US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Nisha Biswal’s declaration in Colombo last week that the US will support a domestic mechanism, did not signify departure from previous policy, Sampanthan said.

“The US has always talked about a domestic investigation and an international investigation,” he pointed out.

Continue reading ‘US has Always Talked of Both Domestic and International Probes on Sri Lanka says TNA Leader Sampanthan’ »

Maithripala Overtakes Mahinda “Miraculously” in Rapid “Sirisenaization”Of Sri Lanka

By

Malinda Seneviratne

Maithri’s ‘Miracle’

More than a week has passed since results were released. Parliament has not been convened. There’s no Speaker. No Leader of the Opposition. No Cabinet. Just three ministers have been appointed, all to satisfy the various ‘areas of concern’ of a visiting US civil servant. Now that is the kind of ‘Miracle’ that Mahinda never could deliver.


Maithri-Circus

‘Maithri-Circus’ or the business of using mandate as toilet paper began the moment election results were released. The people can sit back and watch. Don’t be surprised if it is marketed as ‘Mandate’ or even a ‘Revolution’. Here’s a prediction: all those who were blurting out terms such as good governance, democracy, civility, respecting the people’s verdict, sovereignty etc., will go silent.

Rajapaksization

It took Mahinda several decades to become a Rakapakshist. Maithri took less than 8 months.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Overtakes Mahinda “Miraculously” in Rapid “Sirisenaization”Of Sri Lanka’ »

President Sirisena is not Allowing Prime Minister Wickremesinghe a Free Hand to Select his Team of Ministers to Run the Country.

By

C.A.Chandraprema

We are now nearing the end of the second week after the parliamentary election with no cabinet of ministers. UNP chairman Malik Samarawickrema announced September 2 as the date on which the cabinet may be sworn in and SLFP general secretary Duminda Dissanayake said that September 4 would be the likelier date due to many reasons such as the intervening SLFP anniversary celebrations. These dates are being announced unilaterally by the two sides. If the two sides that are supposed to form a ‘national unity government’ are unable to announce a mutually acceptable date for the swearing in, how are they to divide the portfolios in a manner that will satisfy both sides? Tentative lists of the way the portfolios may be divided have been appearing in the media throughout last week, but they look more like what the UNP would like the cabinet to be rather than how it will be in reality.

So the bottom line is that we still have no idea what the cabinet will be like. If we ask ourselves why the country is in this state of limbo, it is only because of one man’s quest to carve out a political niche for himself. The UNP’s victory at the August 17 parliamentary election was no less convincing than the victories of the winning side in the parliamentary elections of 1994 and 2001, yet a clean change of government is being hampered. In 1994 and 2001 there were clean changes of government with Chandrika Kumaratunga even relinquishing the defence portfolio in 2001. With 106 seats in parliament and the ability to engineer a few crossovers to make up the shortfall, the UNP should be allowed a free hand to form a government; otherwise the whole purpose of effecting governmental change will be vitiated. The preservation of democracy requires changes of government from time to time to relieve the pent up frustration of those blocked from access to power and patronage.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena is not Allowing Prime Minister Wickremesinghe a Free Hand to Select his Team of Ministers to Run the Country.’ »

As Things are at Present, Mahinda Rajapaksa is dead, Politically.

By Anura Gunasekera

Notwithstanding his rise to ultimate power, Mahinda Rajapaksa, despite being one of the shrewdest political manipulators in the history of this country, opts to place his faith in necromancy, rather than in the intelligence of his political sense.

Apart from a pathetic belief in the occult and an abject reliance on heavenly interventions, there was also the hubris, nurtured through a decade of successful subjugation of opposition and dissidence. The incarceration of challengers, the assassination and disappearance of journalists and the purchase of political loyalty were standard strategies in his governance.

Rajapaksa believed in continued aggression even in peacetime and when no more enemies were left, he invented them because the apprehension of enemy action permitted him to carry out repressive strategies in peacetime, which would be barely permissible in war.

Whilst strong in withstanding foreign interference in the affairs of the country, he misled the international community and made promises that he had no intention of honouring.

Despite a minimal comprehension of international diplomacy, he believed that he had the statesmanship skills to play one regional power against the other.

He permitted his servitors to steal from the nation with total impunity guaranteed, in return for unquestioning loyalty to him, personally.

When thwarted in a third term presidential bid, he assayed to return to power through a different route. Weerawansa, Gammanpila , Nanayakkara and Dinesh Gunawardana, together created the myth of Rajapaksa’s undiminished allure to the voter, assisted by the pair of discredited Chief Justices, Silva and Pieris, and the erudite but unprincipled Prof. Pieris, indefatigable apologist to successive national leaders. This unscrupulous cabal was supported by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, who appears to have discarded all concern for personal credibility.

Continue reading ‘As Things are at Present, Mahinda Rajapaksa is dead, Politically.’ »

Water Supply in Greater Colombo Affected as Biyagama Coca Cola Factory Diesel Leak Pollutes Kelani River:EPL Revoked and Production Suspended;Rs One Billion Fine Imposed

By Rukshana Rizwie

The Central Environment Authority (CEA) has suspended the Environmental Protection License of beverage giant Coca-Cola over an incident which occurred on Monday where ‘diesel’ from an underground fuel pipe had leaked into the Kelani river basin.

“The CEA is concerned over the environmental damage, which is largely evident in this case,” said Ajith Weerasundara, Director of Waste Management at the CEA. “After extensive discussion, we have informed the company in question that their Environmental Protection License would be suspended until adequate and appropriate measures are taken by the company to rectify the damages.”

Weerasundara added that the mandate of the CEA and their objective at this point would be to ensure that such incidents do not happen in future. “In keeping with this, we are now reconsidering giving EPL to companies and factories boarding the Kelani River, we will also be reviewing activities of companies who already have the EPL and operating in close proximity to the river.”

When The Nation inquired from Coca-Cola, the company came clean with a statement acknowledging that such a leak was reported.

The company concurred that they ‘noticed a leak in an underground fuel pipe line on Monday morning’. Although the leak was plugged immediately, oil had “inadvertently seeped into a nearby water body through the drainage system,” their statement read.

Continue reading ‘Water Supply in Greater Colombo Affected as Biyagama Coca Cola Factory Diesel Leak Pollutes Kelani River:EPL Revoked and Production Suspended;Rs One Billion Fine Imposed’ »

US Announces Policy Shift From International to Domestic Probe into Sri Lankan War Crimes Investigation

By K. Ratnayake

US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Biswal announced in Colombo yesterday that Washington will sponsor a resolution in UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions next month supporting a Sri Lankan government inquiry into alleged war crimes.

The announcement is a major shift by the US which last year sponsored a resolution calling for an international investigation into alleged war crimes by the former Rajapakse government in the final months of its military offensives against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009.

According to UN estimates, at least 40,000 civilians were killed by the Sri Lankan military’s indiscriminate bombing and shelling.

Biswal’s two-day Sri Lankan visit, which began on Monday, was to express Washington’s support for the victory of the pro-US United National Party-led alliance in last week’s parliamentary election. She was accompanied by US Assistant Secretary for Human and Labour Rights Tom Malinowski.

The US officials met with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera before leaving for India.

Continue reading ‘US Announces Policy Shift From International to Domestic Probe into Sri Lankan War Crimes Investigation’ »

Tamil National Alliance Propping up Sirisena-Wickremesinghe led Pro – US Regime in Sri Lanka.

By K. Nesan

In the wake of the August 17 parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka, Tamil nationalist parties are serving as key props for President Maithripala Sirisena in his attempt to install a new pro-US regime in Colombo.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has the third-largest faction in parliament, after the United National Party (UNP, 107 seats) and the Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP, 96 seats). TNA leader Sampanthan had called on voters to elect at least 20 TNA legislators from the 29 seats in the Tamil-majority North and East of Sri Lanka. In the event, the TNA ended up winning only 16 seats. Fourteen were elected directly, and two were awarded on the basis of the party’s proportion of the national vote.

The TNA is aggressively backing Sirisena—who was installed in a US-backed regime change operation in the January 8 presidential elections—as he attempts to win over a faction of the SLFP to form a “national government” with the UNP.

In one meeting, Sampanthan said: “We will support the National Government which would endorse the silent revolution of January 8th, the people’s mandate for a positive change in the country.”

Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance Propping up Sirisena-Wickremesinghe led Pro – US Regime in Sri Lanka.’ »

Army will Assist and Cooperate with Probe on Officers Allegedly Implicated in Abduction and Killing of Journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda

by Ranil Wijayapala

The pain and anguish of Sandya, the wife of Prageeth Eknaligoda and his two sons over the loss of a loving husband and an affectionate father will never cease.

The investigation over his disappearance brushed under the carpet for over five years was taken up by the CID as a priority with the change of the political set up in the country following the January presidential election. Though the exact information of the investigations is not in public domain yet the involvement of military intelligence in the heinous crime sends shockwaves to the public.

According to Police Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara seven personnel linked to the Army Intelligence Unit are in custody. A retired Sergeant Major from the Sri Lanka Army and two rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres who had links to Army Intelligence Units were among the three arrested previously by the CID. Later four serving Amy personnel; two Lieutenant Colonels, a Staff Sergeant and Corporal were questioned by the CID over their involvement in the disappearance.

“Four Army personnel are in CID custody on a two-week detention order issued by the Ministry of Defence”, the Police Spokesman said.

Continue reading ‘Army will Assist and Cooperate with Probe on Officers Allegedly Implicated in Abduction and Killing of Journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda’ »

Excessive SLFP Demand for Minister Posts Results in UNP Young MP’s Wanting Party to Form Solo Govt

by

Rasika Jayakody

“Aim for the moon and hit the stars” was the Sri Lanka Freedom Party’s rule when it negotiated for ministerial portfolios with the UNP to form a national unity government.

As soon as the party’s Central Committee gave its green light to form a national government, the SLFP wanted 16 ministries out of 35.

The UNP, which secured 106 seats in Parliament, was expected to hold 19 ministries. However, as negotiations progressed, the total number of ministries saw an increase and it finally ended at 45.

The UNP argued that it needed at least 30 ministries as it was only seven seats short of securing an absolute majority in the House. With that condition, the SLFP’s ministerial slots dropped to 15.

The team of SLFP seniors who took part in the discussions included former Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de SIlva, former SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and former UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha. They argued for ‘important’ ministries on the grounds that they had 95 seats in Parliament.

Two of their demands were for the Finance Ministry and the Media Ministry – two key ministries. They also demanded a ‘Deputy Prime Minister’ post for former Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva, although there are no constitutional provisions for such a position.

The UNP side reportedly rejected that demand insisting that both the Media and Finance portfolios remain with the UNP. The SLFP then argued that they had been given ‘second tier’ and less important ministries under the previous national unity government and they did not need a ‘carbon copy’ of the same administration.

The UNP negotiators, on the other hand, were not willing to give the most important ministerial portfolios to the SLFP as they thought they were in a position to form a government with the support of a few ‘crossover’ MPs.

Continue reading ‘Excessive SLFP Demand for Minister Posts Results in UNP Young MP’s Wanting Party to Form Solo Govt’ »

US Falls in Line with India’s Stance on Do Setting Up Domestic Instead of International Probe on Sri Lankan War Crimes


By P.K. Balachandran

The United States appears to have fallen in line with India’s consistent position that charges of war crimes and human rights violations relating to Sri Lanka are best investigated by an independent and credible domestic mechanism rather than an intrusive international mechanism, threatening its sovereignty.

The US, which had made the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) pass a resolution calling for an international investigation into the charges in the March 2014, has climbed down to accepting a independent and credible domestic investigation.

It has also said that it will move a resolution in the September session of the UNHRC, which will be drafted in “collaboration” with the Lankan government and other stake holders. It says that it is doing so after taking into account the changed Lankan political landscape and the “tremendous” progress made by the new regime in Colombo, in addressing the reconciliation issue.

Continue reading ‘US Falls in Line with India’s Stance on Do Setting Up Domestic Instead of International Probe on Sri Lankan War Crimes’ »

Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi(ITAK) Wants Its Parliamentary Group Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan to be made Leader of the Opposition.

(TEXT OF PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE MEDIA OFFICE OF THE ILANKAI THAMIL ARASU KADCHI?TAMIL NATIONAL ALLIANCE)

At the General Election held on the 17th of August 2015, the United National Party (UNP) emerged as the party with the largest number of seats in Parliament. The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) obtained the second largest number of seats. It has been announced that a National Government has been formed and that Members of Parliament who contested and were elected under both the UNP and the UPFA have accepted cabinet portfolios. Accordingly, both the UNP and the UPFA bear collective cabinet responsibility.

As political parties in Parliament, they thus must publicly support all Governmental decisions made in Cabinet. This support includes voting with the Government when sitting in Parliament. There is thus no question whatsoever of the UPFA sitting in opposition in Parliament.

Further, all Members of Parliament who contested and were elected under the UPFA are now Members of Parliament of the UPFA. There is thus no question whatsoever of the constituent parties of the UPFA being recognized as political parties in the current Parliament.

Continue reading ‘Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi(ITAK) Wants Its Parliamentary Group Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan to be made Leader of the Opposition.’ »

Maithripala Sirisena Takes Over SLFP Reducing Mahinda Rajapaksa Group to A Rump

By P K Balachandran

Seven months after he was made de jure Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), the main constituent of the opposition United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA), Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena became its de facto head on Friday.

The group headed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was reduced to a rump when the SLFP Central Committee unanimously decided to give Sirisena full authority to decide on the nature of the party’s participation in the National Government; who all will take ministerial portfolios and who will be the Leader of the Opposition.

In deference to Sirisena‘s wish, the Central Committee warned SLFP MPs that anyone defying its diktat will be liable to disciplinary action.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Sirisena Takes Over SLFP Reducing Mahinda Rajapaksa Group to A Rump’ »

TNA Run Northern Province Council Chairman CVK Sivagnanam says Tamils Want International and not Domestic War Crimes Investigation.

By

P.K.Balachandran

A senior leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has said that the Tamils will keep pressing for an international probe into charges of war crimes against the Lankan government even though the US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Nisha Biswal, has made it clear that the US will only seek an independent and credible Lankan domestic probe.

“Just as the Sri Lankan government has an agenda which it will press, we Tamils also have an agenda, which we will press,” said C V K Sivagnanam, Chairman of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC).

Biswal had said that the US proposes to present to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in September, a resolution which will have been drafted in “collaboration” with the Lankan government and other stakeholders “within and outside” Lanka.

Continue reading ‘TNA Run Northern Province Council Chairman CVK Sivagnanam says Tamils Want International and not Domestic War Crimes Investigation.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Brother and Ex-speaker Chamal Ready to Join Sirisena-Wickremesinghe National Unity Govt

by

Disna Mudalige

Former Speaker and UPFA MP-elect Chamal Rajapaksa is to join the National Unity Government.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Rajapaksa said he would stand along with the position of the SLFP Party Chairman and President Maithripala Sirisena on forming a Unity Government.

He said he was willing to give the necessary strength required to form a government to carry out the functions of the state uninterruptedly. “Politics is an ideology and a discipline. We have to abide by the Party leader’s decision,” he noted.

Asked whether he would like to assume ministerial portfolios of the Unity Government, he said there had been no such discussion yet.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Brother and Ex-speaker Chamal Ready to Join Sirisena-Wickremesinghe National Unity Govt’ »

I am Eligible to Become MP Because I have Cancelled my Switzerland Citizenship a Long Time Ago” says Actress Geetha Kumarasinghe

By

Piyumi Fonseka

Rejecting reports that her parliamentary seat was being annulled, Geetha Kumarasinghe told Daily Mirror today that despite obstacles, she would definitely take oaths as a Member of Parliament on September 1.

“Losers are in a futile attempt to sling mud at me saying I am a Switzerland citizen. According to the 19th Amendment Sri Lankan politicians with a citizenship in another country are prevented from holding high posts. I obtained the Switzerland citizenship through my husband. But, I cancelled it a long time ago. I do not need to talk about it now,” she said.

Continue reading ‘I am Eligible to Become MP Because I have Cancelled my Switzerland Citizenship a Long Time Ago” says Actress Geetha Kumarasinghe’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Suffers from many Political Headaches in his role as Prime Minister of a Coalition Govt Termed as National Govt


By

Malinda Seneviratne

This should have been easy. It has been easy all these years. Hold election, release results, count numbers, pick the leader of the party which returned the most candidates to Parliament and appoint him/her as Prime Minister. Then Parliament convenes, the Speaker is elected, the Leader of the Opposition is selected and Cabinet is appointed. Seems pretty straightforward.

It seems easy because not only does the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) have 106 seats, the coalition’s main ally, Maithripala Sirisena has effectively looted the runner-up, the United People’s Freedom Party (UPFA), dragging its main constituent the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) out AND placing in the UPFA’s driving seat, i.e. the post of General Secretary, a loyalist. Adding insult to injury, violating all norms of decency and giving the proverbial finger to the spirit of democracy, Sirisena smuggled into Parliament 7 loyalists who had been rejected at the polls. Those 7 owe him. Add 7 to 106 and you get 113. That’s an absolute majority.

There’s a price to pay though, apparently. The President wants his party to be part of the Government; hence all this talk of a ‘National Government’. Negotiations between the UNP and the SLFP to divide the ministerial cake, and machinations to secure preferred portfolios to divide the goodies are natural outcomes.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Suffers from many Political Headaches in his role as Prime Minister of a Coalition Govt Termed as National Govt’ »

US Shift in Policy Towards Sri Lanka Shows Western Nations are Bolstering Sirisena – Wickremesinghe Administration – Rajiva Wijesinha

by Shamindra Ferdinando

Former UPFA MP Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha yesterday said that the anticipated change in US policy towards Sri Lanka was aimed atstrengthening the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration.

The US policy shift was not at all surprising because the Obama administration had, in no uncertain terms, made known its desire to effect a regime change in Sri Lanka, Prof. Wijesinha said.

He was responding to the US declaration that it would move a joint resolution in Geneva backing a domestic war crimes probe undertaken by the new administration.

The US successfully moved a resolution at the March, 2014 session calling for an external investigation into the alleged atrocities committed during the closing stages of the armed conflict here.

Continue reading ‘US Shift in Policy Towards Sri Lanka Shows Western Nations are Bolstering Sirisena – Wickremesinghe Administration – Rajiva Wijesinha’ »

Chandrika Kumaratunga Returns to Centre Stage of Sri Lankan Politics and will be in Charge of Ethnic Reconciiation

By

P.K.Balachandran

Former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who has been in the political wilderness since 2005 when the Supreme Court refused to extend her second and last term to November 2006, is now back again at the centre of the Lankan political stage.

It was Kumaratunga who made Maithripala Sirisena the Joint Opposition Candidate in the January 8 Presidential election and helped knit together the grand anti-Mahinda Rajapaksa alliance which put Sirisena in the Presidency.

While keeping out of the power struggle in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), Kumaratunga continues to be a link between Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. But most importantly, she is in charge of ethnic reconciliation, seen by other leaders as a poisoned chalice.

Continue reading ‘Chandrika Kumaratunga Returns to Centre Stage of Sri Lankan Politics and will be in Charge of Ethnic Reconciiation’ »

Swearing in of New National Unity Govt with 30 UNP and 15 SLFP Cabinet Ministers Likely to be on Sep 4

By
Dharisha Bastians

The National Unity Government continued to show teething problems with a further delay expected in the appointment of the new cabinet of ministers as the tussle for portfolios between the SLFP and the UNP continues and the Government navigates a legislative blockade on the number of Ministers allowed by the Constitution.

UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrema said on Wednesday that the Cabinet would be sworn in on 2 September, but sources say the swearing-in could be delayed by a few more days.

A more likely date for the oath-taking could be 4 September, the sources said.

Continue reading ‘Swearing in of New National Unity Govt with 30 UNP and 15 SLFP Cabinet Ministers Likely to be on Sep 4’ »

Mangala Samaraweera Discloses Outline of Envisaged War Crimes Investigation Domestic Mechanism to Nisha Biswal

By
P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lanka has told the United States that it is putting together an independent domestic mechanism to investigate charges of war crimes.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said this to the visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Biswal, at the bilateral talks held here on Tuesday.

Briefing the media after the talks, Samaraweera said that he outlined to Biswal “measures being taken to address concerns regarding alleged human rights violations, including through independent domestic mechanisms.” He did not specify the mechanisms.

Continue reading ‘Mangala Samaraweera Discloses Outline of Envisaged War Crimes Investigation Domestic Mechanism to Nisha Biswal’ »

Former UK Premier Tony Blair Outlines the Seven Principles of Successful Reconciliation in Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture Delivered in Colombo.

(Text of Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture by former UK prime minister the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair)

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Thank you very much Mangala,

It is a great pleasure and honour to be giving this Lakshman Kadirgamar lecture at the Institute which bears his name. Before I say anything else I should say one thing at the conclusion of two weeks’ vacation here: I love Sri Lanka. This is truly an amazing country and we have had the best time. I have to say the last two weeks have been bliss because they have been free from speeches but when I was asked to do this, I wanted to, not only as a mark of respect to the country but also as a mark of respect to Lakshman for all that he achieved and accomplished.

He was a brilliant lawyer, and I know a thing about brilliant lawyers as I am married to one. He was a distinguished statesman and he was also renowned internationally. When he died so tragically 10 years ago the outpouring of respect did not only come from Sri Lanka but from his many friends and admirers from around the world, paying tribute for what he achieved for this country but also for the cause of peace. He was a huge believer in equality between people of different faiths. This fascinates me and takes up a large part of what I do today.

He believed in a Sri Lanka where all people were equal under one law, so Mrs. Kadirgamar thank you very much for inviting me to give this speech in honour of your husband. It is genuinely an honour to be here with you and with so many distinguished members of society in Sri Lanka and to offer you my thoughts at this very important moment, almost a junction between the past and future where Sri Lanka finds itself.

Continue reading ‘Former UK Premier Tony Blair Outlines the Seven Principles of Successful Reconciliation in Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture Delivered in Colombo.’ »

SLFP Looks Set for Long and Acrimonious Power Struggle Between Mahinda and Maithripala

By

Dharisha Bastians

The small village of Medamulana, nestled deep inside the Hambantota District, is a place of tranquility and scenic beauty. Tiny lakes glisten in the bright sunshine, studded with bright pink lotuses in full bloom. Endlessly green paddy fields extend as far as the eye can see, coconut trees dance and rustle in the wind. It is as idyllic as rural Sri Lanka gets.

Unfortunately, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was not the retiring sort. Not for him the quiet life. Not for him elder statesmanship and precious family time. So instead, seven months after his humiliating defeat to his former health minister and presidential challenger, Mahinda Rajapaksa decided to craft the story of his political comeback.

“Mahinda Rajapaksa is a political animal,” says Jayadeva Uyangoda, Professor of Political Science at Colombo University. “He cannot afford to be out of politics.”

Continue reading ‘SLFP Looks Set for Long and Acrimonious Power Struggle Between Mahinda and Maithripala’ »

“TNA will Accept Domestic Investigation if it has International Participation”- M. A. Sumanthiran

By

P.K.Balachandran

The US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Nisha Biswal, has said that the US will be moving a resolution on human rights and war crimes in Sri Lanka at the September session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). But the resolution will be drafted in collaboration with the Lankan government, key stakeholders within and outside Lanka, and the international “core group” on Lanka, she added.

Briefing select media here on Wednesday at the end of a two day visit, Biswal said that the US-led “collaborative” resolution will “reflect” on the way forward for Lanka in its bid to address human rights and governance issues.

Continue reading ‘“TNA will Accept Domestic Investigation if it has International Participation”- M. A. Sumanthiran’ »

“National Govt” to be Sworn in by President Sirisena on Sep 2nd with 30 UNP and 15 SLFP Ministers

by

Chaminda Perera and Disna Mudaliage

Breaking what seemed to be a ‘deadlock’ in the national government formation, UNP Chairman and MP elect Malik Samarawickrema said yesterday that an agreement was reached with the SLFP over its mechanism after extensive discussions.

According to the agreement, the new Cabinet of the national government will be sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena on September 02 after Parliament approves the exact number of members to be in the Cabinet.

Samarawickrema said the SLFP and the UNP have reached a consensus on the portfolios after having a number of discussions with SLFP representatives.

Continue reading ‘“National Govt” to be Sworn in by President Sirisena on Sep 2nd with 30 UNP and 15 SLFP Ministers’ »

“TNA Gets Overwhelming Mandate From Tamil Speaking People in the North and East” says M. A. Sumanthiran


By Shamindra Ferdinando

In the wake of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) winning the lion’s share of seats in the Northern and Eastern electoral districts at the recently concluded parliamentary polls, influential South African Tamil Federation (SATF) has reiterated its support to the four-party political grouping.

The TNA comprises Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), TELO, PLOTE and EPRLF.

In a brief statement issued on Aug. 24, Nadas Pillay, on behalf of SATF said: “TNA’s victory sends a very clear message that the people in Sri Lanka want change and that change should take place immediately.”

Continue reading ‘“TNA Gets Overwhelming Mandate From Tamil Speaking People in the North and East” says M. A. Sumanthiran’ »

Eight Takeaways on 2015 Sri Lanka General Election and its Aftermath


by

Col R Hariharan

After the din of recently concluded general election in Sri Lanka is over, the United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has been sworn in as Sri Lanka’s prime minister. He is poised to work with a national unity government. There are eight takeaways from the election and its aftermath that can help in visualising the future course of events in the island nation.

1. Positive trends:

A number of positive trends have emerged both in the conduct and in the aftermath of elections. People have shown that whipping up of Sinhala nationalist rhetoric or holding up the bogey of revival of Tamil separatism is not enough to win elections. They would rather prefer clean governance than ostentatious of display of power by the rulers. The peaceful conduct of elections holds a lesson for other South Asian nations: if the national leadership is determined it can ensure the government, administration and election commission come together, without working at cross purposes, to conduct peaceful elections. The abhorrent trend of local politicians waving pistols and intimidating the public that had invaded the body politics in recent times. The election has shown they will have to change their act.

Continue reading ‘Eight Takeaways on 2015 Sri Lanka General Election and its Aftermath’ »

Remembering Santasilan Kadirgamar: Intellectual, Activist and Loyal Alumnus of Jaffna College


by

Mahendran Thiruvarangan

When I learnt about Santasilan Kadirgamar’s demise, I felt I had lost a loyal alumnus of my old school Jaffna College and a friend from whose activism I learnt a lot about the significance of inclusive social movements to our quest for justice. My interactions with Silan happened in these two spheres besides knowing him as the father of my good friend Ahilan.

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I had the opportunity to converse with Silan for the first time when both of us were elected to serve the Executive Committee of the Jaffna College Alumni Association (Colombo) in 2009. When I mentioned in my introduction that I was a student in the Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya from where Silan had graduated a half century from then, Silan was curious to know what I was studying and what my academic interests were. We had a lengthy conversation on the history of the Department of English at Peradeniya and Silan recalled his friends who studied English when he was an undergraduate. University of Peradeniya, our common interest in the Humanities and our common political beliefs made our friendship within and outside the Alumni Association stronger in the subsequent years.

Continue reading ‘Remembering Santasilan Kadirgamar: Intellectual, Activist and Loyal Alumnus of Jaffna College’ »

US to Sponsor Resolution at UN Supporting Sri Lanka Position of Domestic Investigation into Alleged War Crimes Instead of International Probe.

By Dharisha Bastians

Sri Lanka looked set to escape a minefield of international action on war crimes allegations with a US Government announcement yesterday that it would sponsor a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next month supporting the Government’s plans for a domestic investigation and reconciliation.

The announcement marks a departure from the previous US position that allegations about atrocities committed in Sri Lanka at the end of the war had to be probed internationally in the absence or failure of domestic processes.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal told reporters at the American Centre yesterday that the US government had decided to offer a resolution at the September session of the UNHRC.

Continue reading ‘US to Sponsor Resolution at UN Supporting Sri Lanka Position of Domestic Investigation into Alleged War Crimes Instead of International Probe.’ »

EPDP’s Douglas Devananda Meets President Sirisena and UNP leaders Seeking Inclusion in Govt as Cabinet Minister

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) leader Douglas Devananda has offered to join the UNP-SLFP coalition.

Political sources told The Island that EPDP leader Douglas Devananda had met President Maithripala Sirisena to explore the possibility of joining the coalition on the side lines of on-going SLFP-UNP deliberations as well as talks among the constituents of the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) regarding cabinet portfolios.

Sources said Devananda has also made representations to the top UNP leadership in this regard. Devananda seeks a cabinet portfolio.

Continue reading ‘EPDP’s Douglas Devananda Meets President Sirisena and UNP leaders Seeking Inclusion in Govt as Cabinet Minister’ »

SLFP Must be Released from Clutches of Mahinda and his Band if the Party Wants to form a Govt


By

Upul Joseph Fernando

Prior to the public rally by Mahinda Rajapaksa confidantes at Nugegoda where they proudly claimed that they would protect the 5.8 million votes of Mahinda, Ranil Wickremesinghe threw a challenge asking Mahinda to contest the general election stating he would reduce that 5.8 million votes to the range of four odd million votes. In the face of Ranil’s challenge, Mahinda did not attack him, but got his confidantes to attack Ranil.

They said Ranil was going mad fearing that Mahinda would contest Ranil. “Come and face me, don’t run away”, said Ranil on the eve of the dissolution of Parliament. Following that challenge, Mahinda opened his mouth to say, ” Ranil did not contest me twice through fear and ran away. This time he cannot escape and he is well and truly caught in the contest”. Mahinda made that comment to the foreign media and scoffed that a man who lost over twenty elections was challenging him. That was what Mahinda announced in style to the country.

Mahinda decided to contest the general election as Ranil was contesting it. Mahinda who lost the presidential election was resting at Medamulana until Udaya Gammanpila and Gamini Lokuge disturbed him. Later Wimal Weerawansa and Vasudeva joined that team.

They told Mahinda, “Sir you won through the southern Sinhala vote. Ranil will not get Tamil votes at the next general election. Those will go to the TNA. The contest will be based on the Sinhala Buddhist vote. Sinhala Buddhist voters hate Ranil. You can easily win if we protect the 5.8 million votes secured at the presidential election’.

That was how they calculated the figures to convince Mahinda. Taking confidence Mahinda woke up in style and asked the confidantes to organize rallies adding he would assess the progress and join.

Continue reading ‘SLFP Must be Released from Clutches of Mahinda and his Band if the Party Wants to form a Govt’ »

Return of Chandrika to Active Politics Paves Way for Rise of the “Bandaranaike Brand”in the SLFP.

By

Rasika Jayakody

“Former President Kumaratunga heads the Office for National Unity. She is also now playing a leading role in the SLFP. And she chaired the Committee which drafted the MoU from their side. President Maithripala Sirisena and the former President Kumaratunga have a moderating influence in the SLFP and I think they are spearheading a movement to revive the SLFP brand, as we call it. We, the UNP never gave up identity; we may have alliances but we never gave up identity. The SLFP is suffering the consequence of submerging their identity in the UPFA and having their personality cults.” – Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, excerpts from his interview with The Hindu on August 24.

Mahinda Rajapaksa can be dubbed as the longest-standing rival of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga within the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

When S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, Kumaratunga’s father, crossed the aisle of Parliament on July 12, 1951 to form a centre-left political party, Beliatta MP D.A. Rajapaksa, father of Mahinda Rajapaksa, also walked beside him. Interestingly, Rajapaksa was not among the MPs with whom Bandaranaike discussed his crossover. Those who discussed the move with Bandaranaike did not follow suit while the MP from Beliatta, much to the surprise of Bandaranaike, crossed the aisle of the House behind him.

There are many anecdotes surrounding D.A. Rajapaksa’s strange and unexpected move. Ironically, despite D. A. Rajapaksa being one of the founding members of the party, he remained in the peripheries when it came to its decision making process. D.A. Rajapaksa was not given a Cabinet portfolio when the SLFP-led coalition came to power in 1956 with an overwhelming majority in Parliament.

Although the Bandaranaike legacy continued in the party from 1951 to 2006, the Rajapaksas were not part of the party’s inner circles until the emergence of Mahinda Rajapaksa as the SLFP leader following his victory at the Presidential election in November, 2005.

Continue reading ‘Return of Chandrika to Active Politics Paves Way for Rise of the “Bandaranaike Brand”in the SLFP.’ »

It is Imperative that Mahinda Rajapaksa Should Retire with Dignity

By

Malinda Seneviratne

It’s easy to offer advice after the fact. Mahinda Rajapaksa had many exit-options. He could have ruled in a way that he could go out, even in defeat, with head held high. He did not. And yet, he had enough popularity and even grudging respect from detractors, to go into quiet retirement, barring of course the possibility that ghosts of wrongs done might return to haunt him.

As the all-powerful executive president everything that happened during his rule either polished his status or took away the gloss. This is why he, more than anyone else, deserves the major share of the kudos for defeating the LTTE. It is also why he, more than anyone else including perpetrators, has to take responsibility for all the wrongdoings during his tenure.

If he wanted to make a come back, then (yes, it’s easy to say), he could he kept away from the circus.

His backers needed him more than he needed them. Even in this election. They used him as pin-up boy in their campaign. They played him for a sucker. He got suckered.

Continue reading ‘It is Imperative that Mahinda Rajapaksa Should Retire with Dignity’ »

UNP- SLFP Memorandum of Understanding to form National Govt to be Amended to Include more Clauses


By

Disna Mudalige

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the SLFP and the UNP to form a National Unity Government will be amended shortly to include more clauses, SLFP acting General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake told the Daily News yesterday.

He said the revised MoU would be announced when it is endorsed by the two parties. “The existing clauses will remain same. We have proposed some more additions to it to further enhance the cooperation between the two parties. The document will be signed soon after a final agreement is reached,” he observed.

He added that discussions were ongoing between the UNP and the SLFP to come to a final agreement on the allocation of ministries.

Continue reading ‘UNP- SLFP Memorandum of Understanding to form National Govt to be Amended to Include more Clauses’ »

“US Will Stand by Sri Lanka as Long as Govt Continues to make Courageous Decisions”- US asst Secy Tom Malinowski

By Dharisha Bastians

A top US diplomat hailed Sri Lanka’s “tremendous progress” towards good governance, reconciliation and democracy during a two-day visit to Colombo, weeks ahead of the release of a UN report on allegations of war crimes committed during the final stages of the war.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asian Affairs, Nisha Biswal, told reporters, at the conclusion of discussions with Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at his ministry yesterday, that her delegation was in Sri Lanka to reaffirm her Government’s strong support for the Sri Lankan people for their commitment towards the institutions of good governance, peace and prosperity.

“We are incredibly proud of the journey that is being undertaken here. The story that is unfolding in this great country is one that stands as a testament to the rest of the world,” Biswal emphasised during her remarks to the media at the Foreign Ministry.

Continue reading ‘“US Will Stand by Sri Lanka as Long as Govt Continues to make Courageous Decisions”- US asst Secy Tom Malinowski’ »

Lakshman Kadirgamar was a Realist but at the same time he was an Idealist”-Mangala Samaraweera

(Text of Address by Foreign Affairs minister Mangala Samaraweera On the occasion of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture held at the Kadirgamar Institute)

I have the honour today, as the Chairman of the Board of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies, to speak a little about my late cabinet colleague Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar and also introduce our guest speaker, the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair.

On 12th August 2005, 10 years ago, this country lost one of her illustrious sons, the Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar. A fearless critic of terrorism, he courted death from the moment he took over the portfolio of Foreign Affairs in those challenging days for our country. Finally, ten years ago, a sniper’s bullets managed to silence him forever. Ladies and gentlemen Minister Kadirgamar was a much loved and much admired Foreign Minister of our country. He earned the respect and admiration of his counterparts, leaders of foreign countries, those of us who were honoured to be his colleagues in Cabinet at the time, and all those who had the pleasure of meeting him. Bestowed perhaps with a prophetic view of evolving global threats, he warned western democracies well before 9/11 that they were being too passive about the activities of terrorist organisations – especially their fund raising and planning activities.

A firm believer in democracy for both developed and developing countries, he cautioned the democracies of the world that terrorists were taking advantage of the very freedom and space which democracy allows, to destroy those systems. He urged that the democracies of the world must stand together to fight this scourge, lest we would lose the values, principles and freedoms that we cherish the most. It was during his tenure as Minister of Foreign Affairs that the funding for the LTTE in western countries including in the United Kingdom in 2001, when you were Prime Minister sir, was stopped through effective legislation. That, in fact, marked the beginning of the end for the LTTE.

Continue reading ‘Lakshman Kadirgamar was a Realist but at the same time he was an Idealist”-Mangala Samaraweera’ »

Mangala,Wijeyadasa and DM Swaminathan Appointed Foreign Affairs,Justice and Re-settlement Ministers Prior to Talks with US Asst Secy Nisha Biswal

By Dharisha Bastians

Three key ministers of the new Cabinet were sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday, ahead of a visit by top US State Department official and high level discussions on the UN war crimes report.

Newly-elected MPs Mangala Samaraweera, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and D.M. Swaminathan were returned as the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Resettlement as the new Government gears up for the September sessions of the UN Human Rights Council and a series of high level diplomatic discussions ahead of that meet.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal will be in Colombo today for talks with Minister Samaraweera and other high level officials of the Sri Lankan Government.

Continue reading ‘Mangala,Wijeyadasa and DM Swaminathan Appointed Foreign Affairs,Justice and Re-settlement Ministers Prior to Talks with US Asst Secy Nisha Biswal’ »

President Sirisena Should Allow UNP to Function Independently Without Forcibly Thrusting the SLFP Into a “National” Govt

By C. A. Chandraprema

In 1994, the day after the August parliamentary election, this writer visited the then president D. B. Wijetunga at President’s House in the Colombo Fort. When I entered the conference room of the president, Mr Dharmadasa Banda, a minister of the then UNP government was having a conversation with DBW. If my memory does not fail me, Mr P. G.Wilson the private secretary to president Wijetunga was also in the room at that moment. Minister Dharmadasa Banda was suggesting to the president that a national government be formed. The SLFP led People’s Alliance had got 105 seats in parliament and the UNP had got 94 seats – a difference of just 11 seats. But in my presence president Wijetunga turned down Minister Banda’s national government proposal, saying, “The whole country wants this lady”. Those were his exact words!

So, bowing to the people’s will, president Wijetunga invited Chandrika Kumaratunga to form a government as her party had got the highest number of seats in parliament. Furthermore, president Wijetunga did not try to force the PA to give ministries to the defeated UNP. President Wijetunga could have done anything he wanted – it was after all he who had the power to appoint the prime minister and ministers. If he appointed some UNP parliamentarians as ministers, the PA could have done nothing. But like a true democrat, president Wijetunga took a step backwards and gave the PA a free hand to select its Cabinet. When Chandrika Kumaratunga’s PA was in turn defeated at the 2001 December parliamentary election President Kumaratunga, too, took a step backwards and gave the UNP a free hand to appoint its Cabinet.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Should Allow UNP to Function Independently Without Forcibly Thrusting the SLFP Into a “National” Govt’ »

19th Constitutional Amendment to be Reviewed and Amended to Further Strengthen Parliament

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The original draft of the 19 Amendment provided for the formation of a national government only once after the recently concluded parliamentary polls and that provision had been done away with as demanded by the SLFP-led UPFA in the last parliament, authoritative sources told The Island yesterday.

Instead, the UPFA wanted the clause that dealt with national government to be a permanent feature, sources said, adding that the original 19 Amendment was aimed at facilitating a national government involving the parties/coalitions that secure the two largest blocks of seats.

Continue reading ‘19th Constitutional Amendment to be Reviewed and Amended to Further Strengthen Parliament’ »

UPFA Constituent Parties will Function as Opposition along with Mahinda Even if the SLFP Pulls out of Alliance

By Dasun Edirisinghe

UPFA constituent parties yesterday said that they were ready to continue their struggle with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as their leader even as a new political force if the SLFP opted out of the alliance.

Addressing the media at Abhayaramaya temple in Narahenpita, former Minister Wimal Weerawansa said President Maithripala Sirisena’s underhand acts in the run-up to the election was reason for the defeat of his own alliance.

The NFF leader said that they would function as the Opposition in Parliament though several UPFA MPs were likely to accept ministerial portfolios in the UNP led government.

Actually, it would not be a national government as all the parties represented in Parliament would not be part of it, Weerawansa said.

Continue reading ‘UPFA Constituent Parties will Function as Opposition along with Mahinda Even if the SLFP Pulls out of Alliance’ »

Ex-Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Questioned by Presidential Commission of Inquiry for Six hours Over Alleged abuse of Power and Misuse of State Resources.

by

Chaminda Perera

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry yesterday questioned former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa over a series of allegations.

He was questioned for six hours. Rajapaksa arrived at the BMICH premises, where the Commission is housed, with two security personnel.

The former Defence Secretary, when asked by journalists about the charges against him, said it was a trivial matter.

Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has faced an array of charges related to abuse of power and state resources while holding the office as Defence Secretary, Presidential Commission of Inquiry sources said yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Questioned by Presidential Commission of Inquiry for Six hours Over Alleged abuse of Power and Misuse of State Resources.’ »

Experiencing Sri Lanka Again as Short Term Observer of 2015 Elections Made Me Feel Christmas had come Early.

By

Taylor Dibbert

Upon discovering I had been chosen as a short-term observer for Sri Lanka’s parliamentary election on August 17, it felt like Christmas had come early.

Dallas to Doha to Colombo. And then on to Jaffna for the election!

When I fly to Sri Lanka from the U.S., I usually feel somewhat slow for about a week or so, but that didn’t happen on this occasion. This time I have hardly ever felt tired; I’ve been too excited to be back, thrilled even.

pic: facebook.com/ElectionsSriLanka

pic: facebook.com/ElectionsSriLanka

Elections. Democracy. Choices. Politics. The food. Arrack. Sri Lanka. Seeing old friends and making new ones.

What’s not to like?

Continue reading ‘Experiencing Sri Lanka Again as Short Term Observer of 2015 Elections Made Me Feel Christmas had come Early.’ »

The Movie “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” Fosters Better Understanding Between India and Pakistan than Official Level Talks


By

Sagarika Ghose

In times of terror attacks and stalled NSA-level talks, a mainstream Bollywood movie with the message of Indo-Pak peace and friendship has become a super hit. Jingoists on both sides of the LoC dominate the discourse but a rollicking picturesque caper that lurches from Himalayas to moonlit desert to Hindi heartland has boldly essayed a heart-tugging cross-border tale that mocks the industry of hatred and bureaucratic officialese that bedevil ties between South Asia’s main adversaries.

SK MOVIE

This is Bollywood as a subcontinental confidence building measure, Bollywood as ambassador of public diplomacy. Bajrangi Bhaijaan, made in times of the Gurdaspur and Udhampur attacks and high tension on the border, has demonstrated the power of civil societies. What’s important is not that Bajrangi Bhaijaan has been made, what’s noteworthy is how readily massive urban Indian audiences are thrilling to its message of friendship with Pakistan.

‘Everyone wants to show stories of hate, because hate sells, and love doesn’t’ – that isn’t the forlorn voice of a peacenik participant at a candle light vigil at Wagah but Nawazuddin Siddiqui playing the role of Pakistani journalist Chand Nawab in Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Desperately trying to hawk his scoop – of the proud Hindi belt Brahmin and Bajrangbali devotee, Pawan Kumar Chaturvedi (Salman Khan in a rather un-Salman like role), the archetypal simpleton with the heart of gold who makes it his life’s mission to help a little lost Pakistani girl find her parents – to uncaring news channels, Nawaz realises that the news cycle has very little space for an Indo-Pak feel good story.

Continue reading ‘The Movie “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” Fosters Better Understanding Between India and Pakistan than Official Level Talks’ »

“Let’s Work it out Within the 13th Amendment and Maximise by Building on it”- Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Tells N. Ram of “The Hindu”.

by N. Ram

The Sri Lankan political situation has taken an interesting turn with the fairly narrow victory of the United National Party in the general election, its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe being sworn in as Prime Minister for the fourth time, and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two main parties, the UNP and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, paving the way for a ‘unity’ or national government. A day after he assumed office, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe spoke to The Hindu in the Prime Minister’s office at Temple Trees on a wide range of issues, including the project of working out a new Constitution for Sri Lanka, finding an enduring political solution to the Tamil question, and livelihood, development, and human rights issues.


Excerpts from the interview

Prime Minister, you announced a very ambitious task: working out a new Constitution for Sri Lanka. The last Constitution of course was in 1978 – you also were part of that process – and before that in 1972. There is a lot of experience going into this. But will this not take a long time?

Well, the SLFP [Sri Lanka Freedom Party] thinks it will take one year and we [the United National Party] think it should take six months. The main issue will be the new system of elections. We are all agreed that it should be a mixed proportional system. But we still haven’t agreed on the break-up between the constituencies and those who come on the general list. There is also the issue of the presidency, with the citizens’ group wanting the executive presidency to be abolished completely while the SLFP is opposed to it. So we said we would have to review the whole thing and then see how we strengthen Parliament. The more we strengthen Parliament… the executive presidency will be whittled away. But we also have to look at the Provincial Councils and how we make them really work. There is a general feeling that it is a white elephant but we have to make them work. Those are the main issues we will have to go into.

So you are confident it can be done within this time-frame?

I think the areas are narrow. If we want to, we can do it. If we get over the issue of electoral representation, then I think we can put the other things into place.

Continue reading ‘“Let’s Work it out Within the 13th Amendment and Maximise by Building on it”- Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Tells N. Ram of “The Hindu”.’ »

Five Full Length Plays and Five One Act Dramas Written by Agatha Christie Discovered in Archives Containing Authors Papers


Ten works by English crime novelist Agatha Christie, including five full-length plays and five one-act dramas, have been unearthed by a British theatre producer.

Julius Green, a Christie expert who has produced more than 250 plays and musicals, found five full-length plays and five one-act dramas written by the creator of the fictional Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, while scouring the archives containing her papers.

Some are previously unknown and the others are long forgotten. The material lay in several archives, including those of Christie’s family and her theatrical producers, to which Mr. Green was given unprecedented access.

Continue reading ‘Five Full Length Plays and Five One Act Dramas Written by Agatha Christie Discovered in Archives Containing Authors Papers’ »

While Many Decent Candidates Lost in Polls Some Murderers,Fraudsters and Crooks Have Got Elected


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Our choices for elected representatives are always a matter of curiosity. What qualities and credentials are we looking in them? A safe guess would be that we didn’t want them to be murderers, fraudsters and crooks. But, take a look at some of those people who polled the most number of preferential votes in certain districts, you will find that logic does not count anymore.

A Chief Minister who is being investigated by the CID and Financial Crime Investigation Division topped the UPFA preferential votes from the Gampaha District.

A former MP who is implicated in a murder came first in the Ratnapura District. Another, rabble rousing Mr Wimal Weerawansa, who is also being questioned by the FCID polled whopping 313,000 votes from the Colombo District.

Continue reading ‘While Many Decent Candidates Lost in Polls Some Murderers,Fraudsters and Crooks Have Got Elected’ »

Return of Sampur Lands to the People is a very big Achievement says TNA Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan

By P K Balachandran

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R.Sampanthan has described the Maithripala Sirisena government’s decision to return 1055 acres of land to the Tamil farmers of Sampur in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province, as a “very big achievement” of the struggle to get back lands seized during the war.

On Saturday, President Sirisena and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga ceremonially handed over land deeds to 25 of the 1272 families displaced from Sampur in 2006, at the start of Eelam War IV.

“The refugees’ ten year struggle would not have borne fruit if the result of the January 8 Presidential election and the August 17 parliamentary elections were different,” commented Kumarasamy Nakesvaran, President of the Sampur Displaced Persons’ Welfare Association.

Continue reading ‘Return of Sampur Lands to the People is a very big Achievement says TNA Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan’ »

UNP Engaged in Talks with SLFP at One Level and with UNFGG Constituents at Another Level to Decide on Ministry Posts

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Discussions are on at two different levels to decide on Cabinet portfolios as well as posts of deputy ministers in the UNP-led ruling coalition in the next parliament.

Political sources said that at one level the UNP leadership had been having talks with its partners, namely Sri Lanka Muslims Congress (SLMC), All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) United Good Governance National Front (formerly the JHU), National Union of Congress (NUW) and the rebel SLFP group accommodated on UNP lists at the Aug. 17 parliamentary polls.

Sources said that the UNP and the SLFP had been engaged in separate talks to pave the way for the latter to accept ministerial portfolios.

A top UNP delegation led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe met President Maithripala Sirisena at his Paget Toad residence on Friday night in this regard.

Although President Maithripala Sirisena was in Trincomalee over the weekend, he had kept track of developments, sources said.

Continue reading ‘UNP Engaged in Talks with SLFP at One Level and with UNFGG Constituents at Another Level to Decide on Ministry Posts’ »

People Request President Sirisena to seek a Second Term of Office says President’s Media Division.

Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena has been asked to seek a second term to fulfill the expectations of the people.

The people of Kinniya made this request when President Sirisena visited the Eastern Province town and met with the local population on Saturday, the President’s Media Division said.

Informing the President that the development expected by them had not yet been received to their areas, the people apprised the President of the problems faced by them. These included the issues on agriculture, lands, health and education.

Continue reading ‘People Request President Sirisena to seek a Second Term of Office says President’s Media Division.’ »

President Sirisena Sends Shock Waves Down the Spines of Rank and File by his Mini-Purge of Pro-Mahinda Elements in SLFP


By

Rasika Jayakody

If there was any politician who foresaw the results of the Parliamentary election on Monday, he was none other than President Maithripala Sirisena.

Within hours of polling closure at 4 pm on August 17, President Sirisena, in his capacity as the SLFP Chairman, acted swiftly to remove 13 members from the Central Committee, the apex decision making body of the party, with immediate effect. He knew the party might have to enter into a reform-phase soon after the election and he needed to consolidate his power in the party before any such process.
Before the Parliamentary election, the balance of power within the SLFP’s decision-making bodies were very much in favour of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as most of the members who served in such committees were appointed by him.

President Sirisena was aware of the fact that he needed to make his own appointments before embarking on post-election internal reforms. As he made the move after the polling was closed, the mini-purge of pro-Rajapaksa elements in the Central Committee did not make any impact on the final outcome of the election.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Sends Shock Waves Down the Spines of Rank and File by his Mini-Purge of Pro-Mahinda Elements in SLFP’ »

UPFA and SLFP Heading for Inevitable Splits as Power Struggle Breaks out Between Mahinda and Maithripala Factions


By Anthony David and Damith Wickremasekara

Supporters of ex-president may form new alliance with other parties, but President warns of tough action against defectors; party leaders meet today to decide on fate of alliance

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party faces an inevitable split, with a section set to support former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and sit as an opposition group in Parliament while the United People’s Freedom Alliance will take a decision today whether the alliance should continue or function as a separate group, the Sunday Times learns.

Continue reading ‘UPFA and SLFP Heading for Inevitable Splits as Power Struggle Breaks out Between Mahinda and Maithripala Factions’ »

New Govt Likely to have 51 Ministers and 40 Deputy-ministers with 33 Ministers and 22 Deputy Ministers for UNFGG ; SLFP will get 18 min and 18 Dep- Min posts


A nation watched Friday as the victor and the vanquished at Monday’s parliamentary elections pledged to form a National Government just after a historic ceremony, televised live, where Ranil Wickremesinghe took his oaths as the 21st Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

President Sirisena is due to swear in on Tuesday a Cabinet of Ministers representing the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). Both the sides are engaged in talks on how the ministerial team which will be large in view of a National Government can be resolved.

Their only option, it has transpired, is to first swear in 30 ministers as permitted in the Constitution. An increase from that number would have to be made only after Parliament approval.

According to the 19th Amendment “…where the recognized political party or the independent group which obtains the highest number of seats in Parliament forms a National Government, the number of Ministers who are not Cabinet of Ministers and the number of Deputy Ministers shall be determined by Parliament.”

Continue reading ‘New Govt Likely to have 51 Ministers and 40 Deputy-ministers with 33 Ministers and 22 Deputy Ministers for UNFGG ; SLFP will get 18 min and 18 Dep- Min posts’ »

UPFA Vote Tally Drops from 5. 8 Million in January to 4.7 in August as “Divide,Terrify and win”Strategy of Rajapaksas fails Drastically.

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

“There is no such thing as charismatic power…only charismatic situations” Daniel Levi.

‘Let’s Arise with Mahinda’ was the theme of the well-organised and well-funded comeback campaign of the Rajapaksa raj.

The truth turned out to be polar opposite. On August 18th, the UPFA collapsed into a crushing defeat with Mahinda, again.

Not only did Mr. Rajapaksa fail to add a single new vote to the UPFA’s January 8th tally; he also failed to retain 19% of the votes he got at the presidential election.

Under Rajapaksa aegis the UPFA’s electoral base eroded by a massive 1.1 million votes, in just seven months, one week and two days.

At the presidential election of January 8th the UPFA got 5.8 million votes. At the August 17th parliamentary election, the UPFA could score only 4.7 million votes.

At the presidential election, the UPFA obtained 47.58% of the national vote; at the parliamentary election its national average went down to 42.38%. That’s a rate of decrease as high as 10.9% in just seven months,

Continue reading ‘UPFA Vote Tally Drops from 5. 8 Million in January to 4.7 in August as “Divide,Terrify and win”Strategy of Rajapaksas fails Drastically.’ »

4.7 Million SLFP/UPFA Voters Seem to have Acted in Unison to Eliminate Virtually All who were Perceived as Sirisena Loyalists.

By

C.A.Chandraprema

Sri Lankan political history can be described in terms of cycles. The first parliamentary election of 1947 saw the beginning of a cycle dominated by the UNP which ended in 1956. The domination of the SLFP which began in 1956 ended in 1965. The UNP had a short run from 1965 to 1970 and in 1970 the SLFP came in for a short run and lost again to the UNP in 1977. This was followed by a long period of UNP domination until 1994.

From there onwards we had a long period dominated by the SLFP until 2015 with a 30 month UNP blip between 2001 and 2004. Whether the change that began in January this year will become a period of UNP domination will depend on how skillfully the UNP handles things from now on. While how the UNP will fare is yet to be seen, one thing that is certain is that the SLFP is in a state of serious decline and it will be an uphill struggle for that party to recover even after the Maithripala Sirisena presidency ends.

In the run-up to the election there was visible turbulence in the SLFP/UPFA which obviously had a devastating impact on their electoral prospects. The president’s address to the nation where he said that Mahinda Rajapaksa will be defeated, the open letter that he sent to Mahinda Rajapaksa a few days before the election saying that even if the UPFA won, he would not be made prime minister and the drastic step of sacking the general secretaries of the SLFP and the UPFA on the eve of the election all dampened the spirit of the pro-Mahinda voters and resulted in a reduction of votes that the party got.

Continue reading ‘4.7 Million SLFP/UPFA Voters Seem to have Acted in Unison to Eliminate Virtually All who were Perceived as Sirisena Loyalists.’ »

Many Defeated Candidates Leapfrog into Parliament as MP’s Through National List Nominations

By Namini Wijedasa

An unprecedented number of defeated electoral candidates, predominantly from the Maithripala Sirisena-led United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), have leapfrogged into Parliament through the National List. Out of 12 UPFA National List MPs, seven had failed to garner sufficient support at the August 17 general election to enter Parliament.

They were edged out by candidates from the same alliance that had polled more votes, but they will now gain a place in the Assembly via a mechanism that many feel was intended for a different purpose—even if the Constitution does not expressly say so.

The United National Party (UNP) has granted one of its 13 National List slots to M.H.M. Navavi. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has taken in Sunil Handunetti as one of its two appointed MPs. Both were unsuccessful contestants at the election. The Illankai Tamil Arasi Kachchu (ITAK) is yet to fill its two slots.

Continue reading ‘Many Defeated Candidates Leapfrog into Parliament as MP’s Through National List Nominations’ »

Only 11 out of 556 Women Candidates Elected to Parliament Despite 52% of Population Being Female.

A total of 556 female candidates from 21 political parties and independent groups contested the general elections but only 11 of them won seats. That is a drop of two female members from the previous 225-seat parliament that already under-represented the 52 per cent-strong female population.

These 11 women represent only 10 of the 22 electoral districts: Jaffna, Colombo, Moneragala, Gampaha, Galle, Ratnapura, Kegalle, Ampara, Anuradhapura and Matale. From the Jaffna district, former deputy minister of women’s affairs Vijayakala Maheswaran (United National Party – UNP) is the only woman elected to parliament, collecting 13,071 preferential votes.

Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle, widow of the late minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle from the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) taking 73,553 preferential votes in the Gampaha District.

Continue reading ‘Only 11 out of 556 Women Candidates Elected to Parliament Despite 52% of Population Being Female.’ »

Many Vacancies Arise as Over Fifty Provincial Councillors Including Three Chief Ministers Enter Parliament as MP’s.

Fifty vacancies have been created within the Provincial Councils (PC) when their members successfully contested the Parliamentary elections. Among the PC members who were elected to parliament at Monday’s general elections were three Chief Ministers from Uva, North-western and the Western Province.

Along with Uva Chief Minister Harin Fernando, UNP PC members Ravi Samaraweera, Vadiwel Suresh and Ananda Kumarasiri will also vacate their PC seats. Northern Provincial Council members Sitharthan Dharmalingam (TNA), Sivapragasam Sivamohan (TNA) and Ramanathan Angajan (SLFP) have also been elected to Parliament, creating three more vacancies.

Also elected to parliament are North-Western Province Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara (UPFA) and the Council’s Opposition leader J.C. Alwathuwala (UNP), along with Sanath Nishantha Perera (UPFA) and four UNPers — Thushara Amarasekra, Sisira Kumara, Hector Appuhami, and Asoka Priyantha Perera.

Continue reading ‘Many Vacancies Arise as Over Fifty Provincial Councillors Including Three Chief Ministers Enter Parliament as MP’s.’ »

Parliamentary Polls 2015:Victors Bask in New Found Glory as Vanquished Lick Their Wounds

By Chrishanthi Christopher

Of those who contested the Parliamentary elections, over 40 lost their seats. While most of them were from the UPFA, there were others from the UNP, JVP and the ITAK. The Sunday Times spoke to some of the winners and losers who had been defeated despite years of experience as politicians.

Young UNP MP Mayantha Dissanayake from Kandy said the 2013 Provincial Council election had been a good experience for his campaign. He said it helped him to build up his vote base. Mr. Dissanayake said he went from house to house meeting people during the campaign. He also said the social media helped him to reach out to the people, gaining him around 30,000 friends on Facebook.

Furthermore, he had used the telephone to reach out to his electorate. JVP’s new face in Parliament, Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa from Kalutara said he was simply lucky. “The UNP failed to field strong candidates to contest the Kalutara district, while the voters rejected the powerful UPFA politicians who were branded as corrupt. Hence, there were a large number of floating votes which worked in my favour.”

The fact that I am a doctor worked to my advantage,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Parliamentary Polls 2015:Victors Bask in New Found Glory as Vanquished Lick Their Wounds’ »

Mr.Rajapaksa and Several Former Members of his Regime Face Prosecution for Alleged Corruption -The Economist

AT THE height of Sri Lanka’s parliamentary campaign, footage taken with a mobile phone went viral. It showed Mahinda Rajapaksa, an authoritarian former president running to become an MP, lunging at a member of the public, his fists clenched, before aides pulled him away. The short film suggested that Mr Rajapaksa already knew things were going badly for his group, the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA).

Sure enough, his hopes of forming a government and becoming prime minister were dashed in the election on August 17th. Admittedly, he won a place for himself in parliament. But his alliance got just 95 of the 225 seats in the legislature. It fell well short of the 144 he mustered in 2010, a year after he presided as president over a resounding military defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels, ending the country’s long and bloody civil war.

It is Mr Rajapaksa’s second big setback. To everyone’s surprise in January he lost a snap presidential election to a former colleague, Maithripala Sirisena. Now Mr Rajapaksa and several former members of his regime face prosecution for alleged corruption related to his nine-year rule.

Continue reading ‘Mr.Rajapaksa and Several Former Members of his Regime Face Prosecution for Alleged Corruption -The Economist’ »

The Pied Piper of Hamlin and the Pied Piper of Polonnaruwa

By

Malinda Seneviratne

Everyone knows the story of the Pied Piper. The one who came to the town of Hamlin, that is. He came to get rid of the rats and he did so by luring them out of every rathole in that unhappy town. They followed his tunes to a river and as he stepped onto a boat they went on to drown themselves. The villagers refused to pay him what was promised. He duly played his pipe again. This time it was the children that followed. They were never heard of again.

It’s an analogy that’s been used often. It is applicable to Sri Lanka’s current political moment too. Maithripala Sirisena contested the Presidential Election as the Reform Candidate. He would clean things up, we were told. He would reestablish law and order. He would amend the constitution to re-empower the citizen by way of scripting in transparency and accountability into process and institution. He would take steps to make representation more meaningful. He was given the power to do so and the arithmetic and political temper of the moment together made for a lot of optimism.

Continue reading ‘The Pied Piper of Hamlin and the Pied Piper of Polonnaruwa’ »

President Sirisena Expands his Control Slowly over the UPFA and its Key Constituent SLFP

By P K Balachandran

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena is slowly but steadily gaining control over the opposition United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and its main constituent, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) which, during and prior to the August 17 parliamentary elections were under the de facto control of former Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

pic: facebook.com/BBCSinhala

pic: facebook.com/BBCSinhala

On Friday, the pro-Sirisena and pro-Rajapaksa factions in the UPFA agreed on a compromise list of people who should be nominated to the 12 “National List” parliamentary seats allotted to the party following the August 17 elections.

Among the nominees are those of the Sirisena faction who had failed to get elected to parliament.
Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Expands his Control Slowly over the UPFA and its Key Constituent SLFP’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe becomes 23rd Prime Minister of Sri Lanka as UNP and SLFP Sign Historic MOU to Form National Unity Govt


By
Dharisha Bastians

Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leader of the United National Party (UNP) which bagged the most seats in Monday’s Parliamentary race,took oaths as the 23rd Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and head of its newly-elected Government yesterday.

pic: facebook.com/ranil.wickremesinghe.leader

pic: facebook.com/ranil.wickremesinghe.leader

In a simple ceremony held at the Presidential Secretariat, Wickremesinghe was sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena at 10:20 a.m., officially kicking off a new cohabitation between the two old allies of the 2015 presidential election.

The pair will lead a national unity Government between their two parties, based on a pact signed soon after the Prime Minister was sworn in last morning.

Wickremesinghe led his party to victory in the 17 August election and secured a record-breaking 500,556 votes to enter Parliament, cementing his claim to the premiership.

The figure was the most number of preferential votes polled by a candidate in the history of Parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka.

Wickremesinghe becomes Sri Lanka’s prime minister for the fourth time in his political career with yesterday’s swearing in.
Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe becomes 23rd Prime Minister of Sri Lanka as UNP and SLFP Sign Historic MOU to Form National Unity Govt’ »

“This victory is a victory for soft power. This victory is a victory for our future.”

by

M.A. Sumanthiran

The Tamil National Alliance has achieved a resounding victory at the 2015 General Election, successfully overcoming the challenges and fierce opposition it faced.

For the second time this year, the Tamil People have shown a clear intention to strengthen the hand of the Tamil National Alliance. They have done so keeping intact the goal of their long term political struggle, and with hope that their lives will be restored.

pic: facebook.com/M.A.Sumanthiran

pic: facebook.com/M.A.Sumanthiran

Our People’s clear recognition of the crucial nature of this election, and their overwhelming response in casting their vote and thus ensuring the victory of the Tamil National Alliance, once again reflects to the world the great political wisdom of the Tamil People. Let me take this opportunity to first humbly express my heartfelt thanks to all those who voted for us.
Continue reading ‘“This victory is a victory for soft power. This victory is a victory for our future.”’ »

UNP Commends Working Committee Member Krishantha Cooray for “Sacrificing” Nomination as National List MP

The United National Party (UNP) said yesterday that it conducted itself in an exemplary manner when deciding on the final National List nominations.

UNP Working Committee Member, Media Director and Political Strategist -  Krishantha Cooray

UNP Working Committee Member, Media Director and Political Strategist – Krishantha Cooray

In a statement UNP General Secretary Kabir Hashim said the party stuck with the policy of not using the National List to give access to Parliament to candidates who lost in the General Election despite many pressures. On the contrary many other parties have done so following the often criticised means.

“UNP has lived up to the true spirit and promise of good governance,” Hashim added.

Continue reading ‘UNP Commends Working Committee Member Krishantha Cooray for “Sacrificing” Nomination as National List MP’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Sworn in as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for the Fourth Time

Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe has been sworn in as Sri Lanka’s Prime minister for the fourth time on Friday August 21st 2015. T Sixty –six year old Ranil as he is popularly known was born on March 24th 1949.

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He has served as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka since 9 January 2015, as Leader of the United National Party since 1994 and as a Member of Parliament since 1977. He is also the leader of the United National Front for good governance(UNFGG)

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Sworn in as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for the Fourth Time’ »

Kumar Sangakkara Talks Candidly About Many Things in Exhaustive Interview


by Rex Clementine

As the curtain comes down on Kumar Sangakkara’s stunning cricket career, The Island posts to the star batsman some questions that have been never asked from him before. In this candid interview, Sangakkara reveals the tension during the Lahore terrorist attack three months before he became a father, his first double hundred on a greenish track in Pakistan, charities that he intends to run after retirement, the values he has learned from the game, his struggles against Zaheer Khan and lots more.

pic: facebook.com/Official.Kumar.Sangakkara

pic: facebook.com/Official.Kumar.Sangakkara

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Here are the excerpts.

The Island: By your own admission, you were an average cricketer at school while your contemporaries like Thilan Samaraweera, Mahela Jayawardene and Aviskha Gunawardene were way ahead. How have you been able to finish with a Test average of 58?

Sangakkara: I think there’s a lot of things that go into it. When you look back upon the game of cricket and your own career, you always realise that these are not things that you do alone. There are so many other contributions that enrich your career along the way that you learn from, you build upon and that will help you with your game. In my case, I had so many people – friends, family, coaches, teammates, opposition players that really lifted my game when I played. All of these factors contribute. And when I look back upon my career, I feel extremely blessed and extremely lucky to have been playing this game for so long and to have played it in the best manner that I could. I think it is important to play it with a sense of wonderment, like childhood wonder, because if you don’t enjoy the game and you don’t thrive in an environment where you are supposed to have fun, and also compete and perform at the highest level, it’s hard to be successful. I have just been in an environment that continually pushed me to get better.

Continue reading ‘Kumar Sangakkara Talks Candidly About Many Things in Exhaustive Interview’ »

SLFP Led by President Sirisena to Join national Unity Govt with UNP but Mahinda Loyalists in UPFA to Oppose Move

By

Dharisha Bastians

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) headed by President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday decided to back a national unity government that will cohabit with the UNFGG which emerged as the single largest party in Parliament in Monday’s election for at least two years.

SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake told reporters that the party’s Central Committee had granted President Sirisena full authority to form a national government under his leadership.

“The President emphasised that a national unity government was necessary at this juncture to overcome international and economic challenges facing the country,” Dissanayake told reporters outside the presidential residence following the meeting.

Asked which party would hold the premiership in the unity government, Dissanayake said traditionally the prime minister was appointed from the party that won the most number of seats in Parliament through an election.Dissanayake explained that President Sirisena had appointed a six-member committee headed by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga to draft a memorandum of understanding to be signed with the UNFGG.

The committee also comprises Nimal Siripala De Silva, Susil Premajayantha, Mahinda Samarasinghe, S.B. Dissanayake and Dr. Sarath Amunugama.

The SLFP Central Committee is reported to have been the scene of some heated arguments when elected MPs loyal to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa rejected the idea of joining the UNP-led national government.

President Sirisena as chair of the SLFP convened a Central Committee meeting at his official residence, yesterday.

Continue reading ‘SLFP Led by President Sirisena to Join national Unity Govt with UNP but Mahinda Loyalists in UPFA to Oppose Move’ »

Chandrika Kumaratunga Attending SLFP Central Committee Meeting After Absence of 10 Years Greeted with Thunderous Applause.

By

Chaminda Perera

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party is to sign an MoU with the United National Party for the formation of a national government for a period of at least two years with the objective of solving burning issues faced by the country.

The SLFP Central Committee which met under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at the latter’s official residence yesterday, approved the formation of a national government with the United National Party led United National Front for Good Governance which bagged 106 seats at the 2015 parliamentary election.

According to UPFA Acting General Secretary Professor Viswa Warnapala, a six member committee was appointed to discuss the formation of a national government.

Continue reading ‘Chandrika Kumaratunga Attending SLFP Central Committee Meeting After Absence of 10 Years Greeted with Thunderous Applause.’ »

SLFP Central Committee Decides Unanimously to Join UNP led National Govt after Signing Memorandum of Understanding.

by Dasun Edirisinghe

Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Central Committee yesterday unanimously decided to join a national government as neither the UNP nor UPFA had succeeded in securing a majority of seats in Parliament.

SLFP spokesman and former minister Dilan Perera told The Island that the party’s CC had met at President Maithripala Sirisena’s official residence and latter presided over the meeting.

He said that members of the SLFP CC agreed to form a national government led by President Maithripala Sirisena.

Continue reading ‘SLFP Central Committee Decides Unanimously to Join UNP led National Govt after Signing Memorandum of Understanding.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe to be Sworn in as Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister for the Fourth Time on Friday Aug 21st 2015

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe will be sworn-in as Prime Minister before President Maithripala Sirisena for the fourth time, at a simple ceremony at the Presidential Secretariat today (Aug 21st)

Wickremesinghe was first appointed as the Prime Minister from 1993 – 1994 after the assassination of former President Ranasinghe Premadasa.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe to be Sworn in as Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister for the Fourth Time on Friday Aug 21st 2015’ »

Ranil Issues Rallying Call from “Temple Trees” Lawn for a New era of Politics and Government in the Country

By Dharisha Bastians

Premier designate Ranil Wickremesinghe issued a rallying call for political consensus and an end to the politics of division and partisanship, in his first address since winning Monday’s crucial Parliamentary poll.

With the stage set to resemble presidential addresses in the White House rose garden, Wickremesinghe addressed the media for the first time since his party claimed victory in the election on the lawn of his official residence Temple Trees.

pic: facebook.com/ranil.wickremesinghe.leader

pic: facebook.com/ranil.wickremesinghe.leader

His wife Maithree Wickremesinghe stood beside him during the address. He invited all parties in Parliament to help him to build a coalition and hailed the beginning of what he called a ‘new chapter in Sri Lankan politics’.

“I want everyone to come together now. Think of the country. Think of the people. We can achieve unity, progress in this development in this country even for two to three years,” he urged.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Issues Rallying Call from “Temple Trees” Lawn for a New era of Politics and Government in the Country’ »

Tamil National Alliance will Support the United National Party Govt says Party Leader R.Sampanthan.

By

T.Ramakrishnan

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will support the United National Party (UNP), which has emerged as the single largest party in Monday’s Parliament election in Sri Lanka.

“In the process, we also expect resolution to the national question in a manner acceptable to all people,” TNA leader R. Sampanthan told The Hindu.

Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance will Support the United National Party Govt says Party Leader R.Sampanthan.’ »

Ranil says Good Relations with India will be part of new Chapter Being Opened in Sri Lanka

By

P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said here on Wednesday, that his country will have good relations with India as part of the new chapter that is being opened with the victory of the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) in the August 17 parliamentary elections.

“A new chapter is being opened in Sri Lanka and good relations with India is part of it,” Wickremesinghe told newspersons after a meeting with his partymen at his office at Temple Trees.

The previous United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government led by Mahinda Rajapaksa had been wary of India and had lurched towards China causing worries in New Delhi. New Delhi sees Wickremesinghe as a friend because it was when he was Prime Minister in 2002-2004 that the Indian Oil Corporation entered Lanka as a major player.

It was also Wickremesinghe who had mooted the idea if a bridge across the Palk Strait which he named “Hanuman Bridge.”

Continue reading ‘Ranil says Good Relations with India will be part of new Chapter Being Opened in Sri Lanka’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa States he will Continue to Engage in Politics and Function Within Parliament

By Dasun Edirisinghe

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday that he would continue in politics to honour the vote at Monday’s election.

He said that he would go to Parliament as a newly elected member on Sept. 01.

“I accept with humility the result of the just concluded parliamentary election. I thank the voters who reposed their confidence in our party despite the unprecedented obstacles that we had to face,” Rajapaksa said in a statement.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa States he will Continue to Engage in Politics and Function Within Parliament’ »

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Invites all Parties in Parliament to Work With Govt in Arriving at Consensus on National Policy


By

Disna Mudalige

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, yesterday invited all political parties representing Parliament to work hand in hand with the Government to arrive at a consensus on a national policy for Sri Lanka.

The Prime Minister extended this open invitation, while making a special statement at Temple Trees premises. He said he would take oaths as the new Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. His wife Maithri Wickremesinghe also took part in the occasion.

“We are taking forward the good governance policy with the President. We contested this election to carry forward a consensus building exercise,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Invites all Parties in Parliament to Work With Govt in Arriving at Consensus on National Policy’ »

Separatist Agenda of Tamil National Peoples Front and Tamil Civil Society Forum Rejected by Tamil Voters

By

Ahilan Kadirgamar

The parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka held risks of polarisation and the re-emergence of authoritarian politics. But the Lankan voters rejected divisive politics for the second time this year. The United National Party (UNP) will likely form the new government, while the moderating presence of President Maithripala Sirisena as leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the engagement of smaller parties like the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) will help reinforce democracy.

Despite the significant change that followed his defeat in the January 2015 presidential elections, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s attempt to make a comeback through Parliament had created much confusion for the voting public. The Rajapaksa-led United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) regrouped its patronage networks and mobilised its business allies, marshalling a well-oiled campaign to bring back the former President. The communal campaign harped on the war victory, propagated hate, and instilled fears of the LTTE re-emerging with a UNP government.

In the North, the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) took up a more aggressive Tamil nationalist stand, attempting to make it to the Parliament by challenging the TNA, which dominates the Tamil constituency. Up country, the Ceylon Workers Congress continued its crass politics in coalition with the UPFA.

Continue reading ‘Separatist Agenda of Tamil National Peoples Front and Tamil Civil Society Forum Rejected by Tamil Voters’ »

Two Factors Seem to Have Contributed to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Second Defeat in Seven Months


By

Jayadeva Uyangoda

There are two significant political consequences following Sri Lanka’s parliamentary elections.

First, the majority of voters have given a verdict in favour of completing the partial political change that began with the presidential election of January 8 this year.

Secondly, and no less important, it has dashed the hopes of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to return to power as Prime Minister.

Parliament was dissolved on June 27 under some peculiar circumstances, although it could continue till April 2016. President Maithripala Sirisena and the coalition that backed him had promised during the election campaign to call fresh parliamentary elections after 100 days of assuming office.

In any case, the new coalition was a minority government, with only about 65 members in the 225-member legislature. Regime stability required a parliamentary majority through fresh elections.

The final tally of seats obtained by the United National Party-led coalition, UNFGG (United National Front for Good Governance) does not however, constitute a majority — a minimum of 113 seats — in the new legislature.

Continue reading ‘Two Factors Seem to Have Contributed to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Second Defeat in Seven Months’ »

Sri Lankan Voters Reject Racism by Defeating Mahinda – UPFA in South and Gajendrakumar-TNPF in North

By

Upul Joseph Fernando

When Maithri removed the UPFA and SLFP Secretaries last week, the Mahinda faction attacked Maithri stating that the latter’s decision to introduce new secretaries to act in those offices was taken before Court by a Tamil lawyer. Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva disclosed the name of that lawyer and identified as a Tamil. The motive was to put the Tiger label on that lawyer and incite racism. The entire campaign of Mahinda was designed to promote the feeling that if Ranil won the polls the LTTE would revive.

Other than spreading the message that if Ranil won he would work closely with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to sell the country to the Tigers, nothing worthwhile was heard from Mahinda’s platform. Even during the last presidential election, Mahinda sang the same song.

Mahinda who made that claim put out an agreement prepared by his party stating that Maithri and Ranil had entered into an agreement with the TNA and made it public. However, the people rejected that exercise of Mahinda and defeated him.

The ‘Let’s rise with Mahinda’ team around him thought that Maithri won the poll with Tamil votes. Hence, they went round the country saying that Mahinda won the Sinhala Buddhist vote at the January polls. They said that when the North-East votes were separated, Mahinda led in the South predominantly Sinhala Buddhist areas.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Voters Reject Racism by Defeating Mahinda – UPFA in South and Gajendrakumar-TNPF in North’ »

Susil Premajayantha and Wishwa Warnapala will Submit Separate National List MP Nominees to Elections Commissioner

By

Rasika Jayakody

There was a time when the UNP, the grand old party in the country’s political sphere, doubted its ability to win national level elections. The UPFA, led by the Rajapaksa family, seemed almost invincible and was fully backed by the state apparatus when it came to elections. Elections were conducted on a staggered basis to allow the ruling party to exploit state power and resources without any restriction. At the same time, a sizable proportion of MPs, who were elected to Parliament on the UNP ticket, had aligned themselves with the ruling party, accepting ministerial portfolios and various other perks.

It was at this point that Harin Fernando, a young and dynamic Parliamentarian of the UNP, stepped out of Parliament to be the Chief Ministerial candidate of the UNP for the Uva Provincial Council election in September, last year. Everyone knew that Fernando was heading for a “losing battle” as his bête noire was Shashindra Rajapaksa, the sitting Chief Minister and nephew of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The 34 year old Parliamentarian sacrificed his seat in Parliament to strengthen the party’s campaign for the Uva provincial Council election.

Continue reading ‘Susil Premajayantha and Wishwa Warnapala will Submit Separate National List MP Nominees to Elections Commissioner’ »

President Sirisena Promises SLFP Backing for a future UNP Government

by Shamindra Ferdinando

UNP-led United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) secured ten out of 22 electoral districts, including Colombo to obtain the largest block of seats at the Aug. 17 parliamentary polls, though it couldn’t secure a simple majority in 225-member parliament.

The UNP won 106 seats, including 13 National List slots, UPFA 95 with 12 NL slots, ITAF 16 with 2 NL slots and the JVP six with two NL slots. The EPDP and the SLMC won one seat each and got no NL slots.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Promises SLFP Backing for a future UNP Government’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Expresses his Gratitude to all those who Voted for the UPFA

By Norman Palihawadana

Former President and Kurunegala District UPFA candidate at the last general election Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said if he had been able to find more time to campaign in the Kurunegala District the result would have been much different and UPFA would have polled more votes.

“I campaigned in Kurunegala only for two and a half days because I had to campaign throughout the country.

“However, I am happy that the UPFA came up on top in Kurunegala. I had to face numerous challenges from within my own party as well, but I am happy with the result.”

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Expresses his Gratitude to all those who Voted for the UPFA’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Unlikely to Bow out Gracefully from Politics Despite his Second Electoral Defeat.


By

Dharisha Bastians

Voters rejected former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s prime ministerial bid yesterday, routing his party in a tight electoral contest and issuing a fresh mandate to the coalition that defeated him in January to carry forward democratic reforms, reconciliation and anti-corruption efforts.

Monday’s Parliamentary contest crawled to a nail-biter of a finish yesterday, with both main parties neck-and-neck until the UNP pulled off wins in the large electoral districts of Gampaha, Colombo and Kandy to clinch the race and win the most number of seats in Sri Lanka’s new legislature.

The parliamentary race ended according to pre-election forecasts, with neither party winning an outright majority, but the UNP registering a slight edge over its rival UPFA. The UNP outpolled the UPFA, winning 11 out of 22 districts, with the TNA outpolling both parties in three districts of the North and East.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Unlikely to Bow out Gracefully from Politics Despite his Second Electoral Defeat.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe in Victory Statement Calls Upon the Nation to Create a New Country with Equal Opportunities for all.

Prime Minister-elect Ranil Wickremesinghe hailed the people’s mandate to carry forward the 8 January revolution and issued a clarion call for unity in the country as he claimed victory for his party in Monday’s crucial parliamentary poll.

“The majority of the people of this country have approved the continuance of good governance and consensual politics endorsed by the people through the silent revolution of 8 January,” Wickremesinghe said in a special statement issued before final results were released yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe in Victory Statement Calls Upon the Nation to Create a New Country with Equal Opportunities for all.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Concedes Defeat in Election Battle but Will Continue War Against Sirisena- Wickremesinghe Govt


By

N Sathiya Moorthy

It’s not always that a trailing leader in South Asia or the rest of the Third World in general concedes an election even before even a fraction of the final results is known. Yet, Sri Lanka’s former president and present prime ministerial aspirant, Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa, has done so twice in eight months.

First, Rajapaksa conceded the presidential polls when only the results from the Tamil and Muslim areas, and early trends from the southern ‘Sinhala heartland’, were known in the early hours of January 9, only a day after polling.

On the morning of August 18, he was reported to have conceded the parliamentary polls, again after the early trends became known a day after the nation’s 65 per cent of the nation’s 15 million voters had cast their lot.

Yet, unlike in the presidential polls, the victory might not have been complete, at least as yet, for Rajapaksa’s electoral rivals. While one-time Rajapaksa aide and confidant, Maithripala Sirisena became president without any issues after defeating him, incumbent Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who again may not command an absolute majority in the 225-member parliament, would have to count on his ‘national government’ concept to carry the day and the nation with him, this time round.

That’s because the Rajapaksa camp is yet to concede the leadership of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the party-led United People’s Freedom Alliance to President Sirisena.

More than once during campaign time, Sirisena had publicly declared his unwillingness and/or unpreparedness to invite Rajapaksa to form a government even if their UPFA came out on the top, with or without an absolute majority.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Concedes Defeat in Election Battle but Will Continue War Against Sirisena- Wickremesinghe Govt’ »

Canadian Tamil Congress Congratulates the Tamil National Alliance on its Resounding Election Victory

(Text of Press Release Issued by the Canadian Tamil Congress on August 18, 2015)

The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) congratulates Mr. R. Sampanthan and the Tamil National Alliance on their resounding election victory in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. The Tamil people have given the TNA, and its leader Mr. R. Sampanthan, a strong mandate to negotiate a political solution.

The Tamil people have also sent a clear message to the new Sri Lankan government and to the international community that they are firmly behind the TNA and its leadership.

It is clear that the Tamil people are anxious to see a reasonable political solution to the long standing Tamil national question.

Continue reading ‘Canadian Tamil Congress Congratulates the Tamil National Alliance on its Resounding Election Victory’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Hopes of Becoming Prime Minister Crash as UPFA Loses Narrowly to the UNP

By

Col 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 Party (UNP)-led coalition in the parliamentary election held on August 17.

In the most peacefully conducted election in Sri Lanka in recent times where over 70 per cent of the people are said 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 support UNP-led government rather than that of UPFA.

In Sri Lanka’s electoral system, out of the 225 parliament members, 196 members are elected through proportional representation system from 22 electoral districts. Each party is allocated a number of seats from the quota assigned to the district in proportion to votes secured by the party. The balance of 29 seats known as national list are allotted to parties according to the country-wide proportional votes they obtain in the election.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Hopes of Becoming Prime Minister Crash as UPFA Loses Narrowly to the UNP’ »

TNA With 69% Votes Wins Five of Seven Seats in Jaffna: EPDP – 1;UNP -1; TNPF Backed by Diaspora Tigers Routed

The Tamil National Alliance(TNA) contesting under the house symbol of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi(ITAK) has registered a significant victory in the Jaffna electoral district at Sri Lanka’s 15th Parliamentary elections held on August 17th 2015.

The TNA polling 207,577 votes amounting to 69.12% of the votes cast has won five of the seven MP seats allocated to the Jaffna electoral district comprising the administrative districts of Jaffna and Kilinochchi.

Continue reading ‘TNA With 69% Votes Wins Five of Seven Seats in Jaffna: EPDP – 1;UNP -1; TNPF Backed by Diaspora Tigers Routed’ »

President Sirisena Sacks 13 Mahinda Loyalists from SLFP Central Committee and Appoints new Members Including Chandrika Kumaratunga

President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the SLFP Chairman, has ordered the removal of 13 members from the party’s Central Committee, SLFP sources said.

The members who have been removed include Rathnasiri Wickramanayake, Susil Premajayantha, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, D. M Jayaratne, Janaka Bandara Tennekoon, Kamala Ranatunga, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Salinda Dissanayake and John Seneviratne, they further added.

The new members will be appointed to the Central Committee.

A senior party spokesman told the Daily News the President, as the party Chairman, is authorised to appoint 25 members to the party Central Committee.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Sacks 13 Mahinda Loyalists from SLFP Central Committee and Appoints new Members Including Chandrika Kumaratunga’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa who is Unlikely to Lead the next Govt says “I will Support Good Policies and Oppose Bad Things”.


Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Tuesday he was unlikely to lead Sri Lanka’s next government as initial results from the general election gave a slight edge to the coalition government.

However, with only one of 22 districts having declared, the shape of the next parliament remains unclear and Rajapaksa’s comments to Reuters stopped short of an outright concession.

“I will support good policies and oppose bad things,” the two-term president, who crushed a 26-year Tamil insurgency in 2009, said by telephone from his southern home of Hambantota.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa who is Unlikely to Lead the next Govt says “I will Support Good Policies and Oppose Bad Things”.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Concedes Defeat in Parliamentary Poll Saying his “Dream of Becoming Prime Minister has Faded Away”.

Sri Lanka’s former president Mahinda Rajapaksa has conceded defeat in parliamentary elections but said he would work as an opposition member of the legislature.

“My dream of becoming prime minister has faded away,” Rajapaksatold the Agence France-Presse news agency. “I am conceding. We have lost a good fight.”

Rajapaksa accepted that his United People’s Freedom Alliance had lost even before the elections chief could announce the final results.

“We have won eight districts and the UNP [ruling United National party] has 11 [out of a total of 22],” Rajapakse said. “This means we have lost. It was a difficult fight.”

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Concedes Defeat in Parliamentary Poll Saying his “Dream of Becoming Prime Minister has Faded Away”.’ »

Sri Lanka Cannot Move Forward if Mahinda Become Premier Under President Sirisena says Prime Minister Ranil

By

P.K.Balachandran

As the month-long campaign for the August 17 Sri Lankan parliamentary elections closed this weekend, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe warned of a constitutional logjam if Mahinda Rajapaksa becomes Prime Minister.

“No Prime Minister can take the country forward while being at loggerheads with the President,” Wickremesinghe said, alluding to the on-going public spat between his rival, former President Rajapaksa, and the incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena.

While Wickremesinghe has good relations with Sirisena, having fought the January 8 Presidential election as allies, Rajapaksa and Sirisena have been at daggers drawn since Sirisena quit his party to fight Rajapaksa as the Joint Opposition Candidate in the Presidential election.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Cannot Move Forward if Mahinda Become Premier Under President Sirisena says Prime Minister Ranil’ »

Only 226 Violations Recorded by Elections Dept as Polls Conclude Peacefully with High Voter Turn out


By

Dharisha Bastians

Sri Lankans voted in yesterday’s parliamentary election in relatively high numbers with several districts recording nearly a 70% turnout and the country anxiously awaits final results later today.

The Elections Department said the counting of postal votes had begun at 5:00 p.m. yesterday. The first postal voting results were to be released by 10.00 p.m. and the first results from yesterday’s vote were expected by 2.00 a.m. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said that since the ballot papers were long, counting could take extra time.

Heavy rains in several parts of the island disrupted election activities in some areas, officials said.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is contesting as his de facto prime ministerial challenger, were the main protagonists of yesterday’s contest to win seats in the new Parliament and form a majority Government.

Both leaders cast their votes in their respective home districts.

Continue reading ‘Only 226 Violations Recorded by Elections Dept as Polls Conclude Peacefully with High Voter Turn out’ »

Three “If’s” and Four “Buts” make the Post – election Environment in Sri Lanka Hazy

BY COLONEL R HARIHARAN

Forecasting elections is hazardous in Sri Lanka. And the general election held on Monday makes the job even more difficult. The three seasoned political stalwarts – former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, president Maithriala Sirisena his foe within the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and Ranil Wickremesinghe leading the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) – are jockeying for power.

Though poll forecasts had predicted Ranil’s coalition having an edge over Rajapaksa’s UPFA, at least twice in the past they were proved wrong. Rajapaksa won the presidential poll in 2009 and lost it in 2014, belying the predictions. The question of both the UPFA and UNFGG coalitions ending up without a majority in the 225-seat in the parliament looms large now. Much depends upon Rajapaksa regaining public credibility for his coalition to win.

A number of ifs and buts, however, make the post election environment hazy .

Continue reading ‘Three “If’s” and Four “Buts” make the Post – election Environment in Sri Lanka Hazy’ »

Even God Cannot Save Tamils if People Vote for Diaspora Backed TNPF – ACTC “Cycle”

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Tamil National Peoples Front (TNPF) which is contesting the 2015 Parliamentary polls under the cycle symbol of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) unveiled its election manifesto in Valvettithurai on August 2nd 2015. The date coincided with the 26th anniversary of the VVT massacre of 1989 where over 30 civilians were killed by the Indian army after an LTTE attack was launched from the VVT hospital premises. The TNPF paid homage to the victims of the 1989 VVT massacre and the LTTE Great Heroes or “Maaveerargal” before commencing their rally at the VVT “Revady Sports Club” grounds. The manifesto was released at the TNPF rally.

SSYP

The ACTC/TNPF is contesting all five electoral districts in the Northern and Eastern provinces. The ACTC list for Jaffna electoral district comprising the Jaffna and Kilinochchi administrative districts is headed by Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam. According to political observers the ACTC/TNPF does not have much support south of Elephant pass. Yet it is fielding candidates in all the Tamil areas in a bid to challenge the political supremacy of the dominant Tamil National Alliance(TNA).

Sri Lankan Tamil politics in the years between 1949 to 1971 were marked by the rivalry between the All Ceylon Tamil Congress(ACTC) contesting under the cycle symbol and the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK)which had the house as its symbol. In an interesting re-play of the past ,the Tamil National Peoples Front(TNPF) contesting under the ACTC cycle symbol is battling the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) contesting under the ITAK symbol of house. The political competition of the past between cycle and house has taken on new forms in the present scenario.
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Three Poetical Gems to Ponder over on the Day of Decision for Sri Lanka’s Progressive Democracy

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

August 17th 2015 is upon us!

It’s the Day of decision for Sri Lanka as it faces yet another election to elect a new Parliament for the Country.

My thoughts and prayers with all Sri Lankans as they cast their votes in what is perhaps the most crucial, controversial and colourful parliamentary poll the Country has seen.

I took some time off from the hustle and bustle of daily life to ponder over this election.

We’ve had many flaws in conducting elections in the past. In a welcome departure the present one has demonstrated a minimum number of deficiencies so far. The poll certainly has flaws but not so many as in the past.

Despite these flaws Sri Lanka can be proud of keeping the light of democracy alive.

Today’s election too would not be perfect but this does not mean that it should be written off beforehand.

In spite of the imperfections and faults Sri Lanka must continue to keep up their democratic tradition alive and strive for greater perfection in the days to come.

For this as many voters as possible should exercise their franchise. They must vote early and go out to booths together in large numbers.

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Analysts Predict the UNP led UNFGG With 95 to 105 Seats will be Single Largest Coalition i new Parliament

By

Dharisha Bastians

Sri Lankans will vote to elect legislators to sit in the country’s 15th Parliament today, in a poll that has become a rematch between former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the coalition that defeated him in the January presidential contest.

Over 15 million voters are registered to vote at 12,314 polling stations around the island in today’s Parliamentary election to choose the new 225-member Legislature.

The Elections Department began the distribution of ballot boxes to polling stations islandwide at 7 a.m. yesterday, and the task was completed by mid-afternoon, election officials said.

The department will deploy 125,000 officials for election duty today, with 70,000 officials ear-marked for vote-counting once polling concludes this evening.

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