Early Bird Gotabaya is Front Runner in Presidential Race But Late Entrant Sajith Is Catching Up Fast

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Gotaphobia”: Who’s Afraid of Nandasena Gotabhaya Rajapaksa? – Part Two

This writer devoted several hours in the past fortnight to communicate with a cross section of Sinhala media personnel in the Southern, Central, Sabaragamuwa, North Western and North Central provinces of Sri Lanka. A few journalist colleagues in Colombo helped to put me in touch with them. Our discussions were focused on the up coming Presidential elections and about how the chief presidential candidates were likely to fare. I was very much interested in their assessment of the ground situation in the pre-dominantly Sinhala areas as opposed to those of the Colombo – based journalists.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Initially I was somewhat doubtful as to whether they would share their thoughts freely with me. Happily they were willing to do so and said that they appreciated my efforts to obtain their views.To my utter delight I found them extremely frank and forthcoming though none of them wished to be quoted explicitly by name and designation. I am very grateful for their helpful input and convey my thanks to them collectively here.

Continue reading ‘Early Bird Gotabaya is Front Runner in Presidential Race But Late Entrant Sajith Is Catching Up Fast’ »

Nine Thousand New Tamil Words Coined by Experts Over a Period of Ten Months Included Officially by the Tamil Nadu State Govt Into the Tamil Language Spoken by 77 Million People Worldwide Including Sri Lanka

By

S.Venkat Narayan


NEW DELHI, November 9:
The Tamil Nadu Government has issued a government order to include 9,000 new Tamil words in the language.

Currently, Tamil has over 4,70,000 unique words, and the over 2,000-year-old language is spoken by 77 million people in India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia and other parts of the globe.

School Education Minister K. A. Sengottaiyan released the list of 9,000 new Tamil words at a function held in Ethiraj College in Chennai on Friday in the presence of Fisheries, Personnel and Administrative Reforms Minister D. Jayakumar and Tamil Official Language and Culture Minister K. Pandiarajan.

Speaking at the function, Minister K. Pandiarajan said the new Tamil words have been coined as a result of the hard work of experts from various fields for ten months.

Continue reading ‘Nine Thousand New Tamil Words Coined by Experts Over a Period of Ten Months Included Officially by the Tamil Nadu State Govt Into the Tamil Language Spoken by 77 Million People Worldwide Including Sri Lanka’ »

Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha Contesting Presidential Elections Independently Under “Owl” Symbol Proposes Devolution of Power Through Pradeshiya Sabhasand Divisional Secretariats Instead of Provincial Councils

By Sandun Jayawardana

Former MP and State Minister Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, who is running as an independent candidate under the ‘owl’ symbol at next Saturday’s presidential election, said he was contesting to draw attention to what had been promised in President Maithripala Sirisena’s election manifesto and to highlight the manner in which those promises could be implemented.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Prof. Wijesinha, who supported Mr Sirisena when he successfully ran for the presidency in 2015, said Mr Sirisena broad-based reforms, but most of them had not been followed up.

Describing the past five years of the Yahapalanaya government as “disastrous,” the academic said he had now completed drafting a new Constitution along the lines of what was promised in Mr Sirisena’s manifesto.

According to him, the first of the major changes proposed is the reduction of executive power.

“We do not say in our manifesto that we are getting rid of the executive presidency. If we replace an Executive President with an Executive Prime Minister as Ranil Wickremesinghe wanted, that is still excessive power,” he said.

The Executive should be controlled by the legislature and should not be subordinate to a Prime Minister, he said.

“As for the electoral system, it should be a German style mixed system as promised in our manifesto,” Prof. Wijesinha said.

Regarding devolution, he said he wanted the devolution of power not through the provincial councils but through divisional secretariats and pradeshiya sabhas, making them a third tier of government. He said this too was a promise made by Mr Sirisena in his manifesto to make the divisional secretariat “the centre of service delivery to the people.”

Continue reading ‘Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha Contesting Presidential Elections Independently Under “Owl” Symbol Proposes Devolution of Power Through Pradeshiya Sabhasand Divisional Secretariats Instead of Provincial Councils’ »

Public Anger in Regard to an Incompetent ‘Yahapalanaya’ Leadership Must not Trap us into Exchanging what was Incompetent for the Infinitely Worse.

by

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Pohottuwa campaigners visiting predominantly Catholic belt neighbourhoods with flyers containing images of blood stained altars of the Katuwapitiya and Kochchikade churches while soliciting the vote for former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa must be reminded that the blame for allowing jihadists to flourish unchecked in Sri Lanka is multi-faceted.

Responsibility for intelligence failures is multi-faceted

Today, as the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) leadership inks electoral pacts with the Rajapaksa-led Pohottuwa, their joint battle cry is that national security is in peril. That is the mainstay of the Rajapaksa campaign. Yet the failings of the United National Party (UNP) is a poor second to the primary leadership failure of President Sirisena as Minister of Defence or the responsibility of the Rajapaksas themselves for nurturing fanatics in the East to act as intelligence spies in their networks who then monstrously evolved to carry out the Easter Sunday attacks. That cannot be just wished away by scapegoating ‘a few’ subordinates. This is to grossly insult the intelligence of the Sri Lankan people.

Indeed, President Maithripala Sirisena’s claim this week that the Easter Sunday jihadist attacks on churches and hotels could have been averted if a ‘few’ defence and security officials had acted diligently will probably qualify as the most shameful if not distasteful statement made by a national leader in recent years. This preposterous claim, made without blinking a Presidential eyebrow as it were, while opening the new Defence Headquarters at Akuregoda, completely bypassed President Sirisena’s own responsibilities as Minister of Defence and abysmal failure as the Head of State at several levels.

Continue reading ‘Public Anger in Regard to an Incompetent ‘Yahapalanaya’ Leadership Must not Trap us into Exchanging what was Incompetent for the Infinitely Worse.’ »

“I cannot begin to understand how a father of two daughters reached the decision to release this monster”? – Open Letter to Maithripala Sirisena From Carloine Jonsson the Sister of Swedish Teen Yvonne Jonsson Killed by Jude Jayamaha Who Received a Presidential Pardon.


Sri Lanka’s outgoing President Maithripaa Sirisena has caused public outrage by pardoning a death row prisoner who had murdered a Swedish teenager in 2005. Jude Jayamaha, from a wealthy, high-profile family, walked free from prison following President Maithripala Sirisena’s highly unusual decision to pardon him.

The victim’s sister, Caroline Jonsson, said the killer had shown no remorse.

Sri Lankans criticised the move online.

Mr Sirisena is not standing in next Saturday’s presidential election. He had failed to get support from his own party to contest the poll.

President Sirisena announced last month he was considering a request to grant Jayamaha a pardon, saying he had behaved well in prison and had been jailed aged 19 “over an incident of impatience”.

Victim Yvonne Jonsson, a dual national whose mother was Sri Lankan, was beaten to death in the stairwell of the apartment block where her family was living in Colombo in 2005 after an argument.

During the trial, the court heard that her skull had been fractured into 64 pieces.

Continue reading ‘“I cannot begin to understand how a father of two daughters reached the decision to release this monster”? – Open Letter to Maithripala Sirisena From Carloine Jonsson the Sister of Swedish Teen Yvonne Jonsson Killed by Jude Jayamaha Who Received a Presidential Pardon.’ »

Why the Tamil National Alliance Decided to Support Sajith Premadasa as the Better Choice Between the Two Main Contenders at the 2019 Presidential Election

By

M.A. Sumanthiran MP

In less than a week, Sri Lankan citizens all over the island will go to the polls to select the country’s eighth executive president. There is no denying that, irrespective of the result, this election will mark a crucial turning point in Sri Lanka’s political history. A stark choice faced voters in the 2015 presidential election.

The people were called upon to choose between perpetuating authoritarian rule and turning a democratic corner. Despite the failures and disappointments of the past five years, I still believe our people made the correct choice that January day.

The 2019 presidential stakes have the same zero-sum quality.

As the country’s largest Tamil party, it was incumbent upon the TNA to make its position on the presidential candidates known to the people. That announcement was made last week. The TNA has endorsed the candidacy of Sajith Premadasa as the ‘better man’ in the 2019 presidential race.

Predictably, the announcement has brought out the worst in the Sinhalese extremists gravitating around Premadasa’s challenger. Allegations of “secret deals” and monetary hand-outs in exchange for the endorsement abound, ironically from the same political formation that admittedly paid to enforce a boycott and disenfranchise thousands of Tamil people in the North and East in 2005.

Our announcement has also escalated the unitary-federal rhetoric, as the SLPP seeks to misrepresent proposed constitutional definitions about the nature of the state, brought about by nearly three years of all-party deliberations, to monger old fears about separatism.

I believe a brief explanation of the terms under discussion is necessary to set the record straight.

Continue reading ‘Why the Tamil National Alliance Decided to Support Sajith Premadasa as the Better Choice Between the Two Main Contenders at the 2019 Presidential Election’ »

The Frontline campaigners of SLPP, especially in the north and east, are collecting voters for Gota through outright hate mongering and Pitting One Community Against the Other

By Shreen Abdul Saroor

“We see only Muslim villages have been developed, but not the Tamil villages. The only way for Catholic and Hindu villages to get developed is to vote for Gota.” -Namal Rajapaksa in Mannar.


“We have to act against Muslims. We Tamil youth have to think and act.”

– leaflet by Kiran youth front for SLPP.

Mannar voters who are living in Puttalam are banned to come in hired private buses to cast their votes – Assistant Election Commissioner, Mannar.

If Muslims do not vote for Gota they will get it properly
– Ali Sabri, PC

Whatever the reason given, in 2005 the vast majority of the Tamils from the North and East and even in Colombo did not go to the polling booths to exercise their franchise. The result, as they say, is history.

Yet it is imperative for that history to now be reflected upon seriously. The President who got elected partly due to the decision taken by Tamils not to exercise their franchise ruled over the entire country for the next 10 years, with grave effects for all.

On the eve of another Presidential election, where some are calling for new boycotts or putting up candidates deliberately to draw votes from the main contenders, the lessons of the 2005 boycott are particularly worth considering.

We have only five more days before we know, what fate lies ahead for minorities in this country. In every campaign platform in the north and east, what I see is racism and hatemongering centred around minorities.

Divide and rule has been the norm of Sinhala Governments since independence, but in this election it has reached a level we have never witnessed before.

Continue reading ‘The Frontline campaigners of SLPP, especially in the north and east, are collecting voters for Gota through outright hate mongering and Pitting One Community Against the Other’ »

Sajith Premadasa’s subconscious prejudices – or probably he is being over cautious not to be accused of pandering to minorities – is preventing him from actively reaching out to ethnic minority voters.

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

When the UNP Presidential hopeful Sajith Premadasa and his backers bulldozed the former’s nomination as the party’s presidential candidate through the UNP executive committee -after a series of mass rallies and implicit threats of party division- their objective was just to have their man on the party ticket. It is unlikely that they thought beyond the nomination until that very moment.

The UNP’s depleting grassroots voters might have preferred Mr. Premadasa over the others, but he also had serious deficiencies in reaching out beyond them.

In the end, the dogged internecine campaign for Sajith’s presidential candidature forced the other probable contender, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to pull out. ( He was reportedly promised the post of prime minister if Sajith wins the presidency, though how that can be accomplished under the provisions of the 19th amendment, without the incumbent Ranil Wickremesinghe voluntarily resigning – other than, short of ousting him from the party leadership through a inner-party coup – is open to question.)

Ranil Wickremesinghe who insisted on running for the presidency until the last moment was a poorer choice. His confidantes deserted him and the Executive committee members that he himself appointed dithered. He finally gave up, paving way for Sajith’s presidential candidature.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa’s subconscious prejudices – or probably he is being over cautious not to be accused of pandering to minorities – is preventing him from actively reaching out to ethnic minority voters.’ »

“National People’s Power manifesto was a progressive set of principles aimed at developing and rebuilding the country” Says JVP Leader and NPP Presidential Candidate Anura Kumara Dissanayake

The Presidential election campaign has almost reached its final stage today. You have ample clues to decide on which candidate to support if you look at the behavioural pattern in most election campaign stages. Most of the people seen on SLPP election platforms today are either owners of arrack factories, liquor bars, illicit rock or sand quarries and gem pits who ought to be behind bars today National People’s Power Presidential candidate JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said

He was addressing a National People’s Power Presidential election rally held in Wariyapola recently.

Continue reading ‘“National People’s Power manifesto was a progressive set of principles aimed at developing and rebuilding the country” Says JVP Leader and NPP Presidential Candidate Anura Kumara Dissanayake’ »

Maithripala Sirisena Grants Presidential Pardon to Jude Shramantha Anthony Jayamaha Who was Convicted Over the Brutal Killing of 19 Year old Yvonne Jonsson at Royal Park in 2005


Jude Shramantha Anthony Jayamaha convicted for the brutal killing of the 19 year old Yvonne Jonsson at Royal Park in 2005 has been granted presidential pardon and most likely will be released today, highly placed sources confirmed to Sunday Observer.

Accordingly the documents relating to the release has been forwarded through the Secretary to the Ministry of Justice to the Prisons Commissioner.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Sirisena Grants Presidential Pardon to Jude Shramantha Anthony Jayamaha Who was Convicted Over the Brutal Killing of 19 Year old Yvonne Jonsson at Royal Park in 2005’ »

Sajith Premadasa is Not the Ideal Candidate or the Best Candidate But He is the Only Candidate Who Can Defeat Gotabaya Rajapaksa.


By

Tisaranee Gunasekara

“We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”
– George Orwell (The Adelphi – January 1939)


“The first duty of the Memory Police was to ensure disappearances,”
writes Japanese author Yoko Ogawa in her tale of an island where things disappear, and disappeared things cease to have any meaning. We can become that island, if we give full rein to our dashed hopes. If Gotabaya Rajapaksa coasts to victory on the tide of our despair, our freedoms will disappear from reality and from memory. Accustomed to our subject-hood, we will forget that we were once citizens who had the right to hold a mirror before our leaders and call them by the names they have earned.

It’s a popular fairy tale trope: the hero kills the monster and claims his reward, a lifetime of happiness with the imprisoned princess.
In January 2010, the ITN held a musical show titled ‘Jaya Jayawe’ (Victory! Victory!). The show opened with a lullaby retelling the ‘heroic saga’ of ‘King Mihindu’ and ‘Chief General Gotabhaya’ who defeated the ‘demons’ threatening the motherland. It ended with a song praising the mother of Mahinda and Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

A political fairy tale with a happy-ever-after ending was what the Rajapaksas claimed for themselves, post-war. They had defeated the Tiger. Now, Sri Lanka was theirs forevermore, to do with as they wish – or so they believed.
That dream of transforming Sri Lanka from a messy democracy into a familial fief was interrupted in 2015. A singular political coalition took on and defeated the Rajapaksas.

The crimes, errors and idiocies of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration had turned what should have been a full stop into an ellipsis. Today, the Rajapaksas are back to reclaim the absolute power they deem to be theirs by right of conquest.

In 2010 and even in 2015, the Rajapaksas made some attempt to camouflage the true nature of their project. This time, the aim of grabbing political and national power for the exclusive use of the family is displayed unadorned. Brother has succeeded brother.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa is Not the Ideal Candidate or the Best Candidate But He is the Only Candidate Who Can Defeat Gotabaya Rajapaksa.’ »

The Presidential Contest Between Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa is a Contestation Between Two Mutually Opposing Political Projects.


By

Jayadeva Uyangoda

Who is winning? This seems to be the question many people these days are keen to find an answer to.

Whenever this question is put to me, my usual answer is one that disappoints the interlocutor: “It is difficult to say. But I can tell you a little bit about what I speculate as the current trend…” Such an imprecise answer can hardly please those who are impatient to hear something to confirm what they wish to be the outcome of the presidential election scheduled for next Saturday.

The difficulty in predicting possible election outcomes is largely due to the rapidly changing dynamics of the ongoing election campaign. The fact that Sri Lanka does not have credible and professional public opinion surveys at election times only adds to the difficulty. What we occasionally hear as survey results are nothing but calculated election propaganda.

Even without weekly data from sample surveys of the patterns of changing voter preferences across the country, some facets of the electoral dynamics can still be discerned.

Although the campaign has started with three dozens of candidates, four candidates quite expectedly emerged leading – Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sajith Premadasa, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, and Mahesh Senanayake. The final race is now narrowed down to one between two candidates, Rajapaksa and Premadasa.

Continue reading ‘The Presidential Contest Between Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa is a Contestation Between Two Mutually Opposing Political Projects.’ »

“One can fear the outcome but still vote with hope. Please vote. We simply mustn’t go back to how things were, just a few years ago”.


By

Sanjana Hattotuwa

The room was paid for, in cash, by someone else. The hotel was chosen because of its location close to the HQ of the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence in 2014. Well before election day on January 8, full access to key websites was given to trusted individuals outside Sri Lanka, to post updates from where they were in the event of complete internet shutdown or pervasive social media block. New SIM cards were bought and a fax machine – because broadband blocks don’t apply to what can be typed out and sent out through other networks and means. Technical investments were made to strengthen key sites and accounts providing updates leading up to, on the day of and just after the election. Data packages from multiple ISPs were procured. In case one network failed or created friction around the production or promotion of critical updates, we could switch to another. A hotel room was converted into an operations hub, with traffic routed through the hotel’s Wi-Fi masked using a VPN. Encrypted messaging apps were used to coordinate movements and operations, as well as to push out updates, in the event key websites were blocked. Contingency plans in the event of a sudden raid were drawn up, to switch information and news operations off-site seamlessly.

Results on the night of the 8th stopped for hours on end. The risible explanation given to some TV stations that called up was that the Election Department’s FTP servers had failed. Something else was going on, and the count, as well as the final results, were being held up. Conversations around this time at Temple Trees, involving the armed forces, the Rajapaksas and other influential members of the regime, featured heavily in the news cycle in 2015. Some who were part of these discussions, a few weeks hence, had entirely forgotten what was covered and who was present. Those of us who didn’t sleep that night were on edge, as music videos, repetitive ads and movies played uninterrupted on channels that were supposed to be broadcasting an endless ticker of results and other updates from the count. TV anchors, at first, noted delays, with no explanation as to why. And then they just didn’t appear anymore.

Continue reading ‘“One can fear the outcome but still vote with hope. Please vote. We simply mustn’t go back to how things were, just a few years ago”.’ »

If and When Gota is Elected President He May Face A Hostile UNP Led Govt Until Fresh Elections To Parliament Are Held in Late April 2020

By C.A.Chandraprema

By this time next week, the results of the presidential poll would be rolling in. It is very unlikely that the final result would have been announced by the time the newspapers hit the newsstands. Indeed the Elections Commission has said that the final result may not be announced till Monday Nov. 18. Be that as it may, the likely scenario at this election is that the government would be defeated.

The Lanka News Web website which can hardly be described as pro-Rajapaksa, observed somberly after the Elpitiya PS election that over 75% of the electorate had voted against the government. Earlier in February 2018, the government had lost the local government elections. The difference in the number of votes between the newly formed Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna on the one hand and the UNP and its allies Mano Ganesan, P.Digambaram, Rishard Baithiudeen and Rauff Hakeem on the other, was 1.4 million.

It is of course true that some of the UNP’s other allies such as the TNA contested separately at that election. However, even the addition of the TNA’s votes would still not close the gap. The fact that the JVP has fielded their own leader as a candidate queers the pitch even further. If not for the JVP’s votes Maithripala Sirisena would not have become President in 2015 despite the tsunami of minority votes that he got.

Continue reading ‘If and When Gota is Elected President He May Face A Hostile UNP Led Govt Until Fresh Elections To Parliament Are Held in Late April 2020’ »

“If I share a post of a quote from the Buddha, Jesus, or the Koran, Am I the author of it and Would It be my Statement? Asks Lankan Envoy to Moscow Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka!

(TEXT OF A PERSONAL STATEMENT ISSUED BY Dr. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA ON THE CULT OF INTOLERANCE AND IRRATIONALITY)

I was horrified to hear a question that Dilka Samanmalee asked Ali Sabry PC on Derana 360. She said that “Dayan Jayatilleka has made a statement that Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was responsible for the Easter attacks because he had paid Zahran”.

Of course, being a highly trained and respected lawyer, Ali Sabry PC rightly omitted all mention of me in his reply, just as I expected he would. Dilka Samanmalee did not source the alleged quote; she did not mention when and where I had said anything remotely like this or tantamount to this. She did not do so because there is no proof—not a shred of evidence; and there is no proof because I said no such thing!

I have never been in the habit of taking legal action against the media because my late father may not have approved, believing as he did in self-regulatory media ethics. But I have to say I am tempted.

I have not written a single article on the election, as I have done during every election since 1982, whatever post I have held at the time.

Continue reading ‘“If I share a post of a quote from the Buddha, Jesus, or the Koran, Am I the author of it and Would It be my Statement? Asks Lankan Envoy to Moscow Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka!’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Clarifies That Fresh Appointments Will be Made to All Current Posts Including that of the Premier After a New President is Elected and that the Person who Enjoys the Confidence of Parliament Will be Prime Minister

By
Disna Mudalige

The currently held portfolios in Parliament, including the post of Prime Minister, will have to be freshly appointed once the election results are released, and the person who has the confidence of Parliament will become the Prime Minister, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday.

The Prime Minister made this response to a question directed at him during the ‘Talk with PM’ event attended by University academics at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel, Colombo, yesterday.

Wickremesinghe was questioned whether he would remain the PM after November 17.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Clarifies That Fresh Appointments Will be Made to All Current Posts Including that of the Premier After a New President is Elected and that the Person who Enjoys the Confidence of Parliament Will be Prime Minister’ »

MCC, ACSA, SOFA with the USA Are Incompatible With International Law


by Tamara Kunanayakam

“[T]here is no friendship when nations are not equal,when one has to obey another and when one only dominates another.”
Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India in Closing Speech at the Asian-African Conference, Bandung, 1955

Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA), the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC) are agreements integral to US national security and self-defense strategies, whose goal is “American Self-Preservation,” an ideology incompatible with the Charter of the United Nations and international law.

MCC, crude and dogmatic alignment with US National Security Strategy

A clarification of MCC’s role in America’s national security and ‘self-defense’ strategies is required. The alignment is crude and dogmatic, designed to advance US influence globally and secure allies and partners by imposing upon developing countries, mostly those branded “failed states,” fundamental political, legal and economic reform of the state apparatus and a ‘rule of law’ that benefits US interests in the long-term.

MCC’s central role was ‘codified’ in the 2002 National Security Strategy of US President George W. Bush, which for the first time contained the controversial doctrine of ‘pre-emptive’ war. It elevated development aid to the level of defense and diplomacy as one of the three pillars of the global “War on Terror.” The current President’s 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS) links US military strategies to the imperative of political and economic reform, claiming consolidation of its “military victories” were made possible only by “political and economic triumphs built on market economies and fair trade, democratic principles, and shared security partnerships”.

One of the most novel and coercive features of MCC is the ‘pre-emptive’ method used to administer aid – it “will reward countries that have demonstrated real policy change and challenge those that have not to implement reform.” Before receiving aid, the country must successfully pass 16 eligibility criteria devised by the Bush Administration ranging from civil liberties to ‘days to start a business.’ In a March 2018 speech on US-Africa relations, the then US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, described the coercive essence of MCC that goes far above and beyond the particular project targeted. Referring to a $524 million compact signed with Cote d’Ivoire to improve its education and transportation sectors, Tillerson declared, “This was only possible after the country had implemented policies to strengthen economic freedom, democratic principles, human rights, and to fight corruption. Spurring reforms before a dollar of U.S. taxpayer money is even spent is the MCC’s model.”

Continue reading ‘MCC, ACSA, SOFA with the USA Are Incompatible With International Law’ »

Sajith Premadasa Says In Special Statement that “if Elected President he would Appoint a NEW Prime Minister Who Could Command the Confidence of the Majority in Parliament.

New Democratic Front (NDF) presidential candidate, Sajith Premadasa yesterday said that he, if elected President, he would appoint a new Prime Minister who could command the confidence of the majority in Parliament.

Issuing a special statement, Premadasa has said that not a single MP who faces allegations of bribery and corruption will be appointed to his Cabinet.

“I will hold a free and fair election as soon as possible and establish a new stable government. I will take in professionals and qualified women into parliament from the National List. Young people and women will be given opportunity and support to contest the coming general and provincial council election.”

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa Says In Special Statement that “if Elected President he would Appoint a NEW Prime Minister Who Could Command the Confidence of the Majority in Parliament.’ »

Sajith Says He Would Appoint a New Prime Minister After Being Voted Into Office Despite Prime Minister Ranil Telling Media That he would Continue to Remain PM During Premada’s Presidential Tenure Also

New Democratic Front (NDF) presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa said once voted into office he would appoint a new prime minister who he felt could command a majority in parliament.

“I will not include any individual accused of corruption in my ministerial cabinet,” he said making a special announcement at a private TV station.

His remarks came after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe recently told reporters that he would continue to remain in his position as PM during Premadasa’s tenure as president as well.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Says He Would Appoint a New Prime Minister After Being Voted Into Office Despite Prime Minister Ranil Telling Media That he would Continue to Remain PM During Premada’s Presidential Tenure Also’ »

DNF Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa Announces He Would “Appoint a New, First-time Prime Minister who Will be Endorsed by the Majority”

Sajith Premadasa is saying that he will appoint a Cabinet of Ministers who are young vibrant and free of corruption allegations if he wins the Presidential elections on Nov 16.

“I will appoint a new, first-time Prime Minister who will be endorsed by the majority,” he said in an address broadcast on his Facebook page.

In the short 11-minute speech he said that the main question he has been asked on the campaign trail is how he would transform the current corrupt political structure of the country.

Continue reading ‘DNF Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa Announces He Would “Appoint a New, First-time Prime Minister who Will be Endorsed by the Majority”’ »

Leaders of the TNA and Its Constituent Parties the ITAK, TELO and PLOTE Urge All People Particularly the Tamil People To Vote for Sajith Premadasa the NDF Candidate Contesting Under the Swan Symbol

(Text of a Statement Issued by the Tamil National Alliance on November 6th 2019 Under the Heading ” Presidential Election – 16th November 2019)

An Election for a President to be democratically elected for Sri Lanka is due to be held on 16th November 2019.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) -The Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) as the party with the third largest number of seats in Parliament desires to state its position, in regard to the said election. The Election is being contested by the candidate of the New Democratic Alliance – Mr. Sajith Premadasa the candidate of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa the candidate of the National People’s Power, Mr. Anura Kumara Dissanayake – the candidate of the National People’s Party, General Mahesh Senanayake amongst several others. The contest as of now appears to be primarily between the first two candidates referred to above.

The people expect the newly elected President to be genuinely committed to –

(1) Democracy, opposed to Authoritarianism and Totalitarianism, that could lead to dictatorial tendencies,

(2) the protection and preservation of the independence of the different institutions of governance, the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary, the Services, in particular, the Public Service, the Police Service, and the Armed services and the different institutions in control of the said services,

(3) Fundamental Rights and Human Rights and

(4)
Justice and Equality and committed to enabling all citizens irrespective of ethnicity or religion, to genuinely partake in Governance, both nationally and regionally leading to the creation of a united undivided and indivisible country in which all citizens, while preserving and protecting their specific identity, feel they are equals and that they belong to one country, just as much as the country belongs to all of them.

The above are lofty aspirations and it would be the duty of the voter to make a well informed judgement as to who best could be entrusted with this great responsibility. An error in judgement could lead to disastrous consequences.

Continue reading ‘Leaders of the TNA and Its Constituent Parties the ITAK, TELO and PLOTE Urge All People Particularly the Tamil People To Vote for Sajith Premadasa the NDF Candidate Contesting Under the Swan Symbol’ »

Public Pressure Stalls Rushed Signing of Millennium Challenge Corporation Pact Amid Conflicting Statements From Govt.


By Lasanda Kurukulasuriya

In the face of intense public pressure, the government appears to have backpedaled on its decision to hurriedly sign the controversial Millennium Challenge Corporation compact with the US before the Nov.16th presidential election. Conflicting news reports indicate there is still much ambiguity as to the government’s intentions, and no clarity as to whether the deal will be brought to parliament ahead of its signing.

Criticism of the MCC deal has come not only from the parliamentary opposition but from diverse quarters including environmental groups and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL). Among the numerous financial grants received in Sri Lanka, the US’s Millennium Challenge Corporation compact seems to be the most unwanted, even as it is thrust upon its recipients with great determination by the donors.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera have vigorously worked towards finalising the $480 million project in isolation from the wider public. The MCC compact unexpectedly got rubber stamped at last week’s cabinet meeting, with President Maithripala Sirisena finally giving his consent to its signing. He had vehemently opposed it previously.

It is reported that a fundamental rights petition has now been filed in the Supreme Court saying the MCC is highly prejudicial to the interests of national security, territorial integrity and the fundamental rights of the citizenry, and violates the constitution. The petitioner, according to reports, seeks an order staying the signing of one or more the US agreements – the MCC pact, ACSA and SOFA.

Continue reading ‘Public Pressure Stalls Rushed Signing of Millennium Challenge Corporation Pact Amid Conflicting Statements From Govt.’ »

SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Draws Applause From Audience at National Muslim Collective Forum Event at Shangri-La Hotel When He Claimed 65% of Muslims are Supporting Him.

By Nisthar Cassim

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) presidential aspirant Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and his ally Ali Sabry PC, made a very strong and seemingly compelling case for the Muslim community to back the former last week at the packed National Muslim Collective Forum at the Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo, with a key highlight being the continuous applause for various statements made by both Rajapaksa and Sabry.

“Under my leadership, I will leave no room for any form of extremism or terrorism by any group,” Rajapaksa said, drawing applause. “I will ensure trust among all communities, promote harmonious co-existence so all can live with dignity as Sri Lankans. We will ensure an environment in which all can follow their religion, do their businesses well, and be gainfully employed. This I will wholeheartedly promise,” he added.

“Trust me,” Rajapaksa appealed to Muslims, adding that any responsibility assigned to him in the past had been 100% fulfilled by him. This remark too was applauded by the audience.

“This new mandate I am seeking is not from one community, but from all Sri Lankan Buddhists, Tamils, and Muslims. I will rebuild the economy and ensure security for all, so trust me and support me,” reiterated Rajapaksa during his speech.

Continue reading ‘SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Draws Applause From Audience at National Muslim Collective Forum Event at Shangri-La Hotel When He Claimed 65% of Muslims are Supporting Him.’ »

Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa Issues Statement Accusing DNF Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa of Including Provisions in His Manifesto Aimed at Dismantling the Unitary State and Creating a Federal State In Its Place.


(Text of a media release issued by the Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa on November 6th 2019 under the heading “UNP presidential candidate’s stand on the Unitary State”)

The chapter on constitutional reform in the manifesto of the UNP presidential candidate contains provisions to replace the unitary state with a formulation that describes Sri Lanka as an ‘undivided and indivisible’ state. This is accompanied by the pledge that governmental power will be devolved to the provinces to the ‘maximum extent possible’. Identical provisions can be seen in the draft constitution tabled in Parliament by the Prime Minister in January this year.

The UNP manifesto also contains provisions to expand the powers and functions of the provincial councils, to set up a second chamber in Parliament made up of provincial council representatives in order to curb the powers of Parliament, to allow the provincial units to raise funds independently, to place district and divisional secretaries under the provincial councils and to create a Constitutional Court which will adjudicate in disputes between the center and the provincial units. Like the draft constitution, the UNP presidential election manifesto also aims to turn Sri Lanka into a loose federation of virtually independent provincial units.

Continue reading ‘Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa Issues Statement Accusing DNF Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa of Including Provisions in His Manifesto Aimed at Dismantling the Unitary State and Creating a Federal State In Its Place.’ »

“Gotaphobia”: Who’s Afraid of Nandasena Gotabhaya Rajapaksa?

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf,

The big bad wolf, the big bad wolf,

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?

Tra la la la la la la la”

– Song Written by Frank Churchill for the 1933 Walt Disney Animated Film “Three Little Pigs”

“Onna Babo Billo Enawaa” was a familiar threat often used by grown -ups to frighten children into obedience in those days. Fear would be instilled into children that the kidnapper with the sack (Goni Billa) would grab them if the kids did not do as they were told. Nowadays few people resort to such threats in dealing with children.

Nandasena Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

In politics however the practice of instilling fear into people for a specific purpose prevails still. An effective psychosis or phobia of certain persons, concepts, processes and projects – very often irrational and/or unjustifiable – are created in the minds of people to manipulate emotions deliberately with the political purpose of whipping up opposition or garnering support for an individual or party.
Continue reading ‘“Gotaphobia”: Who’s Afraid of Nandasena Gotabhaya Rajapaksa?’ »

Who Will Guard The Guardian? Who Will Watch The Watchdog? It Has To Be Us ! But Without Freedom That Will Not Be Possible.

By Radhika Coomaraswamy

Many of us were hoping for a new dawn in 2015. The hope for a “Yahapalanaya” government now leaves ashes in the mouth of many people. It is true they brought us back our freedom and strengthened independent institutions but they failed fundamentally in convincing people that democracy and freedom should be the pillars of our social fabric.

Dysfunction at the top, alleged corruption, bureaucratic performance and resulting chaos has made people clamour for strongmen and dictatorships. The values on which diverse groups came together in 2015- democracy, freedom and social justice- have now become dirty words among many.

In this article I will not focus on personalities. I will just reiterate the case for democracy, freedom and social justice as absolutely crucial for our society and our position in the world and urge the public to vote accordingly. All the candidates must address these issues.

It is obvious that lessons must be learnt and the manner of doing business drastically changed from what failed in the last few years but that is no reason to give up on our values altogether.

Continue reading ‘Who Will Guard The Guardian? Who Will Watch The Watchdog? It Has To Be Us ! But Without Freedom That Will Not Be Possible.’ »

Chief Political Party of Sri Lankan Tamils the Ilangai ThamilArasuk Katchi (ITAK) Decides to Support Sajith Premadasa in Presidential Elections as “The Best Choice For The Tamil People At Present”


The country’s leading Tamil political party, the Ilangai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), yesterday announced it was giving support to NDF presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa in the forthcoming Presidential election. Party sources said that this was an independent decision by its central committee and was not based on any political negotiations or on any conditionality.

“We compared the policies and past performances of the two main candidates and decided that Sajith Premadasa was the best choice for the Tamil people at present,” a party official told the Daily News. ‘ITAK’ translates as ‘Sri Lankan Tamils’ Political Party’ and is the oldest and biggest Tamil political party since Independence and is the dominant party within the overarching Tamil National Alliance (TNA).

Continue reading ‘Chief Political Party of Sri Lankan Tamils the Ilangai ThamilArasuk Katchi (ITAK) Decides to Support Sajith Premadasa in Presidential Elections as “The Best Choice For The Tamil People At Present”’ »

Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK) the Chief Constituent of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Announces Its Support to Sajith Premadasa at Forthcoming Presidential Election


The Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kacchi (ITAK) pledged its support to National Democratic Front (NDF) presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa yesterday.

ITAK parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran made the announcement at a press briefing in Vavuniya yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK) the Chief Constituent of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Announces Its Support to Sajith Premadasa at Forthcoming Presidential Election’ »

Elections Commission Chief Mahinda Deshapriya Backs Down and Withdraws Ban Imposed on ITN Following Protests That His Unilatera Censorship was Favourable To SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Sri Lanka’s Election Commission chief Mahinda Deshapriya withdrew the censorship he slapped on state-owned ITN after protests that his action was supporting Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the main opposition candidate at November 16 presidential polls.

Deshapriya shocked his own fellow commissioners by firing a letter to ITN saying that they are prohibited from broadcasting any politically-oriented programs or interviews from Monday till results of the November 16 presidential election are declared.

However, within hours, he backed down. In another letter to the ITN on Sunday afternoon, Deshpriya said he was withdrawing his original order against ITN.

ITN’s broadcast of an interview on Wednesday night was seen by Deshapriya as unfavourable to Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘Elections Commission Chief Mahinda Deshapriya Backs Down and Withdraws Ban Imposed on ITN Following Protests That His Unilatera Censorship was Favourable To SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

How Tamil Cinema’s Sudhakar, Vijayan, Chandrasekhar, Shankar and T.Rajendar Transformed Northern Youths Into “Manmathans” in the Eyes of Jaffna “Rathis”

By

Anuja Prakash

It’s hard to believe that I was only 8 years old at the time. But a child is observant. Children are also curious. That’s what makes parents nervous.

My uncle was visiting with his family from the UK. In those days, families couldn’t fly back home every year. So every visit was celebrated gloriously. It wasn’t just a family affair. Households and tiny villages celebrated the return of their prodigal son or daughter. The most faithful local hiring car (taxi service) was enlisted pretty much for the entire stay. Visits near and far were planned, along with fun trips to the temple, beach, park and of course the cinema.

It was 1979. My uncle, being still young, decided to take in the latest Tamil movie that had hit the theatres. I was the youngest of all his nieces and nephews. Most times the younger children were kicked out of the group that went to the movies. But my very kind and ‘feeling very happy’ uncle decided that every single person in the family should make it to the movies. Yes!

And so I remember one of my first movies – “Niram maaraathe pookal”. I didn’t know at the time, how this movie would be the beginning of a revolution on our streets.

Continue reading ‘How Tamil Cinema’s Sudhakar, Vijayan, Chandrasekhar, Shankar and T.Rajendar Transformed Northern Youths Into “Manmathans” in the Eyes of Jaffna “Rathis”’ »

NDF Presidential Candidate Sajith Premada’s Election Manifesto Reflects Many of the Salient Points of the Draft Constitution Document Tabled in Parliament by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Early This Year.


by C.A.Chandraprema

UNF presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa launched his election manifesto in Kandy on Thursday. It’s called “Sri Lankawe idiri gamanata seemawak netha: Ekwa gamana yamu.” Loosely translated this would mean “There are no limits to what Sri Lanka can achieve: Let’s go on this journey together”. If there was one section of the population that was waiting eagerly for the launch of this manifesto other than the members of the UNF itself, it was the groups of political parties around the Tamil National Alliance led by R. Sampanthan and the Tamil Makkal Koottani led by C.V.Wigneswaran. The various political parties around these two groupings had held a meeting last Wednesday to decide on whom they were going to support.

However that meeting had ended inconclusively and the decision taken was to wait for the launch of the UNP manifesto which was going to take place the next day. The Northern Tamil political parties had been dithering for weeks unable to make up their minds. Even by the time the postal voting began, they had not made up their minds and only C.V.Wigneswaran had issued a statement calling on the Tamil people to cast their postal votes for a candidate of their choice. The other political parties did not say even that. It was after the end of the first day of postal voting that the UNP candidate released his manifesto. It must be said that the UNP did not disappoint the Tamil political parties that had been waiting for oxygen from the south.

Continue reading ‘NDF Presidential Candidate Sajith Premada’s Election Manifesto Reflects Many of the Salient Points of the Draft Constitution Document Tabled in Parliament by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Early This Year.’ »

Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya’s Ban on ITN Telecasting Political Programs or Providing Live Coverage Criticised by Commission Member Prof.Ratnajeevan Hoole as “Unilateral Censorship, Ill-advised and Stalinist”.


Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday banned state-owned ITN from telecasting any politically-oriented program after accusing it of broadcasting an interview which he said was unfavourable to opposition candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The sweeping censorship of the state television broadcaster also caused a rift within the independent commission. One of the three members said there had been no decision, through consensus or a majority vote, to impose censorship and questioned the ability to carry it out.

The censorship order followed a complaint that remarks of former additional solicitor general Wasantha Navaratne Banda broadcast over ITN on Wednesday night was harmful to Rajapaksa.

In a one-page letter address to the ITN, Deshapriya said the network was also banned from carrying out any live coverage until after results of the November 16 presidential election were declared.

Continue reading ‘Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya’s Ban on ITN Telecasting Political Programs or Providing Live Coverage Criticised by Commission Member Prof.Ratnajeevan Hoole as “Unilateral Censorship, Ill-advised and Stalinist”.’ »

JVP Leader and Presidential Candidate Anura Kumara Dissanayake Says Prevalent National Security Concerns Need to be Tackled with a Political Response and not a Military Response.

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka does not need a military response to tackle prevalent national security concerns; the country needs a sound political response, according to Anura Kumara Dissanayake, leader and presidential candidate of the leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP).

In an interview to The Hindu on Thursday, at the JVP headquarters near the Sri Lankan Parliament, Mr. Dissanayake sought to debunk the “national security” pitch made by prominent contestant Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a former Defence Secretary, drawing many who want a “strong leader”.

His main opponent and the ruling United National Party’s (UNP) candidate Sajith Premadasa, too, has promised to involve former Army commander Sarath Fonseka in national security affairs.

Challenging both, Mr. Dissanayake said the “national security threat”, which has emerged a key election issue following the Easter Sunday terror bombings, must be compared to the civil war years. “The LTTE had its own army, navy and even an air force. They controlled parts of the country. That situation warranted a military strategy and response in the interest of national security.”

Continue reading ‘JVP Leader and Presidential Candidate Anura Kumara Dissanayake Says Prevalent National Security Concerns Need to be Tackled with a Political Response and not a Military Response.’ »

” Constitution Reform Process on the Executive President Acting with the Concurrence of the Prime Minister, Devolution and Electoral Systems Begun by this Parliament will be Completed Without Delay” Promises New Democratic Front Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa in Election Manifesto

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s Presidential hopeful Sajith Premadasa on Thursday promised to complete the constitutional reform process initiated by the current government, if elected to the office.

The ruling United National Party’s (UNP) candidate released his election manifesto in the central city of Kandy, a fortnight ahead of Sri Lanka’s presidential election.

“The Constitution reform process on the executive President acting with the concurrence of the Prime Minister, devolution and electoral systems begun by this Parliament will be completed without delay, along with all stakeholders,” his manifesto said, adding that the “new constitution” will be approved by the people through a referendum.

Continue reading ‘” Constitution Reform Process on the Executive President Acting with the Concurrence of the Prime Minister, Devolution and Electoral Systems Begun by this Parliament will be Completed Without Delay” Promises New Democratic Front Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa in Election Manifesto’ »

Both Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa are “Militarising” Their Presidential Election Campaigns by Focusing Too Much on the War,War Victory and National Security.

By

Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

Two weeks ago, the chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC) came out strongly against using the war victory of 2009 as a campaign prop in the November Presidential election.

Prohibiting such usage he said credit for the war victory could not be claimed by any political party as it belonged to the State of Sri Lanka. The NEC Chairman may have deemed it illegal, but the question is, can one expect any political party to respect his instruction?

It is a fact that war victory has been profusely exploited by political parties as a campaign theme in all the elections so far, not only after the end of the war in May 2009, but also well before that.

Militarism has dominated political opinion of the majority of the Sinhala people. This was an inevitable outcome of the intense campaigns conducted by the Southern Sinhala polity in politicizing the military operations against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during the last four decades. And it remains so even today, despite the fact that ten years have passed since the war ended.

A regrettable reality is that politicians are not allowing the country to move on from the military might/military victory mindset.

Continue reading ‘Both Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa are “Militarising” Their Presidential Election Campaigns by Focusing Too Much on the War,War Victory and National Security.’ »

Will Gotabaya and Sajith Move Away From the Political Culture of Corruption Fostered by Family Bandyism and Catcher Politics?

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The manifestos of the three front runners are now out with hardly any serious discussion on the substance of these electoral junk papers. Public meetings are held by the two lead players at locations that obstruct traffic, and show the cheering crowds, with purple or green flags in flutter, and the Swan and Pohottuva symbols paraded for cheers. The third man with his compass symbol must surely take readings from it as to where he would be at the finish.

The many pages, sections and paragraphs of the manifestos make a whole lot of political promises from free fertilizer to digital advances from one, to free meals, uniforms and sanitary pads from the other. One area hugely ignored by the two lead players is that of corruption. It is the stuff that saw the fall from power of the two brothers included, in 2015, and remains the stuff of deceit and unpopularity of the current government – Sirisena- Wickremesinghe – Premadasa.

How much of corruption will there be in the issue and distribution of free fertilizer or in the giving of free meals, uniforms and sanitary pads? Moving away from all the dirt of corruption that has plagued our governments and society in the past seven decades, and much more since 1978, the promise-talk keeps moving on to the War Heroes. There is now a huge race building up on how the War Heroes, their wives, widows and families would be looked after with the best of favours, grants and facilities, making one wonder why there must be any talk of free fertilizer or sanitary pads.

Continue reading ‘Will Gotabaya and Sajith Move Away From the Political Culture of Corruption Fostered by Family Bandyism and Catcher Politics?’ »

New Democratic Front Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa Launches Manifesto That PLedges a New Constitution, Maximum Devolution to Provinces and a Second Chamber in an Indivisible Strong Nation With a Democratic Pluralist Society

By

Yohan Perera, J. A. L. Jayasinghe and L B Senaratne

New Democratic Front (NDF) Presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa in his election manifesto launched yesterday, pledged to bring in a new constitution which will build a strong nation, to create a democratic pluralistic society and to devolve maximum power to provinces.

He also pledged to set up a second chamber which will comprise provincial council representatives. At the same time, the NDF candidate pledged to create an undivided indivisible nation.

“A strong nation requires the judiciary to be independent of government. To ensure this, the new Constitution will create an independent public prosecutor, appointed by the Constitutional Council. We will move the judicial interpretation of the constitution away from the Supreme Court to a new Constitutional Court which will also adjudicate disputes among different levels of Government, among provinces and the Central Government. and among the provinces themselves,” it said.

Continue reading ‘New Democratic Front Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa Launches Manifesto That PLedges a New Constitution, Maximum Devolution to Provinces and a Second Chamber in an Indivisible Strong Nation With a Democratic Pluralist Society’ »

102 out of 225 MP’s in the Sri Lankan Parliament are from Political Families Where Close Relatives Have also Been or are MP’s Reveals JVP’s Bimal Ratnayake.

Out of 225 members of Sri Lanka’s parliament, 102 members are from political families, whose ancestors of close relatives have also been in the house, a legislator has said, which if correct, tops the hereditary peers of the UK’s House of Lords.

Bimal Rathnayake, a member of Sri Lanka’s Marxist People’s Liberation Party said one research had shown that 102 members of the current parliament came from hereditary political families.

He said children of existing or former legislator find it easy to get elected, riding on the heritage of their forefathers.

“About 80 members of them are highly spoiled children of politicians who have come to parliament on the strength of their parents and do not even attend a funeral of constituents,” Ratnayake said.

Continue reading ‘102 out of 225 MP’s in the Sri Lankan Parliament are from Political Families Where Close Relatives Have also Been or are MP’s Reveals JVP’s Bimal Ratnayake.’ »

Two Main Issues For India Concerning Sri Lanka Are Managing China’s Strategic Power Play in that Country and Containing the Jihadi Terrorist Threat in the Island


By

Col (retd) R Hariharan

Foreign relations have occupied an important place in Narendra Modi’s vision for India during his just concluded first term as Prime Minister. In fact, ‘Neighbourhood First’ was the central theme when he started off as Prime Minister, inviting the Heads of State of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries for his inaugural function in 2015. However, Pakistan’s continued refusal to give up the use of extremist jihadi outfits operating from its soil to bleed India has prevented SAARC from evolving into a full-fledged effective regional grouping. So, India’s relations with its neighbours have, perforce, been bilateral rather than multilateral.

However, after his resounding victory in the May 2019 general elections, Prime Minister Modi invited the heads of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiativefor Multi-Sectoral Technical Economic Cooperation) countries – Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan – for his swearing inceremony on 30 May 2019. This probably indicates Prime Minister Modi’s shift of focus from ‘Neighbourhood First’ to ‘Act East’ involving the BIMSTEC nations. In fact, Prime Minister Modi is slated to visit the Maldives to address the Majlis (parliament), followed by a visit to Sri Lanka within the first ten days of assuming office for the second term. This seems to indicate that India’s foreign policy priority will now be to build strong relations with its IOR neighbours, particularly Sri Lanka and Maldives.

This will also be in keeping with Prime Minister Modi’s SAGAR (Security and Growth for All), launched in 2015, for developing the blue economy of Indian Ocean Rim Countries. The maritime initiative seeks to create a climate of trust and transparency, respect for international maritime rules and increase in maritime cooperation with Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Bangladesh. Though SAGAR has had moderate success, its importance is increasing more than ever before. The growing strategic power play between China and the USA and its allies in the Indo-Pacific is affecting the strategic interests of India and the BIMSTEC countries.

Continue reading ‘Two Main Issues For India Concerning Sri Lanka Are Managing China’s Strategic Power Play in that Country and Containing the Jihadi Terrorist Threat in the Island’ »

The New President Elected on Nov 16 Should Realise That he Has Less Powers Than Those Enjoyed by his Predecessors and Would Therefore Do Well To Discharge his Duties Accordingly

By

Dr.Asanga Welikala

Sri Lanka will elect a new president on 16 November 2019. While unusually that will be neither the current President nor the current Prime Minister, what is less well understood is that the office itself to which the new president is elected will be a new office in terms of its powers and functions.

That is because certain provisions of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, enacted in 2015, cease to operate with the election of Maithripala Sirisena’s successor, with the net effect of further reducing the powers of the presidency.

That will not render the office a titular or ceremonial presidency as under the 1972 Constitution, as some experts have tried to argue, because the president continues to be directly elected by the whole country and in possession of key constitutional functions within the Executive. But it does mean that some important powers and functions so far associated with the office will no longer be available to the new president, together with limitations that have already come into effect with the 19th Amendment.

That the 19th Amendment made fundamental changes to the scope of presidential powers is generally well known. But there is still a lot of confusion about what precisely those changes are, and what consequences they have. Many politicians especially do not seem to appreciate that the presidency is no longer the over-mighty institution it once was.

At least part of the explanation for the constitutional crisis of October-December 2018 was that even those in the highest positions of authority were ignorant of how the 19th Amendment had changed the 1978 Constitution. This lack of knowledge cannot be once again a reason for constitutional crises after the next election. Economic analysts have pointed out persuasively how we can scarce afford new crises.

What follows is an attempt to explain the powers and functions that will – and critically, will not – be available to the President who will be elected to office in November. So as not to vex the general reader, I will avoid making copious references to legal provisions and authorities, as well as avoid too much detail on the minutiae of presidential functions.

I will instead provide a descriptive account of the main features and principles of the framework of executive power after the 19th Amendment, without at the same time oversimplifying the complexities of the system.

Continue reading ‘The New President Elected on Nov 16 Should Realise That he Has Less Powers Than Those Enjoyed by his Predecessors and Would Therefore Do Well To Discharge his Duties Accordingly’ »

Cabinet Authorises Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera To Sign $480 Million Millennium Challenge Corporation Grant That was Long Delayed Due to Objections by President Sirisena

By Chandani Kirinde

In a major breakthrough, the Cabinet of Ministers yesterday approved the implementation of the $ 480 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant, based on a proposal by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera.

While authorising Minister Samaraweera to sign the Compact Agreement with the MCC on behalf of the Sri Lankan Government, Cabinet also approved tax exemptions for related projects, as well as the enactment of a new Act to give legal effect to the signed agreements. “This is a great victory for the Government and augurs well for the future,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

The US Embassy said it welcomed the Cabinet decision. It added that the MCC grant included investments to reduce traffic congestion in Colombo, modernise the bus service, and upgrade inter-provincial roads in the centre of the country. It also includes support for Government initiatives to improve land administration.

“Sri Lanka will retain oversight and control of all aspects of the proposed projects,” the US Embassy added.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Authorises Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera To Sign $480 Million Millennium Challenge Corporation Grant That was Long Delayed Due to Objections by President Sirisena’ »

Sri Lankan Envoy to Russia Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka Firmly Denies Accusations of Conspiring with Mangala Samaraweera to Engage in False Propaganda Implicating Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the Easter Bombings and Strongly Denounces Such Attempts as a Plot to Turn Him Into a Dr.Shafi

(Full Text of a Statement Issued by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Moscow, Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka Regarding Accusations Made against him at a Press Conference in Colombo)

I was shocked to see on the 6:55pm Hiru News on Tuesday Oct 29th 2019 (yesterday) a media briefing by a few MPs described as Catholic MPs of the SLPP, in which one of them, notably Arundika Fernando, accused me of conspiring with Minister Mangala Samaraweera and someone named Thusitha Halloluwe to engage in false propaganda which implicates Presidential candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in the Easter terror bombings. Not a shred of proof is presented for this accusation. The accusation itself is totally false in every single aspect.

I am not engaged in any effort with anyone to implicate any Presidential candidate in the Easter massacres. Like most others, especially Catholics, I eagerly await the appointment of a High-powered Independent Commission to investigate all aspects of that atrocity and the backgrounds and motivations of all those who may be involved, be they individuals or agencies, domestic and/or foreign.

I have not had any contacts or communication with Minister Samaraweera for at least 15 years. As for the other gentleman named, I am afraid I don’t know who he is.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Envoy to Russia Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka Firmly Denies Accusations of Conspiring with Mangala Samaraweera to Engage in False Propaganda Implicating Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the Easter Bombings and Strongly Denounces Such Attempts as a Plot to Turn Him Into a Dr.Shafi’ »

SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapksa Campaigning in Vavuniya Says If Elected to Office he would Rehabilitate the Remaining 274 Ex-LTTE Cadres in Custody and Re-integrate them Into Society

By Dinasena Rathugamage

SLPP Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, campaigning in Vavuniya, yesterday, urged the Tamils to repose their faith in him. They should be not be cheated by politicians unlike in the past, he said stressing that he was focusing on doing his utmost for the welfare of the people.

He said he would rehabilitate more than 250 former LTTE cadres still held in custody and reintegrate them into society under his rule.

Continue reading ‘SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapksa Campaigning in Vavuniya Says If Elected to Office he would Rehabilitate the Remaining 274 Ex-LTTE Cadres in Custody and Re-integrate them Into Society’ »

SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Addressing Political Rally in Jaffna States he would Provide Govt Jobs for at Least One Member in Each Poverty – stricken Family in the North

By

Romesh Madushanka

SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa today pledged to take the Tamil community in the North and East to the future from the past to which they have been confined.

Mr. Rajapaksa, who is in the North attending election rallies, said some people did their best to confine Tamils to the past.

“I am ready to show you the future and I have an action plan to do that. We have already forwarded our plan to generate employment and educational opportunities,” he said addressing a rally in Vavuniya.

Continue reading ‘SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Addressing Political Rally in Jaffna States he would Provide Govt Jobs for at Least One Member in Each Poverty – stricken Family in the North’ »

Is the Simple Picture In Which Sajith Premadasa is Being Exalted as a Great Liberal While Gotabaya Rajapaksa is Being Depicted as a Scary Neo-Conservative Correct?

By D. C. P. Amarasekere

With only a few weeks left for the 2019 Presidential Election, two questions seem to dominate our social conversations and news coverage: “who will win?” and “what will be Sri Lanka’s political destiny?”

In the absence of country-wide scientific polling, the first question is typically answered by using anecdotes, quasi-scientific, social media or social network specific speculations or gossip. The second question, which categorically stems from the liberal quarters of society, is a long-winded lament about the “cruel dilemma” of having to choose between a “neo-conservative” coalition and weak political formations putting up a brave fight to hold on to the last straw of the country’s democracy.

Continue reading ‘Is the Simple Picture In Which Sajith Premadasa is Being Exalted as a Great Liberal While Gotabaya Rajapaksa is Being Depicted as a Scary Neo-Conservative Correct?’ »

Will President Maithripala Sirisena Be Held to Account After Nov 16th 2019 for the Actions Undertaken by him Through his “Constitutional Coup” of October 25th 2018?

By

Dr.Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

A year ago, the country withstood a serious challenge to its governance and government. The Constitutional Coup launched by President Maithripala Sirisena marked a low point in the constitutional and political development of the country in as much as the decision of the Supreme Court and the role of civil society and other political actors in reversing it, held out and indeed holds out the hope that at the end of the day, democratic principles, practices and institutions lie firmly embedded in our body politic.

The actions of President Sirisena ran fully counter to the reform platform and positions he had espoused in his election campaign of 2015. Leave aside the basic tenets of democratic governance, then and indeed thereafter, the trend was towards restoring the balance of political and constitutional power in favour of Parliament and away from the executive presidency, the powers of which were to be considerably clipped, if not the office abolished. Maithripala Sirisena, who had been shopping around for a new Prime Minister even before the debacle of the Local Government elections in February 2018, now proceeded, second time around, to get the Prime Minister of his wishes.

He sacked Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister, appointed his erstwhile rival for the Presidency Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place and prorogued Parliament, in a not so transparent effort to buy time to buy the votes to support his new Prime Minister in the House. He went further and set a date for a general election, oblivious or aware and not giving a damn, that Parliament could not be dissolved before four and a half years of its term lapsed unless Parliament by a two-third majority requested its own dissolution.

Continue reading ‘Will President Maithripala Sirisena Be Held to Account After Nov 16th 2019 for the Actions Undertaken by him Through his “Constitutional Coup” of October 25th 2018?’ »

Sajith Premadasa Must be Credited for Having Dexterously Turned the Toxic Usage of Sinhala-Buddhism by Rajapaksa Followers on its Head By Questioning As To Who a True Sinhala Buddhist Is.


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

This week, a citizen called into a popular (Sinhala) political programme on national television and asked the Minister being interviewed as to why it was that, one year following the 52-day old ‘coup’ in October 2018 installing former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister, no legal action had been taken against rowdy parliamentarians who smashed the Speaker’s microphone, poured water on his chair and threw chili paste into the eyes of policemen guarding him.

As the caller pointed out acidly, if an ‘ordinary person’ had destroyed public property and assaulted law enforcement officers, jailtime would have been certain.

Refuting the anti-incumbency factor

This is a valid question. True to type, the Minister on the receiving end of this enraged query, stammered and stumbled, first saying that the Rajapaksa-led Joint Opposition had opposed taking action against the culprits who belonged primarily to their party and then complaining that the Attorney General has yet to revert on the matter.

So, as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe pats his Government on the back as he did this Saturday night, for constitutionally tackling the ‘coup’ sans spilling a drop of blood, more searching questions arise. The grossly unequal manner in which the law is worked against ‘the powerful’ and ‘the powerless’ defeating ‘yahapalanaya’ (good governance) promises is a major reason as to why this administration has evoked public anger.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa Must be Credited for Having Dexterously Turned the Toxic Usage of Sinhala-Buddhism by Rajapaksa Followers on its Head By Questioning As To Who a True Sinhala Buddhist Is.’ »

Islamic State “Caliphate” Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Detonates Explosive Laden Vrest and Kills Himself Along with Three of his Children After Being Cornered by US Special Forces at Safe House in West Syria Confirms US President Donald Trump


By

Michael Safi and Martin Chulov

The Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has been killed in a raid by US special forces on his Syrian safe house, Donald Trump has announced, ending a years-long hunt for one of the world’s most-wanted terrorists.

Trump said the “impeccable” two-hour operation was conducted on Saturday night in the province of Idlib, one of the few areas of the country still outside Syrian regime control, and that US officials had confirmed Baghdadi, 48, was among those killed.

“US special operations forces executed a dangerous and daring night-time raid in north-west Syria and accomplished their mission in grand style,” he said.
The US president, facing impeachment proceedings and under bipartisan fire for withdrawing troops from the Syrian border, basked in the demise of the self-styled caliphate leader, whose final moments he described in vivid, indulgent detail.

“[Baghdadi] running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way,” Trump said.

Cornered, Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest and killed himself and three of his children, Trump said. “He died like a dog, he died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Islamic State “Caliphate” Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Detonates Explosive Laden Vrest and Kills Himself Along with Three of his Children After Being Cornered by US Special Forces at Safe House in West Syria Confirms US President Donald Trump’ »

43rd Chief Justice of Sri Lanka Shirani Bandaranayake Reveals Her Side of the Story with Candid Detail in her Recently Released Memoir “Hold Me In Contempt”

By Chandani Kirinde

Her impeachment from the Office of Chief Justice seven years ago made headlines across the country and was flashed across the world. While a lot has been written and said about the infamous manner in which Dr. Shirani A. Bandaranayake was removed from office, little was known about her side of the story. That is until now.

In her recently released memoir ‘Hold Me in Contempt’, Bandaranayake lets readers in on her personal and professional struggles during this trying period, when she stood helpless but strong in the face of a relentless campaign against her from a Government which at the time enjoyed unprecedented power.

The decision to put pen to paper detailing hitherto unknown facts about what led to her impeachment was driven by her desire to set the record straight as “there was no clear picture as to what had actually taken place.”

“I thought I should put it down on paper because 10 years down the line no one will know what happened. Even my husband and son did not know certain details which I recounted in the book,” Dr. Bandaranayake told the Weekend FT.

Continue reading ‘43rd Chief Justice of Sri Lanka Shirani Bandaranayake Reveals Her Side of the Story with Candid Detail in her Recently Released Memoir “Hold Me In Contempt”’ »

Court of Appeal Issues Notices on Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera, SSP Anuruddha Bandara Hakmana and HQI Senadhipathi K.D. de Silva Regarding Contempt of Court Application Filed by TNA National List MP Shanthi Srikandarasa

By

S.S. Selvanayagam

The Court of Appeal (CA) today issued notices on Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera and SSP Anuruddha Bandara Hakmana and HQI Senadhipathi K.D. de Silva of Mullaitivu returnable for November 8.

The bench comprising Justices Yasantha Kodagoda (President/CA) and Arjuna Obeysekara after having satisfied on the material placed and submission made ordered to issue notices.

MP Shanthi Sriskandarasa filed the contempt of court application seeking court that they be directed to plead and show cause as to why the court should not take steps to deal with him for the offences of contempt as provided for by Article 105(3) of the Constitution.

M.A. Sumanthiran PC with Kesavan Sayanthan instructed by Judith Dharshika Ariyanayagam appeared for the petitioner. The petitioner is a National List MP of Illankai Thamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) and resident in the Mullaitivu District.

Continue reading ‘Court of Appeal Issues Notices on Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera, SSP Anuruddha Bandara Hakmana and HQI Senadhipathi K.D. de Silva Regarding Contempt of Court Application Filed by TNA National List MP Shanthi Srikandarasa’ »

Ceremonial Opening of Jaffna International Airport at Palaly Event was Botched by Sinhala Officials from Colombo who Organized the Event.

By

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H.Hoole

Last Thursday (16 October) was a great day for Sri Lanka; the Jaffna International Airport was opened. It offered a great opportunity for integrating Jaffna with the rest of Sri Lanka; for tourists from Tamil Nadu (the largest number of tourists coming in from India) to hop over to Jaffna and visit – besides Jaffna – Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee, etc.; and for industrial collaboration with India and industrial powerhouse Tamil Nadu.

It was an event I could not miss. Being from Jaffna, I felt elated that the old airport I had used long ago in the 1960s and late 1980s and 1990s would soon be an international airport. I felt grateful to all those who had made it happen.

‘Doing it for the Tamils’

However, instead of seeing the airport as having national importance, the airport project fell victim to communal jealousy. The Air Force Commander failed to cooperate. When an Indian technical crew on 16 September, after a hard day’s work, asked for tea, he retorted that the Indians were doing it for Tamils and demanded, “Do you expect me to serve you tea?” The Indians, exhausted by 2 p.m., sent a jeep to Kankesanthurai to fetch refreshments.

The problem is that a project to advance the nation, national unity, and our economy, fell afoul of communal passions. It was a project that the Prime Minister had put together with the TNA. Now cast as a favour to Tamils, few Sinhalese, it seems, want to claim ownership.

Continue reading ‘Ceremonial Opening of Jaffna International Airport at Palaly Event was Botched by Sinhala Officials from Colombo who Organized the Event.’ »

President Sirisena Wants to Hang at Least one “Drug Dealer”Before His Tenure Ends If Supreme Court Removes Injunction on Executions

President Maithripala Sirisena, yesterday, promised that he would hang at least one drug dealer before his tenure as President ends if the Supreme Court gave a favourable ruling on his attempts to end a 43-year-old moratorium on capital punishment by hanging drug convicts.

In July, the Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction against the execution of four people until Oct 30. The court is to take up hearing the case on Oct 29.

Addressing the third conference of the Model United Nations, the President said that he had decided to end a 43-year-old moratorium on capital punishment after considering the serious threats to the country posed by drug dealers.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Wants to Hang at Least one “Drug Dealer”Before His Tenure Ends If Supreme Court Removes Injunction on Executions’ »

Rivalry and Rapprochement Between Ranil and Sajith: What Did Happen?

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The political spectacle “Ekwa Idiriyata”(Forward Together) that unfolded on October 10th at Galle face green has elevated the morale of the green party to ecstatic heights. A mammoth crowd – estimated by some of being in the range of six digits – gathered on the shores of the Indian ocean to see, hear and cheer United National Party (UNP) leaders. A festive mood was much in the air as the UNP led Front’s Presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa launched his election campaign with the inaugural rally at the green.

Pic via: FB/UNP

What seemed to have pleased and energized the crowds most was the sight of UNP Leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appearing alongside party Deputy leader and presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa unitedly on a common platform to espouse the latter’s candidacy. Ranil made a rousing speech in support of Sajith while the candidate outlined the policy measures he hoped to undertake when elected president. The speeches were eagerly lapped up by a buoyant audience.
Continue reading ‘Rivalry and Rapprochement Between Ranil and Sajith: What Did Happen?’ »

Sajith Premadasa while addressing JHU Special convention Says His Policies are the same as that of Jathika Hela Urumaya in Giving Prominence to Buddhism and Protecting the Unitary Status of the Country.

By

Ajith Siriwardana

New Democratic Front (NDF) presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa said yesterday his policy was to give prominence to Buddhism and to protect the unitary status of the country.

Speaking at the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) special convention held at the Campbell Park in Borella he said there were no major differences in the policies of JHU and the United National Party (UNP).

“Policies of the JHU are to give prominence to Buddhism and to protect the unitary status of the country. My policies are the same. I don’t think there is much difference in the policies of JHU and the UNP,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa while addressing JHU Special convention Says His Policies are the same as that of Jathika Hela Urumaya in Giving Prominence to Buddhism and Protecting the Unitary Status of the Country.’ »

TNA Parliamentarian Shanti Sriskandarajah Files Petition at Appeal Court Seeking Ruling Against Bodu Bala Sena’s Gnanasara Thero on Contempt of Court Charges for Directly Violating Mullaitheevu Magistrate Court Order

By

Anurangi Singh

Fresh contempt of court papers have been filed against controversial Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Galagodaththe Gnanasara Thera, over his actions in violation of an order by the Mullaitivu Magistrate’s Court, involving a contentious burial on Hindu temple grounds.

The controversial monk is facing contempt of court charges again, only four months after being freed from prison on a presidential pardon, following a conviction for contempt of court that was upheld by the Supreme Court. The monk was serving a prison sentence of six years on the former charge.

The petition was filed by TNA MP Shanthi Sriskandaraja, in the Court of Appeal and will be taken up for support tomorrow.

Continue reading ‘TNA Parliamentarian Shanti Sriskandarajah Files Petition at Appeal Court Seeking Ruling Against Bodu Bala Sena’s Gnanasara Thero on Contempt of Court Charges for Directly Violating Mullaitheevu Magistrate Court Order’ »

“Where Are They?”: The Question of Missing Surrendees Raised By “The Hindu”Correspondent at a Press Conference and the SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Response


By

Chulani Kodikara

Meera Srinivasan, the Hindu correspondent in Sri Lanka, at the first press conference with Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa asked him what happened to the LTTE cadres and others who surrendered to the army during the last days of the war, and who have thereafter disappeared. (See full interview here: https://tinyurl.com/SLPPmedia).

She raised it in the context of a series of questions posed by the journalists who spoke before her on accountability for war related human rights abuses and the fate of UN Resolutions co-sponsored by the present government since 2015, in case candidate Rajapaksa is elected as President.

In response to those questions, candidate Rajapaksa, after some obfuscation and back and forth, stated that there are more important concerns for people in the north and east like jobs and education. As a followup to this response, Meera stated that, even as people are concerned about jobs and education, they also want to know what happened to the people who surrendered and never returned and, since he was at the helm of the army, he should have an answer.

“Where are they?” she asked. Candidate Rajapaksa’s response is instructive.

Continue reading ‘“Where Are They?”: The Question of Missing Surrendees Raised By “The Hindu”Correspondent at a Press Conference and the SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Response’ »

When the Contest is Between a Man who Praises His Own Tail and a Man who is Wedded to Violent Intolerance the Choice Though Cringe-worthy Is Also Very Clear.

By

Tisaranee Gunasekara

“The city has to elect me in full freedom… What I demand is one unanimous and joyful ‘Yes’… And in passing let me add: if anyone’s not for me he’s against me and has only himself to blame for anything that happens.”
– Brecht (The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui)

It was a moment of civility in a season of vitriol. All major presidential contenders met on one stage on October 5 to present their ideas and answer questions. All but one; the current frontrunner Gotabaya Rajapaksa promised to attend but didn’t.

At Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s inaugural media conference, a journalist asked why. His response was characteristic of both the man and of the president he will be if his resistible rise is not resisted. “I have presented my policy proposals on many occasions,” he said, followed by his signature laugh. “Therefore it’s not necessary to go to a place where there are about ten opponents, and one is isolated.”

Mr. Rajapaksa went on to say that he doesn’t like debates and discussions. All he wants is to work. Yet when he was asked how he would finance his expensive promises (such as free fertiliser) and how he would handle the debt problem, he turned his confused gaze towards his older brother. Mahinda Rajapaksa had no real answers either, but managed to deflect the danger with empty assertions.

Continue reading ‘When the Contest is Between a Man who Praises His Own Tail and a Man who is Wedded to Violent Intolerance the Choice Though Cringe-worthy Is Also Very Clear.’ »

It is not yet Too Late to Form an Informal Coalition of Democratic Forces Backing Sajith Premadasa, Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Mahesh Senanayake to Defeat the Neo-right wing and Neo-Conservative Coalition.

By

Jayadeva Uyangoda

With the presidential election campaign now well underway, it appears that the contest is between the two main candidates, Sajith Premadasa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa. In the absence of scientific polling in Sri Lanka, no credible voter sentiment analysis is available. Therefore we are all compelled to rely on speculation.

Outside the two main candidates, Anura Kumara Dissanayake who leads the JVP alliance and former Army Chief Mahesh Senanayake have emerged as the two alternative candidates who have managed to garner the most amount of public attention. Between the pair, Dissanayake’s presidential campaign appears to command more support, with the crux of his base being the well-oiled and efficient Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna.

Moreover, Anura Dissanayake is renowned islandwide for his oratory prowess. During the October 2018 attempted coup, it was Dissanayake who became the most formidable speaker against the anti-democratic conspiracy.

Mahesh Senanayake has come forward as an apolitical candidate claiming to represent the political aspirations of the civil society and community of professionals. He reiterates that his military background or identity is immaterial. His mission is independent, democratic and corruption-free governance, fundamental rights and ethnic harmony.

Thematically, there is hardly a difference between the political appeals of them two contestants. Both are appealing to the voters who are fed up with two main parties, the UNP and the SLPP, their political leadership, policies, political practices and governance. The differences are in their individual styles of politics and thematic emphases.

Continue reading ‘It is not yet Too Late to Form an Informal Coalition of Democratic Forces Backing Sajith Premadasa, Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Mahesh Senanayake to Defeat the Neo-right wing and Neo-Conservative Coalition.’ »

Why the Petition Filed by Civil Society Activists Chandragupta Thenuwara and Gamini Viyangoda Seeking Writ of Certiorari Against SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Did Not Succeed in the Court of Appeal

By C. A. Chandraprema

Yahapalana activists Gamini Viyangoda and Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara filed an application with the Court of Appeal, seeking a writ of Certiorari to annul Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship certificate and an interim order preventing him from acting on the basis that he is a citizen of Sri Lanka. Their argument was that if GR’s Dual Citizenship Certificate was invalid, his Sri Lankan Passport and National Identity Card were also invalid.

The petition was heard before a three member bench comprising of Justice Yasantha Kodagoda, President of the Court of Appeal and Justices Mahinda Samayawardhena, and Arjuna Obeyesekere. At the outset, the Court pointed out that Counsel representing all parties agreed that the Court would pronounce its order on 4 October 2019, and deliver reasons on a subsequent date. (The reasons were delivered accordingly, on 15 October)

Continue reading ‘Why the Petition Filed by Civil Society Activists Chandragupta Thenuwara and Gamini Viyangoda Seeking Writ of Certiorari Against SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Did Not Succeed in the Court of Appeal’ »

Both Chief Presidential Candidates Engage in “Family Politics” With Sajith Talking About What His Father Did or Promised and Gotabaya Not Moving Away From His Elder Brother’s Performance or Record

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

As the polls campaign gets under way there is a growing similarity between the two lead players in what they offer to the people, and what they don’t.

The Green and Purple offers have strong links to one’s family. Sajith keeps reminding us of what his father did or promised – like preparing a title deed to the people on the political assets of one’s father. Gota sees no way of moving away from what his elder brother and former president did, in what is the best or worst known record of family politics in this country.

Free school uniforms, mid-day meals and such offers at public expense, and not from any private funds of those who make the promise, are the stuff of promise-politics that has dominated our national election campaigns from parliamentary politics to the presidential exercise. Let us not forget the amount of rice that Dudley Senanayake promised the people, and how Sirimavo Bandaranaike met that with the promise of rice from the Moon.

Continue reading ‘Both Chief Presidential Candidates Engage in “Family Politics” With Sajith Talking About What His Father Did or Promised and Gotabaya Not Moving Away From His Elder Brother’s Performance or Record’ »

Presidential Election Candidate Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha and Mr. Navin Gooneratne, Founder of the Movement to Unite Motherland Sign Memorandum of Understanding To Take Forward Envisaged System Changes To Develop the Nation.


The Movement to Unite Motherland (MUM) issuing a statement says it “joins with an outstanding academic and political visionary to take forward the system changes it promotes, through his candidature at the Presidential Election 2019.

“Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, who has three earned Degrees from the University of Oxford will combine his vision for change with the New Political Order presented by Movement to Unite Motherland, to provide a transparent, accountable, non-divisive political system ensuring people’s sovereignty and power to the people.

Continue reading ‘Presidential Election Candidate Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha and Mr. Navin Gooneratne, Founder of the Movement to Unite Motherland Sign Memorandum of Understanding To Take Forward Envisaged System Changes To Develop the Nation.’ »

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera Issues Statement in Response to Comments Made by Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa at Media Conference.


(Text of Press Release Carrying Statement Issued by the Minister of Finance,Mangala Samaraweera, MP)

At a Press Conference on 15 October 2019, Presidential Candidate of the SLPP, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, dismissed Sri Lanka’s commitments to our citizens on human rights, rule of law, and processes for truth-seeking, reparations, and guarantees of non-recurrence including Resolution 30/1. He also dismissed the need to address the grievances of families from all parts of our country whose loved ones including security forces personnel are missing. With the arrogance of an authoritarian regent, he remarked that the “people in the North and East have more important issues: jobs, education, etc, and we can’t hang on to old things; we have to move forward”. By saying this, he claimed that he and he alone knows what is best for each and every individual citizen in this country including how they should think and feel including in the face of personal tragedy.

Listening to this, I thought that it is my duty to remind the citizens of our country about the history of how, during the Rajapaksa-era, we erred in dealing with our conflict-ridden past, isolating our country on the international stage and how we regained our stature following the January 2015 Presidential Election by reasserting our sovereign right to deal with our own issues locally.

Continue reading ‘Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera Issues Statement in Response to Comments Made by Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa at Media Conference.’ »

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Thanks India for Helping War Affected Sri Lanka and Looks Forward to Closer Collaboration Between South India and Jaffna at Ceremonial Opening of International Airport at Palaly in Northern Sri Lanka.

By

T.K. Rohit

Amid pouring rain, an ATR 72-600 aircraft of Alliance Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India, completed its maiden international flight and touched down at the Jaffna International Airport, marking an important moment in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province.

The flight carried Ashwani Lohani, Air India chairman and managing director; C.S. Subbiah, Alliance Air CEO; a delegation of Air India staff and a few Indian journalists. They landed a few minutes after President Maithripala Sirisena inaugurated the airport complex by unveiling a plaque.

“India has been helping us in the development of war-affected Jaffna. There is tremendous potential for collaboration between India and Sri Lanka, especially South India and Jaffna,” Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Thanks India for Helping War Affected Sri Lanka and Looks Forward to Closer Collaboration Between South India and Jaffna at Ceremonial Opening of International Airport at Palaly in Northern Sri Lanka.’ »

History is Made as Jaffna International Airport is Ceremonially Opened with Special Flight from Chennai ATR72-600 Operated by Alliance Air of India Lands at Palaly With Indian Dignitaries Aboard


President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe came together yesterday to mark the historic opening of the Jaffna International Airport (JIA) for regional commercial operations.

The opening of the airport was marked by a special flight from Chennai landing at JIA with a delegation of Indian dignitaries. The first flight into JIA was an ATR72-600 short-haul flight operated by Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India. This is Alliance Air’s first international flight.

Speaking at the occasion, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said that while the need for an international airport for the North was a long-felt need, it was in April this year that concrete measures were taken to make this a reality.

Continue reading ‘History is Made as Jaffna International Airport is Ceremonially Opened with Special Flight from Chennai ATR72-600 Operated by Alliance Air of India Lands at Palaly With Indian Dignitaries Aboard’ »

Despite Obstruction and Obstacles , Jaffna International Airport at Palaly Becomes Reality Today Through India’s Generosity and Persistence Along With Efforts by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Tamil National Alliance..

By N. Lohathayalan

The Palaly Airport was opened on 359 acres of land by the British Armed Forces, with the first flight to India being made on 10 December 1947. As of today, it will function as the Jaffna International Airport.

The ceremonial opening of the airport today brings joy not only to the people of Jaffna but for to those for whom Sri Lanka is home. The benefits to all Sri Lankans are immense (see S.R.H. Hoole ‘Our permanent umbilical connectivity to India’ Daily FT, 16 August 2019).

The request to upgrade the old Palaly Aerodrome was first forwarded by TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah in 2014 to the then-Indian Consul in Jaffna. Promising to take serious note of the request, the Consul carried it to the Indian Government, where upon reaching the Indian Prime Minister, it received the status of an agreement between the governments of Sri Lanka and India in 2015. Yet, to implement the agreement even after Budget estimates were made, all administrative arrangements were handled in secrecy.

With two governments involved, the veil of secrecy could not last long. By the end of 2015, when the plans became well-known, the Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe Government officially gave it the green light. When the matter reached the hands of administrators in Colombo, however, they applied the brakes.

Continue reading ‘Despite Obstruction and Obstacles , Jaffna International Airport at Palaly Becomes Reality Today Through India’s Generosity and Persistence Along With Efforts by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Tamil National Alliance..’ »

“War Victories and Heroic Deeds Belong to the Entire Country and not to a Political Party or Person Declares Election Commission Chairman. Mahinda Deshapriya.

By Chandani Kirinde

The Election Commission (EC) has written to the Secretary to the President as well as the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence seeking clarification on how a photograph of Army Commander Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva was used in election campaign propaganda for one of the candidates contesting the Presidential Election.

The EC’s decision to seek clarification came after it received a complaint from the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) on Sunday in relation to a full-page advertisement in support of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, published in several newspapers using an image and quote from Lieutenant General Silva from 2009. The present Army Commander was a senior military officer serving in the Army at the time.

Election Commission (EC) Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said the use of such material for election propaganda was a violation of both the Code of Conduct issued for contesting political parties and candidates as well as the directive issued to public officials which prohibits them from acting in a manner which promotes or causes prejudice towards any party or candidate.

Continue reading ‘“War Victories and Heroic Deeds Belong to the Entire Country and not to a Political Party or Person Declares Election Commission Chairman. Mahinda Deshapriya.’ »

October 17th 2019 is a Joyful Day for Country as Palaly Airport is “Reborn” Today as Jaffna International Airport .

By Capt Elmo Jayawardena

Today (Oct 17), Sri Lanka is scheduled to re-open the Palaly Airport as its third international aerodrome (It will be renamed the Jaffna International Airport). There will be many who will applaud and give praise for the refurbishment and upgrading of the new airport and there will be others who will criticize the very thought of another international airport.

This article will share with the reader some historical facts of Palaly and express my thoughts on what the progressive possibilities are of this project if sensible people are selected to plan and execute the project whereby Palaly could be classified as an international airport.

Continue reading ‘October 17th 2019 is a Joyful Day for Country as Palaly Airport is “Reborn” Today as Jaffna International Airport .’ »

SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Flanked by Brother Mahinda and Supportive Political Leaders Fields Wide Range of Questions From Media at Glitzy Press Conference Held at Shangri -La Hotel Ballroom

By Himal Kotelawala

In his first-ever press conference, amid increasingly awkward allegations of evading the media, presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa fielded questions today on his vision for the country as well as his performance and track record as Defence Ministry Secretary.

Flanked by his former president brother Mahinda Rajapaksa and leaders of the alliance led by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), Rajapaksa took questions on, among other things, the country’s human rights obligations, media freedom, foreign policy, reconciliation and development.

Held in a partitioned section of the glitzy ballroom of the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo — whose construction, incidentally, began in the Rajapaksa era on prime real estate that had once belonged to the Army Headquarters — the press conference had all the trappings of a Rajapaksa INC event. Two rows of high tables were reserved for the presidential candidate and his politically colourful entourage, against a mammoth digital backdrop displaying the SLPP’s now-iconic pohottuwa (lotus bud) symbol and the words ‘Vision in Action’, with blown-up images of the two Rajapaksa brothers on either end.

As far as inaugural press briefings for a presidential candidate go, this morning’s event was certainly one of the more impressive ones on record, even accounting for the Rajapaksa brand of pomp which rarely fails to impress. In terms of substance, however, there was much to be desired.

Candidate Rajapaksa himself appeared sufficiently confident that his first powwow with the press would be smooth sailing from start to finish — and to his credit, it was, for the most part — but one wishes that more satisfactory answers were provided to some of the more probing questions fired his way.
The very first question directed at Rajapaksa had to do with Sri Lanka’s commitments to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
Asked how a Rajapaksa government would proceed with the matter, the SLPP candidate was entirely dismissive of the agreement entered with the UNHRC by the Yahapalana Government.

Continue reading ‘SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Flanked by Brother Mahinda and Supportive Political Leaders Fields Wide Range of Questions From Media at Glitzy Press Conference Held at Shangri -La Hotel Ballroom’ »

“I can certify not once but twice that no journalist will be harmed”: Gotabaya Rajapaksa Guarantees Safety of Journalists in Sri Lanka under his Tenure at First Media Conference After Being Officially Named as SLPP Presidential Candidate

By Chandani Kirinde

SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa said yesterday that he did not recognise the UNHRC resolution co-sponsored by the Sri Lanka Government on ‘Promoting Reconciliation, Accoun-tability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ as a legal document and reiterated his public undertaking to release soldiers held in remand custody.

Addressing his maiden press conference since being named a presidential candidate, flanked by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera, with the leaders of the SLPP’s other constituent parties in attendance, Rajapaksa addressed a wide range of issues including disappearances that took place during the war, media freedom and foreign policy in a future government led by him.

He said he would always work with the United Nations (UN) but the policies of this Government and his were poles apart.

“I cannot recognise what they (this Government) have signed. My personal view is that this is not a legal document but we will always work with the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) to solve any issues. We have already publicly rejected that agreement (Resolution),” Rajapaksa said.

Continue reading ‘“I can certify not once but twice that no journalist will be harmed”: Gotabaya Rajapaksa Guarantees Safety of Journalists in Sri Lanka under his Tenure at First Media Conference After Being Officially Named as SLPP Presidential Candidate’ »

Preeminent Hindi Filmstar Amitabh Bachchan Gets Prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award For Contribution To Indian Cinema

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Legendary Hindi film actor Amitabh Bachchan will be the latest recipient of India’s celebrated Dadasaheb Phalke Award this year. The annual award honours a distinguished person in the field of cinema for his or her “outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian cinema” each year.

India’s Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar announced on 24 September that Amitabh Bachchan who had entertained and inspired two generations of Indians was unanimously selected as the Dadasaheb Phalke recipient for 2018 and would receive the award at this year’s Indian National Film Awards event.

Amitabh Bachchan’s immediate response was characteristically modest. The 76-year-old actor tweeted that he was “deeply grateful and most humbled” to have been chosen for the honour. He also said “There is a paucity of words searching a response… for the generosity of words that pour in… I am but deeply grateful and most humbled… my sincerest gratitude.”
Continue reading ‘Preeminent Hindi Filmstar Amitabh Bachchan Gets Prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award For Contribution To Indian Cinema’ »

Buddharakkitha And Somarama Theras: Role Of Two Buddhist Monks In The Assassination Of Prime Minister S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Blood stained clothes and shoes

Sixty years ago on September 25th 1959 Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (SWRDB) the prime minister of Sri Lanka known as Ceylon then was shot and seriously wounded by a Buddhist monk named Ven.Talduwe Somarama Thero. Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike succumbed to his injuries the following day.The fourth Prime minister of Independent Ceylon/Sri Lanka passed away on September 26th 1959 exactly twenty-two hours after he had been shot.

The official Bulletin issued after his death stated as follows “The condition of the Prime Minister suddenly took a turn for the worse at about 7 a.m. There was a sudden alteration of the action of the heart and his condition deteriorated very rapidly. He passed off peacefully about 8 ‘O’ clock.”It was signed by Dr. P. R. Anthonis, Dr. T. D. H. Perera and Dr. M. J. A. Sandrasagara.Subsequently a verdict of homicide was recorded by the City Coroner J. N. C. Tiruchelvam, J. P. U. M. at the inquest. He said “death was due to shock and haemorrhage resulting from multiple injuries to the thoracic and abdominal organs.”

Events relating to the shooting of SWRD Bandaranaike and his demise were re-visited in detail in these columns last week. This article therefore will follow up with details of the probes, arrests, trial, acquittals and convictions pertaining to the assassination of SWRD Bandaranaike six decades ago.

pics courtesy of: SWRD Bandaranaike Museum

Lying in state at the funeral

The Inspector General of Police at the time of Bandaranaike’s assassination was the respected civil servant Walter F. Abeykoon who was SWRDB’s personal friend and partner at bridge. He had been appointed IGP on May 1st 1959 by Bandaranaike amid controversial circumstances. It is a tale worth recounting today at a time where the country’s Police force particularly senior Police officers are accused of being minions to their political masters.
Continue reading ‘Buddharakkitha And Somarama Theras: Role Of Two Buddhist Monks In The Assassination Of Prime Minister S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike’ »

Gotabaya’s Promise at Inaugural Rally That He would Free “War Heroes” in Jail Under “Bogus Charges” the Day After He is Elected President Shows the Rajapaksas Have Learnt Nothing at all From Their Defeat in 2015.


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Sri Lanka’s floating voters, struggling to find their feet in the unpromising pandemonium of November’s Presidential elections, can only flinch from ‘Pohottuwa’ Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s promise at his inaugural campaign rally following nominations in Anuradhapura on Wednesday, that he would free all ‘war heroes’ held in custody on ‘bogus charges’ the day after he is elected at President.

Who determines these ‘bogus’ charges?

‘Pohottuwa’ political propagandists, onetime Professor of law GL Peiris and onetime Chief Justice Sarath N Silva may no doubt be able to properly educate their candidate on what Presidents can and cannot do. This may amount to time better spent than appearing on political platforms spouting about the ruination of the Rule of Law under the ‘yahapalanaya’ Government. The monumental hypocrisy of such proclamations, given the record of utter lack of governance during the Rajapaksa-led decade, must be deplored at the outset.

But the bigger question is this. Who determines ‘bogus’ charges, war heroes or not? The flamboyance with which these claims are made speaks to the worrying point that the Rajapaksas have learnt nothing whatsoever from being taught a deserving electoral lesson in 2015 when they were tossed out from political power.

During their time, not only was a Chief Justice (Shirani Bandaranayake) ejected from office after a sham impeachment but also, judges were given phone calls and instructed to deliver court rulings, the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) was assaulted in broad daylight and the Attorney General of the day spent more time in the residences of the former President and his brothers than he did at Hulftsdorp.

Indeed, Solicitor Generals (past and present) who hold forth on being arm-twisted by Ministers to file cases against the Rajapaksas may be urged to come clean with all the gory details of far worse atrocities that occurred during that time. It must also be said that, despite all that alleged arm-twisting, very few cases were in fact, successfully filed to bring the former President and members of his family to justice. In contrast, the subversion of the law that occurred during the Rajapaksa decade was carried out very effectively.

Resorting to costly and self-defeating ‘quick fixes’

Much of these details did not become a matter of proved public record only because of the Government’s own failures. Quite apart from the stuttering prosecutions against the Rajapaksas, aided and abetted in by some state law officers, ‘yahapalanaya’ short circuited itself by resorting to self–defeating ‘quick fixes’. One obvious illustration was the sending home of the Rajapaksa Chief Justice Mohan Peiris by Presidential letter, as advised by UNP lawyers and civil society cheerleaders without resorting to proper impeachment procedure.

At the time, this was justified on political expediency and on the basis that this Chief Justice had never ‘sat’ on the Bench as his immediate predecessor Shirani Bandaranayake had not been properly impeached. As predicted at the time in these column spaces, that mistake was bound to haunt the ‘yahapalanaya’ regime.

The fact remains that a due and proper impeachment process would have set on record, the enormous subversion of the law that had occurred then. It would have deprived any hypocrite of the chance to ever brush aside those happenings as ‘unproved’ or ‘frivolous allegations as we see now. Most importantly it would not have set a precedent that we have reason to fear even as the country faces a turbulent and unstable political environment.

Then as now when we hear the ‘Pohottuwa’ presidential candidate promising to ‘release’ war heroes held on ‘bogus’ charges, the same question is in issue. Who determines if a ‘war hero’ ought to be released or if a Chief Justice had properly’ sat in his/her office or not?

Politicians, civil society or the judiciary? These are good lessons to absorb in retrospect as the ‘yahapalanaya’ dream dissolves and the national effort is to prevent that from turning into a nightmare.

So do the choices in front of us hover betweeneffectively deadly manipulation of the law by the Rajapaksas or chaotic handling of legal and judicial institutions by the United National Party-led alliance fronting Sajith Premadasa as its candidate?

Even so, let it be said that while it is one thing to accept penitent Rajapaksa leadership, conscious of the deep mistakes that it had made and contritely promising to reform, it is yet another to welcome that leadership back in all its grotesquely full flown defiance of the Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Rejecting a major cancer in the body politic

This must be resisted with force. There is little mistaking as to what a Rajapaksa-return will amount to. The recent spewing of racist invective against Muslims by a senior party leader of a constituent partner of the ‘Pohottuwa’-led alliance shows that in no uncertain terms.

The fact that this worthy later stepped down from all party positions is no reassurance. This is a temporary measure, meant to calm the public outcry that followed. And is this all the punishment that should follow hate speech?

The contradiction is stark.While a short story writer is arrested and prosecuted for inciting racial hatred under Sri Lanka’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights(ICCPR) for critiquing sexual abuse of minors in Buddhist temples, communalist politicians who directly engage in denigration of the minorities are left untouched.

This is the contradiction that a Rajapaksa regime promises to aggravate on the one hand while, on the other, ‘yahapalanaya’ politicians appear to be deaf, dumb and blind to the law being applied so unequally.

There is a major cancer in Sri Lanka’s body politic that must be treated and extracted forthwith. This is the blind assumption of the country’s main political parties that they can spout the same rubbish each time around when the electoral race starts and be taken seriously.

The well strategized rally of the UNP-led alliance held the day after the ‘Pohottuwa’ campaign certainly upped the odds in terms of playing the ‘Pohottuwa’ at its own game of subverted Sinhala Buddhist championship of ‘war heroes.’


A reform agenda that is genuinely local

That said, the beating of the drum re the imprisonment of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka out of Rajapaksa rage is an old refrain, as riveting as this still may be. And there is peculiar obscenity in UNP seniors talking about the death and assaults of editors and senior journalists with such panache while glibly ignoring their failure to ensure a reckoning. . These are not failures that can be forgotten so easily.

The UNPs led alliance Presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa must go beyond bland promises to respect the ‘independence of the judiciary’ and address systemic failures in that regard if he is to be taken seriously.
Sri Lanka deserves a long and hard look at why impunity is so deeply ingrained in our policies, institutions and processes.

The reform agenda must start there, not be dictated by international real politik in Geneva or New York or the vagaries of corrupt and compromised politicians, Tamil, Sinhala or Muslim. This is where ‘yahapalanaya’ failed.
Hopefully that failure can set right now, if the fates are so gracious.

Courtesy:Sunday Times

Sirisena and SLFP Prostrate Themselves Before SLPP Without Self – Respect After Undignified Begging On Their Knees to Pohottuwa Party On The Symbol Issue

By

Don Manu

No political party worth its salt, especially a major political force such as the SLFP, which dominated Lanka’s political stage for over sixty years, can afford to remain without fielding a candidate of its own or supporting a common one at any presidential election.

In the last dying days of his presidency, SLFP leader Maithripala Sirisena seems thoroughly obsessed in proving to the gallery that though he and his party were no more on the stage they were still in the cast, even if they were standing only in the wings, and had the will and the power to determine the final act of the drama being enacted under spotlights.

Here was the last ditch straw he clung steadfast to show the world that though his party had fallen to its nadir under his leadership, the SLFP should not be easily written off and he, in particular, be pensioned off in haste.

This he had made known to all and sundry when he announced last week that though it appeared the fire had died out in him, it still blazed within. And to those who thought otherwise, he had a strong message.

Last Saturday, speaking at a welfare centre opening in Polonnaruwa, President Sirisena declared that he is not ready to retire and a new step will be taken after December. “I am in good health and I would not retire in order to continue my agenda for the country and the people. Some people may be thinking that I will disappear since I haven’t said that I will contest for the presidential election. I will be making a dramatic transition and emerge in a new role.”

Continue reading ‘Sirisena and SLFP Prostrate Themselves Before SLPP Without Self – Respect After Undignified Begging On Their Knees to Pohottuwa Party On The Symbol Issue’ »

Did Gota’s Sri Lankan Patriotism Die When he Took the US Naturalization Oath and has it been Resurrected Again Because he Wants to Become First Citizen of Sri Lanka Now?


By

Gamini Weerakoon

Election time is when the Morality Theatre moves on to the political stage and begins its performance.

Since nomination day, candidates with their supporters and TV crews have been besieging sacred places of worship, temples with political orientation, kovils, churches and receiving the blessings of chief incumbents. Nationalist-religious sentiments have not been trumpeted out — at least not yet. A fragrant peace and calls for reconciliation pervade the air. Candidates want to be seen as pious, morally upright people. The purpose of the whole exercise is to project a ‘holier than thou’ attitude vis-à-vis, their rivals.

So far, so good the Elections Commissioner will say. But a Sri Lankan election sans mud- slinging, sticks, stones, placards, cut-outs and buntings?

The electors, despite the performance on the High Morality stage, know very well the candidates on the platform. They are all representatives of the same two packs of cards that have been elected and rejected many times before. But the wonderful paradox of Sri Lankan politics is that voters keep rotating the same jokers in the two packs at every election.

Continue reading ‘Did Gota’s Sri Lankan Patriotism Die When he Took the US Naturalization Oath and has it been Resurrected Again Because he Wants to Become First Citizen of Sri Lanka Now?’ »

Do we need self proclaimed patriots who decide that all who hold different opinions are traitors to the country which they describe as only their “motherland”?

By

Prof. Savitri Goonesekere

In October 2018 President Maithripala Sirisena replaced Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with Mr Mahinda Rajapakse, purporting to exercise his Presidential powers. He later dissolved Parliament. Political party leaders and citizens challenged these Presidential decisions in the courts of law. A Full Bench of the Supreme Court, presided by Chief Justice HNJ Perera decided unanimously that the dissolution of Parliament was illegal, and a violation of the President’s powers, functions and responsibilities under our Constitution, the fundamental law of the land.

Commenting on the status of the petitioners to come before the court, His Lordship said ” there is an inalienable right of every citizen of the country to invoke the fundamental rights jurisdiction of the Supreme Court… This is the corner stone of the sovereignty of the People, which is the grundnorm (I.e. core value) of our Constitution.” His Lordship said that in enforcing these rights the court is “giving life and meaning to the Constitution.” His Lordship was therefore saying that enforcing these rights is also a method of limiting State power, and the power of those who hold public office, helping to ensure that power is exercised in governance, with accountability to the people.

It is important to recall these views on citizens’ right to take their grievances to courts. Much publicity has been given recently to remarks made by lawyers in the Gotabhaya Rajapaksa dual citizenship case, villifying the petitioners for coming to court and raising the matter. This has contributed to a surge of hate mail against them on the internet, and apparently even death threats. Perhaps it is time for the Bar Association to set guidelines on ethical norms and standards in regard to the manner in which they present their case. Senior lawyers in that case could have been expected to reflect on what the Supreme Court said about citizens claiming rights in our courts of law in 2018.

In this Full Bench decision of 2018, the Supreme Court also gave an important interpretation on the scope of Presidential powers. The court said “since 1972 (acquiring Republican status), the country has known no monarch, and the President has not inherited the mantle of a monarch….. he has no plenary executive powers….His powers are not Royal Prerogatives, not subject to any restrictions….His executive powers are derived from the People….He is a creature of the Constitution, and only has the powers vested in him., and circumscribed by the Constitution.”

Yet a some weeks ago, the President removed Professors who were Vice Chancellors of the University of Jaffna and the University of Visual and Performing Arts. These officials are the highest academic and administrative officers of public universities. About the same time we heard that the President decided to reinstate Mr Yoshitha Rajapaksa in his post in the Navy, with full privileges, including a promotion and back pay for many years. The public does not know why the President chose to change the previous decision on terminating this officer. We saw this officer being felicitated with some Navy rituals at his recent wedding. So we see that two senior academics and heads of universities lost their jobs, while Mr Rajapaksa received the best wedding present he could have got when he married.

University autonomy has been eroded with the changes introduced by the JR Jayewardene government in 1985. Nevertheless the President is required to remove the highest academic and administrative authority of the university after consultation with the University Grants Commission (UGC), the responsible regulatory authority. That Commission in terms of its mandate and responsibilities in the area of higher education should have obtained the views of at least the UGC nominees in the university’s governing body, the Council. Since the Senate is the highest academic authority which the Vice Chancellor chairs, should they not have articulated a voice on this episode? Similarly, the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Directors, since any one of them, or several can be summarily terminated in this manner. The Commission should also have followed the norms of natural justice and given these officials an opportunity to be heard, before they gave their opinion to the President. The criticisms expressed by a few academics who have protested at the violation of norms on university autonomy, suggest that none of these procedures were followed in making the Presidential decision to terminate these Vice Chancellors’ appointments.

The President has followed these official acts by public statements, which indicate yet again an arrogant disregard of the Constitution he is bound to follow in exercising his powers and responsibilities. He was heard on TV recently describing how much he did for the Rajapaksa family, including making Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa Prime Minister in 2018 ! These statements were reinforced by the person who lost an election and was brought to Parliament, Mr S.B. Dissanayake. He described on TV how he had contributed to a patriotic regime change in 2018 that failed, because they could not get the required majority in Parliament. We all know that this former Minister led the notorious trading in crossovers that was stalled due to public criticism and protests.

The Presidential campaign is also surfacing incidents which demonstrate the manner in which serious issues of public concern are addressed. Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa declared at his first meeting in Anuradhapura that he would release all persons from the armed forces who are currently in custody. Some of these persons are accused of the extortion, abduction and killing of adolescents and youth, in identified and wealthy families. Mr Rajajpaksa went o the say that he will distribute free fertilizers to farmers: this despite the fact that this is an area where people have suffered greatly from CKD, and a strongly articulated point of view is that the disease is due to over use of fertilizers.

We as citizens called upon to elect the next President must reflect on these happenings. Should we not demand that all candidates give us a commitment to abolishing the Executive Presidency which fosters and encourages abuse of political power and even legitimizes such abuse. Witnessing the current abuse of power by politicians, we must ask ourselves whether we want to enthrone “strong leadership” and monarchical governance in our quest for national security, economic growth and development. All the members of the Eliya and Viyathmaga groups in the corporate sector must reflect on our history of violent protest and break down of law and order in religious and ethnic tensions and conflict, and decide whether dictatorial governance by “strong men” is what we must have to ensure peace and progress. Do we want to live in a country with “strong leaders” who do not respect the concept that there must be accountability to the citizens in the exercise of powers and functions in governance? Do we need self proclaimed patriots who decide that all who hold different opinions are traitors to the country which they describe as only their “motherland”?

Our collective failure in objecting to obnoxious and arrogant exercise of official powers whether in the country or our university system strengthens the public perception that there is nothing wrong with violating the basic law of the land, the Constitution or other laws, when people are invested with political power. The Supreme Court of our country in the Full Bench decision has articulated a strong voice on the importance of freedom and accountable governance. It is our duty as citizens to safeguard our rights and monitor and ensure this accountability. We are surely setting the stage for unchecked authoritarian governance and dictatorship and even a Presidential monarchy. Is this what we want for ourselves and the future generations in this country? Other countries have experienced the reality and the suffering, and know that dictatorships thrive for much longer than we can envisage, with our limited understanding of the toxic attraction of political power.

We are living in a difficult time when we may leap from a sizzling “thatchiya” into the coals and flames under it. Can we afford to forget the words of the eminent judge who said “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely?”

Courtesy:Sunday Island

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Pledge at Maiden Campaign Rally in Anuradhapura That He Would Release all”War Heroes” in Custody for Alleged “Baseless” Charges on Nov 17th Morning After Being Elected President Sends Shock waves Throughout Country.

BY MANESHKA BORHAM AND ANURANGI SINGH

A pledge made by SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa at his maiden rally in Anuradhapura last week, that he would acquit and release ‘war heroes’ being held on ‘baseless’ charges on the morning of November 17, has left victim families reeling from shock and fear that already painfully slow investigations will be scuttled or scrapped.

Legal experts also insisted that any attempt to influence an ongoing investigation through the courts of law or law enforcement agencies would be tantamount to executive overreach and abuse of power.

The reference in the SLPP candidate’s speech appeared to be about suspects being held in custody over attacks on journalists, the murder of the Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, abduction and torture of journalist Keith Noyahr and the disappearance and probable murder of cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda. None of the suspects have been convicted, and many of them have been released on bail after originally being remanded based on evidence gathered by the CID.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Pledge at Maiden Campaign Rally in Anuradhapura That He Would Release all”War Heroes” in Custody for Alleged “Baseless” Charges on Nov 17th Morning After Being Elected President Sends Shock waves Throughout Country.’ »

Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapaksa Jointly Address SLPP Presidential Campaign Inaugural Rally at Salgado Grounds in Anuradhapura with Gota Focusing on Plight of Paddy Farmers.

BY PRANAVESH SIVAKUMAR

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna’s (SLPP) Presidential aspirant, kicking off his first campaign for his maiden bid for the top job, used the stage to outline, an array of development activities, and agriculture was given the spotlight.

“Anuradhapura is a centre point of irrigation and agriculture of the country. We had a local culture centering the concept of ‘village, temple and tanks’. One third of the population of the country still relies on agriculture. The advisors to the Government are failing to comprehend this basic fact. Consequently, they’re treated in a second- class manner,” he said, at the Salgado grounds.

Rajapaksa claimed, that it was during the Mahinda Rajapaksa era, that the farmers were given a special place. The fertilizer subsidy, low interest rate, agricultural loans and a certified price for paddy, were provided during his rule. Sri Lanka became self-sufficient in rice and maize. However, the agriculture sector has collapsed today,

“The current government had not recognised that two-thirds of the population was engaged in agriculture. The government fertiliser subsidy scheme for paddy farmers had been halted. I pledge to revive the subsidy scheme if elected, reaching food security goals was of paramount for this nation.” Gotabaya gave a glimpse of the goals for Anuradhapura.

The former defence secretary urged the SLPP supporters gathered to do their duty by voting him in to power, and, thereafter, he will get down to business by creating a safe and secure Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapaksa Jointly Address SLPP Presidential Campaign Inaugural Rally at Salgado Grounds in Anuradhapura with Gota Focusing on Plight of Paddy Farmers.’ »

Sajith Premadasa and Ranil Wickremesinghe Go”Forward Together”by Jointly Addressing Huge Crowds at Presidential Election Campaign Inaugural Rally at Galle Face Green.


BY PRANAVESH SIVAKUMAR

The New Democratic Front’s (NDF) Presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa kick starting his inaugural rally themed ‘Forward together’, left the sea of supporters by the sea to decide, as to what calibre of candidate they were wishing for.

Premadasa in his opening remarks, tendered an unreserved apology for referring to his mouth as sacred (Shri Mukaya). “I thought I should make this apology before the Maha Sanga and the masses here. I appeal for pardon for the mistake,” he said.

He posed the question to the thousands who had thronged the venue, “Is it the welfare of the people or a particularly family, that this nation needs? This country needs no leader, who has taken up militarism, tribalism and extremism on himself.”

Premadasa in an unanticipated promise declared that if he emerges victorious, National Security and eradication of the drug menace will be delegated to Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka. He hailed him as a war-winning veteran commander, and said now with the proposal, he has a big responsibility.

“I leave it in the capable hands of the public to decide, whether you want a country where the law is implemented or one where there is lawlessness,” United National Party’s (UNP) deputy leader said.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa and Ranil Wickremesinghe Go”Forward Together”by Jointly Addressing Huge Crowds at Presidential Election Campaign Inaugural Rally at Galle Face Green.’ »

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Sweeps Elpitiya Pradeshiya Polls Winning 17 with 23,372 Votes:UNP gets 7 with 10,113 Votes While UPFA and JVP get 3 and 2 with 5,273 and 2,435 Votes Respectively

By Norman Palihawadane

SLPP won all 17 divisions of the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha at yesterday’s election. The SLPP obtained 23,372 votes while the UPFA and UNP received 5,273 and 10,113 respectively. The JVP polled only 2,435 votes.

Accordinlgy, the SLPP will have 17 seats out of 29. The UPFA and UNP will have three and seven seats respectively while the JVP will have two seats.

The voter turnout of the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha election was over 75 per cent according to Galle District Returning Officer Somarathna Vidanapathirana.

Votes were counted at the polling centres and thereafter the results were sent to the Elections Operations Center set up at Elpitiya Vocational Training Institute from where the final results were announced.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Sweeps Elpitiya Pradeshiya Polls Winning 17 with 23,372 Votes:UNP gets 7 with 10,113 Votes While UPFA and JVP get 3 and 2 with 5,273 and 2,435 Votes Respectively’ »

Malaysian Counter Terrorism Officials Arrest Seven Suspects For Allegedly Promoting and Raising Funds for LTTE; Melaka State executive Councillor G. Saminathan and Negri Sembilan Assemblyman P. Gunasekaren Arrested for Participation in LTTE “Maaveerar Naal” (Great Heroes Day)Celebrations


By
Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin

Seven suspects, including two state lawmakers from Melaka and Negri Sembilan, were arrested by Bukit Aman(Royal Malaysia Police Headquarters) counterterrorism operatives today for their alleged involvement in promoting, supporting and sourcing funds meant for the now-defunct terror group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter-terrorism Division (E8) principal assistant director, Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, confirmed during a press conference today that the two assemblymen were arrested for participating in an LTTE “Heroes Day” celebration in Melaka last year.

“They attended the celebration on November 28 last year and delivered speeches that contained elements that showed support towards LTTE.

“Both of them were also found to have leaflets and had distributed material at the event last year that were related to LTTE,” he said.

Ayob said the remaining five suspects were arrested at locations within the capital, Rawang and Sungai Buloh in Selangor, Sungai Siput in Perak, and Kulim Kedah.

Continue reading ‘Malaysian Counter Terrorism Officials Arrest Seven Suspects For Allegedly Promoting and Raising Funds for LTTE; Melaka State executive Councillor G. Saminathan and Negri Sembilan Assemblyman P. Gunasekaren Arrested for Participation in LTTE “Maaveerar Naal” (Great Heroes Day)Celebrations’ »

“People Must Carefully Decide Whether the Future of a Family or Future of the Country is Important States UNP led NDF Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa While Addressing Mammoth Crowds at Inaugural Rally in Galle Face Green.

By
Dharma Sri Abeyratne and Lahiru Fernando

The Galle Face green was a sea of heads with people from all corners of the country converging to Colombo yesterday to affirm their support to the Presidential candidate of United National Party (UNP) led New Democratic Front (NDF), Sajith Premadasa.

The inaugural rally of Premadasa’s presidential election campaign was held at Galle Face Green with the participation of UNP leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and other NDF leaders and politicians.

The New Democratic Front Presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa told a huge maiden rally in Colombo, yesterday, that the people of this country should carefully decide whether it was the future of a family or the future of the country that was important at the forthcoming Presidential Election.

Continue reading ‘“People Must Carefully Decide Whether the Future of a Family or Future of the Country is Important States UNP led NDF Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa While Addressing Mammoth Crowds at Inaugural Rally in Galle Face Green.’ »

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Asks Whether The Country Should Elect a Killer of People or Leader of People as Sri Lanka’s President at “Ekwa Idiriyata” (Forward Together) Rally at Galle Face

By
Dharma Sri Abeyratne and Lahiru Fernando

Rivals of the United National Party-led New Democratic Front are against its presidential candidate, Minister Sajith Premadasa, as he is working to eliminate nepotism and family-based politics from the country, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday.

“His father, late Executive President Ranasinghe Premadasa also strived to eradicate family rule, and therefore, it is not surprising that certain Hambantota-based politicians are opposed to Sajith Premadasa even 26-years after the assassination of his father, the Premier pointed out to the massive crowd at the maiden public rally organised by the NDF in support of its presidential candidate, Premadasa.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Asks Whether The Country Should Elect a Killer of People or Leader of People as Sri Lanka’s President at “Ekwa Idiriyata” (Forward Together) Rally at Galle Face’ »

Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Will Be Appointed as Defence Minister Responsible For National Security in Future Govt Announces Sajith Premadasa at Galle Face;Ex- Army Chief Pledges to Fulfill Duties if so Appointed

By
Dharma Sri Abeyratne and Lahiru Fernando

UNP parliamentarian, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka yesterday pledged to fulfil to the letter the duty he would be assigned as the Defence Minister of the country.

He was responding to the announcement by NDF presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa that he would appoint the Field Marshal as Defence Minister on coming to power.

Continue reading ‘Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Will Be Appointed as Defence Minister Responsible For National Security in Future Govt Announces Sajith Premadasa at Galle Face;Ex- Army Chief Pledges to Fulfill Duties if so Appointed’ »

Gota Reaches Out To Agricultural Sector at Inaugural Rally in Anuradhapura: Promises to Write off all “Govijana” Loans Incurred by Farmers,Revive Fertilizer Subsidy, Increase Guaranteed Price and Storage Facilities for Paddy and Introduce Pension Scheme for Farmers.

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday focused on sweeping promises and populist policies that emphasised writing off farmers’ debts, ensuring stable prices, establishing a pension scheme for farmers and continuing the fertiliser subsidy, while speaking at his inaugural rally held in Anuradhapura.

Addressing hundreds of supporters, Rajapaksa thanked the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) for extending its support to his candidacy, insisting that he was confident the SLFP would never turn its collective back on the Rajapaksas.

SLFP parliamentarian Duminda Dissanayaka was a notable presence at the rally, where he called on minorities to support Rajapaksa’s candidacy and also urged SLFP party members to unite to form a Government in the near future.

Addressing the gathering, Rajapaksa stressed that the current Government had not recognised that two-thirds of the population was involved in agriculture.

He charged that the Government fertiliser subsidy scheme for paddy farmers had been stopped. He pledged to revive the subsidy scheme if elected, pointing out that as a nation, reaching food security goals was paramount for Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa also pledged to wipe clean the debt owed by many farmers under the Govijana loan scheme.

Continue reading ‘Gota Reaches Out To Agricultural Sector at Inaugural Rally in Anuradhapura: Promises to Write off all “Govijana” Loans Incurred by Farmers,Revive Fertilizer Subsidy, Increase Guaranteed Price and Storage Facilities for Paddy and Introduce Pension Scheme for Farmers.’ »

SLFP Officially Announces Support to SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa; Memorandum of Understanding to be Signed With Party and Candidate.

By Aruna Bogahawatte

The SLFP yesterday announced that it had decided to support SLPP Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the 2019 Presidential election.

SLFP General Secretary MP Dayasiri Jayasekera told a press conference at the party headquarters in Colombo that President Maithripala Sirisena had made a decision to step down from the SLFP chairmanship temporarily to remain independent till the Presidential Elections was over.

The decision had been made at the SLFP parliamentary group meeting held at the President’s House on Tuesday night, Jayasekera said.

Continue reading ‘SLFP Officially Announces Support to SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa; Memorandum of Understanding to be Signed With Party and Candidate.’ »

Group Led by Gnanasara Thero in Violation of Court Order Took Body of Dead Buddhist Monk and Cremated it in Premises Specifically Prohibited by Courts While Police Led by SSP Did Nothing Except Prevent Hindu Devotees from Entering Temple Precincts Charges TNA Leader R.Sampanthan in Parliament

By Saman Indrajith

Neeraavi Pillaiyar Temple at Chemmalai in the Mulaitivu District was a site of controversy as the Sinhalese in the area tried to take over a Saivite temple, said TNA leader R Sampanthan in parliament, yesterday.

Making a special statement Sampanthan said that the Buddhist temple Gurukande Viharaya had been forcibly constructed between 2004 and 2009 when no civilian was permitted to visit the area.

MP Sampanthan said: “More recently an attempt was made to restore that temple. This led to unrest in that area between the people who are all non-Buddhists and the monks who had come there. Upon this matter being reported to the relevant Magistrate, an order was made prohibiting the reconstruction of the temple. The Chief incumbent of the temple filed an application in the Provincial High Court of the Northern Province district of Vavuniya and the matter is still pending.”

Stating the events that had taken place at the disputed location which recently led to a clash between the two groups, the TNA leader said, “In the meantime, on or about 21st September, 2019 the Chief Priest of the Gurukanda Raja Maha Viharaya passed away in Colombo after taking ill. The Mulaithivu Police filed intimation in the Magistrate’s Court in Mulaithivu stating inter alia that

Continue reading ‘Group Led by Gnanasara Thero in Violation of Court Order Took Body of Dead Buddhist Monk and Cremated it in Premises Specifically Prohibited by Courts While Police Led by SSP Did Nothing Except Prevent Hindu Devotees from Entering Temple Precincts Charges TNA Leader R.Sampanthan in Parliament’ »

2019 Sri Lankan Presidential Election Makes History as the First Presidential Poll Without an Incumbent President, Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition Contesting.

By P.K.Balachandran

The November 16, 2019 Sri Lankan Presidential election will go down in history for several firsts.

For the first time in the history of post-independence Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), a party of greats like Prime Ministers SWRD Bandaranaike and Sirima Bandaranaike, and Presidents like Chandrika Kumaratunga and Maithripala Sirisena, will not be fighting for the top post in the country, namely, the Executive Presidency.

The SLFP, which hived out of the United National Party (UNP) in the early 1950s on ideological grounds, and had been in power over long periods since then, is not contesting the November 16, 2019 Sri Lankan Presidential election.

Its present chairman, Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, was to contest the election but gave up the idea after he found that he had virtually no backers even within the SLFP, leave alone the general public.

His erratic conduct, Quixotic moves, brazen decisions and pronouncements, and inability to get on with his colleagues, won him few friends or supporters. Under his stewardship, the SLFP came a dismal third in the 2018 local government elections which were swept by the breakaway Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) led by former SLFP chief and Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Under the circumstances, Sirisena has been left with no option but to save the party from extinction by participating in the Presidential election as an ally of the SLPP.

Continue reading ‘2019 Sri Lankan Presidential Election Makes History as the First Presidential Poll Without an Incumbent President, Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition Contesting.’ »

After Weeks of “Suspense-ridden Delay” the Chief Presidential Candidates Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa Swing Into Full Gear With Their Election Campaigns.

By P.K.Balachandran

After severe hiccups on both sides of the political divide, the principal candidates in the Sri Lankan Presidential election (to be held on November 16 ) have now begun their campaigns in right earnest.

The hiccups were political in the case of the candidate of the ruling United National Party (UNP), Sajith Premadasa, and legal in the case of the candidate of the opposition Sri Lanka Podujana Permuna (SSLP) Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Sajith, as Premadasa is popularly known, had to resort to pressure tactics to force party leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to nominate him as the UNP’s candidate. As part of this, he had to project himself as the party candidate with posters, hoardings and mass rallies.

Continue reading ‘After Weeks of “Suspense-ridden Delay” the Chief Presidential Candidates Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa Swing Into Full Gear With Their Election Campaigns.’ »

35 Presidential Aspirants Out of The 41 Who Paid Deposits File Nomination Papers; 18 Candidates From Recognized Political Parties , 15 Independents and 2 from Non-Recognized Parties

By Chandani Kirinde

Thirty-five of the 41 presidential aspirants, who had paid their deposits, handed in their nomination papers at the Election Commission yesterday, officially kicking off the six-week-long election campaign.

Nominations were accepted between 9.00 a.m. and 11.00 a.m. last morning at the Election Commission office in Rajagiriya amidst tight security. All the nomination papers that were handed over were accepted by the EC while two objections that were raised were dismissed by the Commission.

Eighteen of the candidates will contest from recognised political parties, 15 as independent candidates and two from other parties. This is the highest number to ever contest a Presidential Election in the country and is almost double the 19 who contested the 2015 election.

Continue reading ‘35 Presidential Aspirants Out of The 41 Who Paid Deposits File Nomination Papers; 18 Candidates From Recognized Political Parties , 15 Independents and 2 from Non-Recognized Parties’ »

Even if Gotabaya Rajapaksa Wins Presidential Elections , Ranil Wickremesinghe will Remain as Prime Minister Until the Next Parliamentary Election says Ajit P. Perera.

By

Yohan Perera

Issues, if there are any, pertaining to UNP leadership could be amicably resolved in the same way which the question with regard to the presidential candidate was solved after the presidential election, Non-Cabinet Minister Ajith P. Perera said today.

Minister Perera made this remark in response to a question raised by the journalists as to who would become the leader of the party in the event New Democratic Front Candidate Sajith Premadasa emerges victorious at the presidential election.

“There is no issue on the leadership at the moment as the current leader will remain for five years till 2024. We can resolve any issue that may come up about it in the same way we resolved the issue pertaining to the candidacy,” Minister Perera said.

Continue reading ‘Even if Gotabaya Rajapaksa Wins Presidential Elections , Ranil Wickremesinghe will Remain as Prime Minister Until the Next Parliamentary Election says Ajit P. Perera.’ »

Acting IGP Wickramaratne Directs Colombo DIG Siriwardene to Provide Security if Requested to Petitioners and Their Lawyers in the Appeal Court Writ Case Against Gotabaya Rajapaksa Following Increasing Threats to Gamini Viyangoda and Chandragupta Thenuwara

by

Maneshka Borham

Acting IGP C.D Wickramatne has reportedly directed officials to provide security to civil society activists, Gamini Viyangoda and Chandragupta Thenuwara as well as their lawyers if requested.

The duo has come under attack, especially, on social media following their decision to file a writ petition challenging the citizenship of Presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Accordingly, the IGP is said to have directed DIG Colombo Champika Siriwardene to take necessary steps if the petitioners and their counsels request security.

Continue reading ‘Acting IGP Wickramaratne Directs Colombo DIG Siriwardene to Provide Security if Requested to Petitioners and Their Lawyers in the Appeal Court Writ Case Against Gotabaya Rajapaksa Following Increasing Threats to Gamini Viyangoda and Chandragupta Thenuwara’ »

Chandragupta Thenuwara and Gamini Viyangoda have Unwittingly done Gotabhaya Rajapaksa a Favour by Enabling him to Prove Conclusively Through Courts that There is no Problem About his Sri Lankan citizenship.

By C. A.Chandraprema

Sri Lanka has had presidential elections in 1982, 1988, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2010, and 2015 but never one like the present election. With just two working days to go to the close of nominations, a former local government head from Galle petitioned the Supreme Court seeking an order calling off the election. Thankfully, this was dismissed by the SC. But the attempt to knock out the principal opposition candidate from the race even before it began, was heard in the Appeal Court over three days throwing the entire opposition election campaign into a state of uncertainty. Several weeks ago, in an article titled “Geetha, Gota and the Elections Commission”, this writer pointed out that Gota’s citizenship matter had been sorted out to the maximum extent it could ever be, citing the Appeal Court and Supreme Court judgements in the Geetha Kumarasinghe case.

It was not as if the Appeal Court was hearing a case involving dual citizenship certificates and renunciation of foreign citizenship etc. for the first time. This is ground that the AC has already gone over. On Friday, after hearing the arguments presented, the Appeal Court dismissed the petition filed by two yahapalana activists Chandragupta Thenuwara and Gamini Viyangoda seeking an interim order prohibiting the recognition of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as a citizen of Sri Lanka. As things turn out, Thenuwara and Viyangoda have unwittingly done Gotabhaya Rajapaksa a favour by filing that petition and enabling the latter to prove conclusively that there is no issue with regard to his present Sri Lankan citizenship. This columnist warned in two full page articles published some weeks ago, of the power that the Elections Commission assumes in the event an objection is received regarding a candidate’s qualifications to contest a presidential election and the need to take precautions.

Now Thenuwara and Viyangoda have served up the best possible precaution on a platter. This is not something that the Gota camp could have done by themselves even if they had tried! According to the Presidential Elections Act, there are only three grounds on which objections can be raised to a nomination. Firstly, ‘that it is apparent from the contents of the nomination paper’ that the candidate is not qualified to be elected as President; secondly that the candidate is disqualified by reason of conviction by a court of law for a corrupt or illegal practice or an election malpractice; and thirdly, that civic disability has been imposed on the candidate by Parliament.

Continue reading ‘Chandragupta Thenuwara and Gamini Viyangoda have Unwittingly done Gotabhaya Rajapaksa a Favour by Enabling him to Prove Conclusively Through Courts that There is no Problem About his Sri Lankan citizenship.’ »

Rajapaksa Camp Followers Who Lambasted Judiciary Last Year After Supreme Court Ruled Against Mahinda’s Unconstitutional Prime Minister Appointment are Now Singing Praises to an Independent Judiciary After Appeal Court Dismissed Writ Petition Against Gotabaya

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

As leading lights of the United National Party (UNP) hastily scrambled to disassociate themselves from the petition challenging the legality of the dual citizenship certificate issued to Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP) presidential hopeful Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, summarily rejected by the Court of Appeal this Friday, a curious contradiction arose from the Rajapaksa ranks.

Suddenly, SLPP front-liners as well as its rudely cacophonous foot soldiers began expounding on the independence of the judiciary, literally sweating from their pores with relief as it were.

This posed a direct contrast to previous crude assaults on the judicial institution, most visibly late last year when the Supreme Court ruled the attempted coup installing former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as unconstitutional.

Then, these very same hypocrites offensively lambasted the judiciary, going so far as to cast aspersions on the religious beliefs of judges.

Continue reading ‘Rajapaksa Camp Followers Who Lambasted Judiciary Last Year After Supreme Court Ruled Against Mahinda’s Unconstitutional Prime Minister Appointment are Now Singing Praises to an Independent Judiciary After Appeal Court Dismissed Writ Petition Against Gotabaya’ »

Prof. Chandragupta Thenuwara Who Along With Gamini Viyangoda Challenged Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Citizenship Through Writ Petition in Court Contacts Police After Receiving Numerous Threats From Various Persons Allegedly Backing the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna

By

Arjuna Ranawana

Professor Chandragupta Thenuwara is facing death threats from various persons backing the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the renowned artist told RepublicNext.

Thenuwara, a long-time social and political activist was one of two petitioners who mounted a legal challenge to Gotabaya’s right to contest the election as doubts have been raised in the public sphere as to how he obtained his dual citizenship and then full-Sri Lankan citizenship.

The petition was heard over three days by the Court of Appeal, which on Friday Oct 4 evening dismissed the case. The full order detailing the reasons for the dismissal has not yet been released and it is yet not clear whether the Court has validated Gotabaya’s citizenship or not.

Thenuwara said that he has received numerous telephone calls threatening him, and on one occasion a three-wheeler driver who drove past him had screamed threats.

He said he is in contact with the Police who have offered him protection.

Continue reading ‘Prof. Chandragupta Thenuwara Who Along With Gamini Viyangoda Challenged Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Citizenship Through Writ Petition in Court Contacts Police After Receiving Numerous Threats From Various Persons Allegedly Backing the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna’ »

Office of Missing Persons to Raise Concerns to President Sirisena Over Confirmation of Commodore Rank to D.K.P. Dassanayake one of the key Suspects in Abduction and Murder of Youths Case where the Navy is Implicated

By

Maneshka Borham

The Office on Missing Persons (OMP) has decided to raise their concerns with President Maithripala Sirisena on the recent confirmation of rank granted by the Sri Lanka Navy to Commodore D.K.P Dassanayake. The former Navy Spokesman, Dassanayake is one of the main suspects connected to the infamous Navy abductions case where 11 youth are believed to have been abducted between 2008 – 2009 by an abduction ring allegedly carried out by a group of Naval officers.

Chairperson of the OMP, PC Saliya Peiris told the Sunday Observer the OMP will write to the President tomorrow (7) on the matter. Peiris said the recent turn of events could have a chilling effect on the witnesses of the case, especially, witnesses who continue to serve in the Sri Lanka Navy. “Seeing promotions and benefits being granted to suspects could give the witnesses the wrong message,” he said.

The State’s disregard for recommendations made by the OMP on Military and Police officers involved in enforced disappearances has made the task set out for the OMP more difficult, he said.

Continue reading ‘Office of Missing Persons to Raise Concerns to President Sirisena Over Confirmation of Commodore Rank to D.K.P. Dassanayake one of the key Suspects in Abduction and Murder of Youths Case where the Navy is Implicated’ »

How Different are the Policies of Sajith Premadasa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Those of Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa?

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

As the presidential election campaign moves to combat readiness among candidates and political parties, one must be pardoned for drawing the recent deaths of seven elephants in the Palugaswewa Forest Reserve into the political plot. With Sajith Premadasa choosing the Swan symbol for his candidacy, does it mean the end of the UNP’s elephantine decades?

As we await the full post-mortem probe into these deaths (or killings), we must get some insights into the elephant disaster in the UNP; when a party candidate – who is its deputy leader – has to think of swimming to victory on the back of a swan. The two previous swan candidates – former Gen. Sarath Fonseka and hopper cross-over Maithripala Sirisena were not UNP leaders, or even members. What we are now seeing is the Swan Ride of Sajith Premadasa to face the Pohottuva ride by Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Of course there are others in the presidency hopeful list too. But the trend of current politics puts these two in the lead, but why?

Can the country and the voters expect anything of national value from these candidates when the record of the past seven decades point to a complete failure of political candidacy on the larger issues of national development and social progress? Yes we know how the two violent uprising of the JVP were put down, and how the LTTE’s separatist terrorism was defeated. But are they good examples for social and national progress, when the post-event scenarios in both situations were those of massive corruption and political crookedness?

Continue reading ‘How Different are the Policies of Sajith Premadasa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Those of Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa?’ »

Court of Appeal Three Judge Bench Unanimously Dismisses Writ Application Challenging Validity of SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Citizenship;Reasons for Ruling to be Delivered in Writing at Later Date

In an unanimous decision a three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal yesterday dismissed the writ application filed challenging the validity of presidential aspirant Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Sri Lankan citizenship.

“Formal notices of this application should not be issued to the respondents, and the application should therefore be dismissed,” President of the Court of Appeal Justice Yasantha Kodagoda announced at a few minutes past 6 p.m. inside packed courtroom No. 301.

Hearings on the petition, initially scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, continued for a third day till about 1.30 p.m. last afternoon. Counsels were instructed to file written submissions by 3.15 p.m. The much-anticipated order was to be delivered by 6 p.m., having given the judges enough time for deliberations.

Based on the agreement reached when the Counsel for petitioners and respondents approached the Bench, the order read out last evening would not contain reasoning, due to time constraints. Reasons for the order were to be delivered in writing at a later date.

Continue reading ‘Court of Appeal Three Judge Bench Unanimously Dismisses Writ Application Challenging Validity of SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Citizenship;Reasons for Ruling to be Delivered in Writing at Later Date’ »

Three-judge Bench Comprising Justices Yasantha Kodagoda (President/CA), Arjuna Obeysekara and Mahinda Samayawardena Dismiss Writ Petition Against Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Citizenship Status After Four days of Continued Hearings at the Court of Appeal.

By

Shehan Chamika Silva

The three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal comprising Justices Yasantha Kodagoda (President/CA), Arjuna Obeysekara and Mahinda Samayawardena today unanimously decided to dismiss the writ petition filed against former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s citizenship status after hearing all parties over almost four days of continued court proceedings at the Court of Appeal.

This petition was initially filed invoking the writ jurisdiction by the petitioners. This petition had disputed the citizenship status of Gotabaya Rajapaksa based on the following scenarios that took place in 2005.

Petitioners said Mahinda Rajapaksa was the Prime Minister before November 18, 2005. He then assumed office as the president on November 18, 2005. Thereafter, the Cabinet and ministerial secretaries dissolved because the PM ceased to function. However, Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship certificate was signed by the former President on November 21, 2005, exercising the executive powers vested in the cabinet.

On December 08, the new cabinet was formed by the president.

Petitioners argued that If the cabinet was dissolved there were no ministers to sign the certificate and the president has no power to exercise all ministerial powers till the cabinet is appointed.

Continue reading ‘Three-judge Bench Comprising Justices Yasantha Kodagoda (President/CA), Arjuna Obeysekara and Mahinda Samayawardena Dismiss Writ Petition Against Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Citizenship Status After Four days of Continued Hearings at the Court of Appeal.’ »

“The President himself is a creature of the Constitutio and does not rule the realm by divine right exercising plenary powers” states Chanaka de Silva PC Counsel for Home Affairs Minister Wajira Abeywardena Before Court of Appeal

The argument that the President of the Republic holds plenary executive power was “emphatically rejected” by a seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in its judgment on the illegal dissolution of Parliament in November 2018, said Counsel for the Third Respondent Home Affairs Minister Wajira Abeywardena President’s Counsel Chanaka De Silva, as hearings on the high-stakes case challenging the validity of SLPP presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s citizenship commenced for a second day yesterday.

President’s Counsel Chanaka De Silva said the decision of the seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court was binding in relation to this argument, which was raised by the Attorney General appearing on behalf of the Controller General for Immigration and the Registrar of Persons on 2 October, to claim that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was within his lawful rights to sign Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship certificate on 21 November 2005.

“The President himself is a creature of the Constitution. He does not rule the realm by divine right exercising plenary powers. His powers are certainly not a divine right,” De Silva PC argued, in a lengthy but lucid submission before the Court of Appeal last afternoon. The Supreme Court had ruled in 2018 that plenary power was akin to “royal prerogative power”, enjoyed by monarchs, he added.

Continue reading ‘“The President himself is a creature of the Constitutio and does not rule the realm by divine right exercising plenary powers” states Chanaka de Silva PC Counsel for Home Affairs Minister Wajira Abeywardena Before Court of Appeal’ »

Sri Lankans Across the Political Divide are Waiting with Bated Breath for the Court of Appeal Ruling on Gotabaya Rajapaksa Citizenship Issue


By P.K.Balachandran

Since the entire complexion of the November 16 Sri Lankan Presidential election will change if the Court of Appeal upholds the plea that the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna’s candidate, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is not a Sri Lankan citizen, Sri Lankans across the political divide are waiting with bated breath for the verdict which is expected to be given on October 4.

For Gotabaya to remain in the Presidential race, the court will have to resolve two issues in his favour:-

(1) The controversy over the legality of the Dual Citizenship Certificate he possesses. This certificate has the signature of the then President of Sri Lanka (Mahinda Rajapaksa) but not the Secretary of the concerned Ministry. It has a “for” signature and not the Ministry Secretary’s.

(2) The non-availability, at the moment, of the original docket pertaining to his Dual Citizenship in the office of the Controller General of Immigration and Emigration.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankans Across the Political Divide are Waiting with Bated Breath for the Court of Appeal Ruling on Gotabaya Rajapaksa Citizenship Issue’ »

Special Convention Unanimously Endorses Sajith Premadasa as UNF Presidential Candidate and Ranil Wickremesinghe as UNP Leader.

By

Zacky Jabbar

A Special Convention of the UNP held at the Sugathadasa Stadium yesterday, unanimously endorsed Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa as the United National Front’s (UNF) Presidential candidate and confirmed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the UNP leader.

After the Convention accepted Wickremesinghe’s proposal to endorse the UNP Working Committee ( WC ) decision taken on September 26, to nominate Sajith as the UNF’s Presidential candidate, Sajith was accompanied onto the dais by his mother and former first lady Hema Premadasa.

In the audience were Sajith’s sister Dulanjali and wife Jalani. Also present on the occasion were Assistant UNP leader Ravi Karunanayake and constiuent party leaders of the UNF, Rauff Hakeem , Patali Champika Ranawaka, Palani Digambaram and Mano Ganeshan.

Continue reading ‘Special Convention Unanimously Endorses Sajith Premadasa as UNF Presidential Candidate and Ranil Wickremesinghe as UNP Leader.’ »

Lawyers for SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Argue that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was Repository of all Executive Power Before a Cabinet of Ministers was Appointed and Therefore Legally Empowered to Sign his brother’s Dual Citizenshi Certificate on 21 November 2005.

Lawyers for SLPP presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday insisted that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was the repository of all executive power before a Cabinet of Ministers was appointed, and was therefore legally empowered to sign his brother’s dual citizenship certificate on 21 November 2005, the legality of which is being challenged in the Court of Appeal.

President’s Counsel Romesh De Silva, who explained the evolution of executive power of the President since the 1972 Constitution, said that the 1978 Constitution made it clear that the executive power of the people was exercised through the President. De Silva PC, arguing for Rajapaksa, who was the fifth respondent, decided he would avoid the question of whether the President had plenary powers, and insisted instead that in order to assign powers to Ministers, those powers must first be reposed in the President of the Republic. Article 44 (2) of the Constitution provides for how the President can assign Ministries and also how unallocated Ministries would remain with him, Counsel for Rajapaksa explained.

Counsel for Gotabaya Rajapaksa also raised a number of objections to the Writ Petition, setting out legal and logical reasons for why President Rajapaksa had the power to sign his brother’s dual citizenship certificate on 21 November 2005.

Continue reading ‘Lawyers for SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Argue that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was Repository of all Executive Power Before a Cabinet of Ministers was Appointed and Therefore Legally Empowered to Sign his brother’s Dual Citizenshi Certificate on 21 November 2005.’ »

UNP Convention Passes Six Unanimous Resolutions Regarding Sajith’s Presidential Candidacy, Ranil’s Party Leadership,Establishing UNP Govt in 2020,Continuing Constitutional Reform, Abolishing Executive Presidency and Commending Karu’s Role During Oct 26th Crisis

By Nuwan Senarathna

The United National Party (UNP) yesterday passed a slew of resolutions at their annual convention, including a commitment to take forward the constitutional reform process which began in 2015, including the abolition of the Executive Presidency, but in concurrence with the Prime Minister and other stakeholders.

During the convention, held at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium, six resolutions were passed by the UNP, to take forward constitutional reforms that were included in their earlier manifesto for the 2015 Presidential Elections. Prime Minister and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe presented the resolution, which was unanimously approved by party members.

The six resolutions included: fielding UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa as the presidential candidate; appointing Wickremesinghe as UNP Leader; working to form a majority government of UNP parliamentarians in 2020; and recognising Speaker Karu Jayasuriya’s role in resolving the constitutional crisis of 2018.

Continue reading ‘UNP Convention Passes Six Unanimous Resolutions Regarding Sajith’s Presidential Candidacy, Ranil’s Party Leadership,Establishing UNP Govt in 2020,Continuing Constitutional Reform, Abolishing Executive Presidency and Commending Karu’s Role During Oct 26th Crisis’ »

Romesh de Silva PC Appearing for Gotabaya Rajapaksa Submits to Special Three-Judge Bench of Appeal Court Hearing Writ Petition That Litigation Against his Client had been Brought by Political Opponents and was not in the Public Interest

Security was beefed up around the Superior Courts Complex as the high stakes litigation challenging the validity of SLPP presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Sri Lankan citizenship was taken up before a special three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal yesterday.

Appearing as Counsel for civil society activists Gamini Viyangoda and Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara, who filed the writ application, Attorney-at-Law Suren Fernando told the Court of Appeal during a lengthy submission that Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship certificate was a “nullity in law”, illegal on the face of it and “nothing but a blank sheet of paper” – a reference to the UK Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the prorogation of Parliament in that country.

Setting out his case, Fernando said that Gotabaya Rajapaksa was a citizen of Sri Lanka by birth but ceased to be a citizen under the Citizenship Act, when he swore an oath to become a citizen of another country on or around 31 January 2003. He had to subsequently make an application under the Citizenship Act section 19 (2) to resume status as citizen of Sri Lanka by virtue of dual citizenship.

Fernando told the court that Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship certificate was purportedly approved on 21 November 2005 after an application was made on 18 November 2005 which was a Friday. “It was also the day the results of the Presidential Election were released,” Fernando said. 21 November was the immediately following Monday, with a weekend in between.

Continue reading ‘Romesh de Silva PC Appearing for Gotabaya Rajapaksa Submits to Special Three-Judge Bench of Appeal Court Hearing Writ Petition That Litigation Against his Client had been Brought by Political Opponents and was not in the Public Interest’ »

Palaly Airport Vested Under Civil Aviation Authority to be Developed Into Sri Lanka’s Third International Airport: Regional Flights to Indian Cities from Jaffna International Airport (JIA) Likely To Commence From Mid -October

By Chandani Kirinde

Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Arjuna Ranatunga has vested the Jaffna International Airport (JIA) with the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAA) ahead of the commencement of regional commercial operations in mid-October.

The runway and the runway strip of JIA and the whole portion of the airport land located northwards abutting the runway has been vested with the CAA under the Civil Aviation Authority Act with immediate effect.

The order by the Minister has been made in keeping with the Cabinet decision of 6 August on ‘Development of Palaly Airport of Operation of Regional Commercial Flights’.

Continue reading ‘Palaly Airport Vested Under Civil Aviation Authority to be Developed Into Sri Lanka’s Third International Airport: Regional Flights to Indian Cities from Jaffna International Airport (JIA) Likely To Commence From Mid -October’ »

Sri Lanka Podujana Party Says Writs Filed Against Gotabaya Rajapaksa is an Attempt to Block the SLPP Presidential Candidate From Contesting the Presidential Elections


The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) yesterday said they were confident of facing legal challenges directed at their presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and said they have faith in the Judiciary to deliver a just decision.

A three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal (CA) yesterday commenced hearings on the Writ challenging Rajapaksa’s Sri Lankan citizenship.

Speaking to media at the Viyath Maga Head Office, SLPP Spokesman MP Dullas Alahapperuma said Rajapaksa had obtained dual citizenship in 2005 in accordance with law.

He argued that the entire sequence of events related to dual citizenship was a 15-year-old issue, and in his view, it was a baseless and irrelevant accusation.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Podujana Party Says Writs Filed Against Gotabaya Rajapaksa is an Attempt to Block the SLPP Presidential Candidate From Contesting the Presidential Elections’ »

If Frontrunner Gotabaya Rajapaksa is Unable to Contest Presidential Elections Due to Appeal Court Ruling, It willbe a Cakewalk then For His Closest Rival Sajith Premadasa.

By P.K.Balachandran

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a front-runner in the Sri Lankan Presidential election to be held on November 16, is facing a serious issue over his Sri Lankan citizenship, days before the date for filing of nominations.

Nominations are to be filed on October 6 and the case against him, filed in the Court of Appeal by two civil society activists, was taken up on October 2.

If the court rules against him, Gotabaya, who is the candidate of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s popular Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), will not be able to contest the election. It will then be a cakewalk for his nearest rival, Sajith Premadasa, of the ruling United National Party (UNP).

Petitioners Gamini Viyangoda and Prof.Chandraguptha Thenuwara have questioned Gotabaya’s Sri Lankan citizenship and the issuance of a Lankan passport and a National ID card to him.

Continue reading ‘If Frontrunner Gotabaya Rajapaksa is Unable to Contest Presidential Elections Due to Appeal Court Ruling, It willbe a Cakewalk then For His Closest Rival Sajith Premadasa.’ »

Counsel Suren Fernando Appearing for Petitioners and Senior Deputy Solicitor-General Nerin Pulle Appearing for Attorney -General Make Submissions Before Court of Appeal In Writ Cases Filed Against Gotabaya Rajapaksa

By

Shehan Chamika Silva

Appearing for the Attorney General, Senior Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle today told that the former president, who had signed the dual citizenship certificate of Gotabaya Rajapaksa in 2005, actually had the power to do so as the relevant minister, because he had continued to exercise being the head of the government and the executive even in absence of a cabinet at that time.

Appearing for the petitioners, Counsel Suren Fernando at the onset of the writ inquiry stated that Gotabaya Rajapaksa was a former citizen of Sri Lanka before 2003 by decent. Thereafter, on or around January 31, 2003, he had become a citizen of another country i.e. the United States of America. From that day onwards, Gotabaya Rajapaksa ceased to be a Citizen of Sri Lanka under the Citizenship Act of Sri Lanka.

Subsequently, he had to obtain a dual citizenship status by applying to the relevant Ministry, in order to obtain a new Passport and a National Identity Card, because he was no longer a citizen of Sri Lanka at that time.

Mr. Fernando stated that, thereafter, Gotabaya Rajapaksa had possibly applied for a dual citizenship certificate to the relevant Ministry during the time period November 18 – 24, 2005, soon after his brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected as the President of Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Counsel Suren Fernando Appearing for Petitioners and Senior Deputy Solicitor-General Nerin Pulle Appearing for Attorney -General Make Submissions Before Court of Appeal In Writ Cases Filed Against Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

Romesh de Silva PC Appearing for Gotabaya Rajapaksa at Appeal Court Raises Preliminary Objection Over the Maintainability of Writ Application Against Ex-Defence Secretary.

By

Shehan Chamika Silva

Romesh de Silva PC appearing for Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the writ petition today brought up a preliminary objection over the maintainability of the writ application on several grounds.

He said the petition cannot seek the relief sought in the petition as they do not have the locus standi (right to bring the action) in the first place.

Mr. De Silva said that the subject matter relating to the petition is identical to investigation which is still in progress at the Chief Magistrate’s Court and therefore, without such investigation being come to a conclusion the petitioners cannot invoke writ jurisdiction and seek reliefs.

Continue reading ‘Romesh de Silva PC Appearing for Gotabaya Rajapaksa at Appeal Court Raises Preliminary Objection Over the Maintainability of Writ Application Against Ex-Defence Secretary.’ »

Suhada Gamlath Reiterates he wont resign Because he Spoke the Truth and Will wait for Action to be Taken Against him

By

Susitha Fernando

Former Solicitor General (SG) and Chairman of the Sri Lanka National Authority for the Protection of Witnesses and Victims, Suhada Gamlath reiterated that he spoke the truth and said telling the truth had been construed as politics.

He was responding to Justice Minister Thalatha Athukorala, who said he has talked politics while holding a position in the public service.

“If telling truth is construed as politics what is the use of living in this country,” Mr. Gamlath asked.

Continue reading ‘Suhada Gamlath Reiterates he wont resign Because he Spoke the Truth and Will wait for Action to be Taken Against him’ »

Justice Minister Thalatha Atukorale Urges President Sirisena to Take Action Against Suhada Gamlath for Stating Publicly that two Ministers Had tried to Influence him into Arresting Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

By
Yohan Perera

Chairman of the National Authority for Protection of Witnesses and Victims, Suhada Gamlath has said he would submit his resignation shortly but action is being taken by the Presidential Secretariat to remove him if he fails to do so by today, Justice and Law Reforms Minister Thalatha Athukorala said today.

She told a conference that Mr. Gamlath had committed an offence as a public servant by talking to the media on certain issues.

Continue reading ‘Justice Minister Thalatha Atukorale Urges President Sirisena to Take Action Against Suhada Gamlath for Stating Publicly that two Ministers Had tried to Influence him into Arresting Gotabaya Rajapaksa.’ »