The Prime Minister Is Dead: How and Why SWRD Bandaranaike Was Assassinated Sixty Years Ago

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“The Prime Minister is Dead” was the striking headline in extra – large, bold letters of a special edition published by the now defunct “Times of Ceylon” on the morning of Saturday, September 26th 1959. Though I was only a little kid at that time and sixty years have passed since, I still remember this heading vividly as the newspaper was among copies of newspapers with important news that were kept by my father for many years. The “Times of Ceylon” in those days was an evening daily with a first edition published at noon. But on this day the paper had brought out a special edition in the morning itself with the powerful headline.

The headline of course referred to S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike the prime minister of Ceylon as Sri Lanka was known then. I was five years old then and studying in the Lower Kindergarten class. I could not read English then as we the Tamil and Sinhala medium students started learning English only from the Upper Kindergarten at S.Thomas’ prep school, Kollupitiya. However I did understand what the headline meant when my father read it out loudly. The news was somewhat stale because I had already heard all about it over the radio earlier. “Radio Ceylon” was also airing special bulletins about the shooting . Later the radio played mournful, melancholy music over the air waves to denote the death of the prime minister on the 26th .

Buddha Jayanthi Celebrations – 1956 – pic: SWRD Bandaranaike Museum

The morning’s “Daily News” had details of how Prime Minister Bandaranaike had been shot on Friday September 25th. This was read and explained to me earlier by my father. Bandaranaike was hospitalized and was seemingly out of danger . The situation had taken a turn for the worse in the morning and the country’s prime minister passed away between 7.45 – 8.00 am. This necessitated the evening dailies like “Observer” and “Times of Ceylon” to bring out early special editions in the morning.
Continue reading ‘The Prime Minister Is Dead: How and Why SWRD Bandaranaike Was Assassinated Sixty Years Ago’ »

How Many Tamil Votes Can EPDP chief Douglas Devananda Canvass for Gotabaya Rajapaksa At Presidential Poll?

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Ever since the name of Gotabaya Rajapaksa began to be bandied about as a potential candidate at the Sri Lankan presidential elections, doubts have been raised as to whether the former defence ministry secretary could win at the hustings. This skepticism has intensified in recent times after former president Mahinda Rajapaksa formally announced his brother’s candidacy at the Sri Lanka Podujana Party(SLPP) Convention on August 7th this year.

EPDP Meeting Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Earlier there was much pessimism about Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s eligibility to contest as a dual citizen holding US citizenship. It was strongly believed that Gota would not be allowed to relinquish his US citizenship on time to contest presidential elections and would be disbarred from contesting as a dual citizen in terms of the 19th Constitutional amendment. These misgivings seem to have somewhat diminished after Gota produced documents as proof of having lost his US Nationality.
Continue reading ‘How Many Tamil Votes Can EPDP chief Douglas Devananda Canvass for Gotabaya Rajapaksa At Presidential Poll?’ »

Will Sajith Premadasa Split From The UNP And Contest Presidential Poll Separately Or Remain in the Party Even if Denied Candidacy?

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

There is political excitement in the air in anticipation of Presidential elections before the end of the year. Even though no dates have been specified there is much speculation about prospective candidates and their prospects. Among those being spoken of as a potential presidential election contender is Hambantota District Parliamentarian and Cabinet Minister of Housing and Construction Sajith Premadasa who is also the United National Party (UNP) deputy leader. Sajith is the son of Ranasinghe Premadasa who served as Prime minister of a United National Party (UNP)Government from 1978 to 1988 and as President of Sri Lanka from 1988 to 1993.

pic: facebook.com/sajithpremadasa

The simmering tensions within the UNP over this issue are now coming to light In a big way. The latest incident being the UNP working committee meeting held on August 1st to approve the proposal by party leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to form a new political alliance named National Democratic Front (NDF) and face Presidential elections.
Continue reading ‘Will Sajith Premadasa Split From The UNP And Contest Presidential Poll Separately Or Remain in the Party Even if Denied Candidacy?’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Firmly Refutes “False”Allegations Made Against Him by Maithripala Sirisena About Special Cabinet Meeting to Discuss Abolition of Executive Presidency.

The fallout from last week’s hurried move to abolish the executive presidency continued to reverberate through Government ranks as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday rejected the claim by President Maithripala Sirisena that it was the UNP leader who wanted an urgent Cabinet meeting convened for the purpose.

“The President telephoned me at 8.16 a.m. on the morning of 19 September (Thursday) morning. He asked me whether he should call a Cabinet meeting to discuss the 20th Amendment. I informed the President that the civil society had made a request that we do so. (TNA MP M.A) Sumanthiran had also informed me of the President’s stand on the matter. Therefore, I told the President that it is appropriate to call the Cabinet and discuss it. I said that we should call that meeting on Thursday or Friday,” the Prime Minister told party activists.

His remarks came hours after President Sirisena told a public gathering on Saturday that he had called the Special Cabinet meeting on Thursday only because Wickremesinghe wanted to present a Cabinet paper on the abolition of the executive presidency and that the Prime Minister message was conveyed to him by Minister Ravi Karunanayake.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Firmly Refutes “False”Allegations Made Against Him by Maithripala Sirisena About Special Cabinet Meeting to Discuss Abolition of Executive Presidency.’ »

It is Not a Tough Man who Would Save Sri Lanka at the Present Juncture But a Democratic Man who Would Observe the Rule of Law and Protect Property Rights of the People


By

W.A. Wijewardena

Recently, a former CEO of a leading private company expressed his personal view to me of the type of the ruler whom Sri Lanka should have today. Driven by conviction, he said that Sri Lanka at the present juncture needed a dictator to rule the country. He presented his reasons for this suggestion. All the top leaders of the country today, according to him, have disappointingly failed the nation. They have promised so many good things to the electorate when they sought power at elections. But, once in power, those promises had been kept in abeyance.

The list was long, but he mentioned some of the key promises that had been broken. Among them were the promises to take those who had been accused of committing acts of corruption to courts, abolish executive presidency, establish a ‘rule of law based government system’, and revert to good governance practices. Hence, the ex-CEO had been an angry man. His anger had made him rationalise that the problem had been due to the softness of the people in power.

He presented evidence from the region where tough administrations had been successful in delivering the promises. In Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew had been a tough ruler though he had been elected to power through elections. In South Korea, General Park had seized power through a coup d’état. He is said to have used his military prowess to enforce discipline on otherwise undisciplined South Koreans. The results had been dramatic. Within a single generation, both countries had been able to elevate themselves to the status of rich countries. Hence, the golden path to economic prosperity, according to the ex-CEO, was to have an authoritarian rule.

Continue reading ‘It is Not a Tough Man who Would Save Sri Lanka at the Present Juncture But a Democratic Man who Would Observe the Rule of Law and Protect Property Rights of the People’ »

Cold Calculation Marks Choices Ahead of the November 16 Sri Lankan Presidential Election.

By P.K.Balachandran

Whatever the issue may be, a politician’s or a political party’s stand on it is determined by immediate political interests and not ideology, principles or long-standing commitments.

Cold calculation marks choices ahead of the November 16 Sri Lankan Presidential election. This has come out clearly in the stand taken by Lankan political leaders and political parties on the question of electoral alliances and issues like the abolition of the Executive Presidency (EP).

Abolition of the EP has been on the agenda of all Lankan political parties since 1995. Every candidate would pledge to abolish it if voted to power. But for one reason or the other, the promise would never be kept. However, come elections, the promise would be re-iterated and arguments mustered for the abolition of the EP.

But again, the promise would be broken because the office is so powerful that no occupant and his or her followers would want to give it up.

However, the opposition would not allow the incumbent to forget his or her pledge. Abolition of the EP would be raked up by the opposition to show the incumbent President as a power-hungry dictator misusing his powerful office. Abolition of the EP would be made an election issue the next time round.

Continue reading ‘Cold Calculation Marks Choices Ahead of the November 16 Sri Lankan Presidential Election.’ »

Thirty Years After: Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama’s Lasting Impact.

By

Dr.Rajan Hoole


( Text of Speech delivered by DR. Rajan Hoole at Trimmer Hall, Jaffna, on 21st September 2019 to mark the 30th anniversary of Dr.Rajini Thiranagama’s assassination)

Ever since Rajani was killed, on 21st September 1989, many around the world have seen her as a heroic figure that stood for human values, not in a legalistic sense, but in the full-blooded sense that evokes an emotional and intellectual response; that moves those around her to commitment and action that is contagious. Accepting that we are living in a world that is not pacifist, her activism was towards solutions that avoided violence. The other view of Rajani was simply that she is a traitor. For those who felt helpless when the Tigers carried all before them, she inspired them as a symbol of resistance to the emerging fascist order, where to dissent was to court death.

Between these ways of seeing her, something crucial is lost. That is her role as a public intellectual, a word she viewed with deep reservation. She was an academic extraordinary, not one whose fame owed to a numerical count of obscure papers. She wrote in the Broken Palmyra:

“In this sketch an encompassing view is attempted, within the framework of historical analysis. … [It] rather breaks into emotional and descriptive scenarios. This has been inevitable for us, as we are participants in the pain and agony of a nation. This sketch is attempted principally to bring out into the open the little known side of our nation (already people are adapting themselves to living with reality, pushing and smothering the pain into the recesses of memory) and the underlying causative processes and forces.”

As ‘pain and agony’ in the passage suggests, for Rajani, intellectual activity was entwined with our emotions and feelings, and flowing with these it gives direction to our actions. This is evident in everything she wrote, but within a rigorous discipline that demanded truth and accuracy. Everything had to be properly reasoned out and the reader should not be taxed with obscurities and ambiguities.

When she got the co-authors together and edited the first typed scripts of the Broken Palmyra, in 1988, one had to put up with passages from one’s writing being pencilled out or being asked to redraft certain portions. One was made to take one’s ego less seriously and the pain was ameliorated by her kindness and charm. Finally, the book was improved tremendously by the pains she took and our co author Sritharan’s quick, sharp and unfailing analysis.

Continue reading ‘Thirty Years After: Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama’s Lasting Impact.’ »

The More we are Connected Through Social Media the Greater the Risk of Being Rent Asunder by Stories that Weaponise Incomprehension, Anxiety, Suspicion and Myth.

by Sanjana Hattotuwa

What binds a community together? Initially one might assume it is to do with having the same language, external enemies or economic interests. However, something generally precedes all that: common ideas that are passed down from generation to generation and that shape the development of the community.

These ideas lend a distinctiveness to the collective and eventually form the foundation of a national identity.

‘Ideen Schweiz’, or ‘Ideas of Switzerland’, is a permanent exhibition at the Swiss National Museum in Zurich. The text introducing the exhibits features the excerpt above. The Director of the museum, Andreas Spillmann, goes on to expand some of these ideas in a blog post, stressing that the supranational Swiss identity is defined by narratives, independent of an individual’s background. Stories, in other words, matter.

In Switzerland, stories around a common identity and shared history are, to Spillmann, more consequential than personal origins, religion or ethnicity. The question driving him and the exhibition is of trans-national importance. What makes a country what it is?

What are the ideas that bind, around a common, shared set of stories that capture the past, frame the present and help envision shared futures? As crucial in Sri Lanka – a country about as far removed as possible from Spillmann’s thesis of narratives as social glue – what are the stories that divide us? How are they selected, told and amplified? Can we capture the socio-political dynamics of a country through stories?

Continue reading ‘The More we are Connected Through Social Media the Greater the Risk of Being Rent Asunder by Stories that Weaponise Incomprehension, Anxiety, Suspicion and Myth.’ »

Former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake Reveals The True Story Behind Her Impeachment by the Rajapaksa Regime Through Two Books in Sinhala and English – “Uththareethara Doshabiyogaye Athulanthaya and “Hold Me In Contempt – A Memoir”

By
Aanya Wipulasena

Most of it happened behind closed doors. The public knew only what was shown on television and what they read in the newspapers, and one caught a glimpse (perhaps) of the true story, depending on which television channel one watched, or which newspaper one read.

Now, six years later, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, the 43rd Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, is breaking her silence for the first time with two books that detail her harrowing impeachment, which, to date haunts the country’s legal system.

On January 13, 2013 Dr. Bandaranayake, (the first woman ever to head the country’s judiciary), was removed by the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa who accused her of corruption, and two years later reinstated by incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena. The President’s office branded the impeachment a ‘procedural’ error. Twenty-four hours after her name was cleared, Dr. Bandaranayake retired.

Continue reading ‘Former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake Reveals The True Story Behind Her Impeachment by the Rajapaksa Regime Through Two Books in Sinhala and English – “Uththareethara Doshabiyogaye Athulanthaya and “Hold Me In Contempt – A Memoir”’ »

“Old Identity Card Number Appears in the Electoral Lists Though I Filled out Forms With the New No and Elections Dept was Informed of Change by Registration of Persons Dep” Clarifies Gotabaya Rajapaksa

With reference to the Daily Mirror news story on the appearance of the invalidated national identity card number of Gotabhaya Rajapksa in the electoral registers of 2017, 2018 and 2019, Mr. Rajapaksa said that although he filled the form with the new ID number and the Department of Registration of Persons had informed the Elections Department of the new identity card number what appears in the electoral list is the old ID number.

Continue reading ‘“Old Identity Card Number Appears in the Electoral Lists Though I Filled out Forms With the New No and Elections Dept was Informed of Change by Registration of Persons Dep” Clarifies Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

Attorney -General Dappula de Livera to Refer Matter Concerning Alleged Telephone Conversation Between Solicitor -General Dilrukshi Dias Wickremasinghe and Avant Garde Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi to Public Services Commission For Further Action

By

Anurangi Singh

Attorney General Dappula De Livera will refer the matter of a leaked telephone conversation allegedly between the chairman of the controversial private security firm Avant Garde and the former Director General of the Bribery Commission, to the Public Service Commission (PSC) tomorrow, his office told Sunday Observer.

The move comes as the former Bribery Commission Director General Dilrukshi Dias Wickremasinghe finally broke her silence on her personal Facebook account last week, posing counter questions to Avant Garde Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi who admitted he had leaked the conversation. “As a public officer I am not permitted to make public or press statements, Wickremasinghe noted, adding that Senadhipathi should reveal the entire telephone conversation without editing, doctoring and distorting the contents. “Secondly, please disclose to the public the name of the Minister whose telephone you called and the reasons why the said minister passed the telephone to me,” the post added.

Continue reading ‘Attorney -General Dappula de Livera to Refer Matter Concerning Alleged Telephone Conversation Between Solicitor -General Dilrukshi Dias Wickremasinghe and Avant Garde Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi to Public Services Commission For Further Action’ »

Media reports State the National Identity Card Used by Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Register as a Voter in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Electoral Lists had been invalidated by the Department for Registration of Persons in October 2016.

By

Anurangi Singh

A day after the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna made a deposit on behalf of its presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Elections Commission, fresh controversy has erupted over the former defence secretary being registered to vote since 2017 under a NIC number that has been defunct since October 2016.

The revelations followed confirmation by the Police Headquarters that the CID had reported progress to the Colombo Chief Magistrate on its investigation into alleged irregularities pertaining to Rajapaksa’s passport and “other matters” last Friday, and disputing media reports that the CID’s request to arrest the former Defence Secretary had been rejected by the Chief Magistrate.

Media reports yesterday said the NIC used by Gotabaya Rajapaksa to register as a voter in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 electoral lists had been invalidated by the Department for Registration of Persons (DRP) in October 2016.Economic Reforms and Public Distribution Minister and UNP Organiser for Kotte, Dr. Harsha de Silva yesterday further reinforced the revelations publicly yesterday, by tweeting extracts of the Kotte Electoral Register that clearly shows Rajapaksa was registered to vote under his pre-2016 NIC.

Continue reading ‘Media reports State the National Identity Card Used by Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Register as a Voter in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Electoral Lists had been invalidated by the Department for Registration of Persons in October 2016.’ »

“Those in the Cabinet who Say They are for Executive Presidency Abolition But this is not the right time Can Help Pass the Bill Now in Parliament and hold the referendum Afterwards Suggests TNA Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran


TNA parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran said yesterday that the emergency Cabinet meeting summoned on Thursday to discuss the abolition of the executive presidency was done with the agreement of both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

“The primary promise of the 2015 Presidential Election campaign was the abolition of the executive presidency, and this is one issue on which the TNA has been talking to both the President and the Prime Minister for some time. Hence Thursday’s Cabinet meeting was fixed for this purpose, as the President said the proposal needs to be approved by the Cabinet and he was confident it would be passed,” Sumanthiran said.

Continue reading ‘“Those in the Cabinet who Say They are for Executive Presidency Abolition But this is not the right time Can Help Pass the Bill Now in Parliament and hold the referendum Afterwards Suggests TNA Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran’ »

The Nelum Kuluna will stand out and rise as the tallest symbol of the corruption that has been the operational principle of governance in this country in the past three decades or more

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

SLFP’s Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekera will have to give up on his calls for the SLPP and the Gotabaya Rajapaksa team to have a common symbol if contesting the polls in an alliance between the two parties.

President Maithripala Sirisena has now sent the symbol of Gotabaya and the SLPP into celestial heights with the opening of the Nelum Kuluna – the Lotus Tower of political display and pain of expenses.

The Lotus Bud at the peak of the Nelum Kuluna stands out in both day and night, giving a big boost to the symbol of the political forces that support the candidature of Gotabaya Rajapaksa for the presidency, and the hopes of Mahinda Rajapaksa to be the next prime minister.

The same Lotus Bud also reminds one of corruption that was the core feature of the Rajapaksa regime, the failure of the yahapalana successors to curb such corruption, and promote more of such massive frauds in governance.

Continue reading ‘The Nelum Kuluna will stand out and rise as the tallest symbol of the corruption that has been the operational principle of governance in this country in the past three decades or more’ »

Sajith Premadasa is also for Abolition of Executive Presidency and will Announce it after he is Nominated as the Presidential Candidate Says Thalatha Atukorale.

By Himal Kotelawala

United National Party (UNP) seniors backing Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa in the race to the executive presidency defended their decision yesterday to oppose the 11th hour move to abolish it.

Speaking to the media in Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s official residence in Colombo this afternoon, Ministers Thalatha Atukorale, Ranjith Madduma Bandara and Ravindra Samaraweera said that all party leaders of the UNP-led United National Front (UNF) alliance were not only vehemently opposed to the move, but were also fully behind the candidacy of Premadasa.

Insisting that they were not opposed to abolishing the executive presidency, Atukorale said a majority of the UNP and the UNF were merely against the indecent hurry with which it was being pushed, with an election just weeks away.

Atukorale also defended President Maithripala Sirisena who, as President, has the sole power to convene the Cabinet of Ministers.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa is also for Abolition of Executive Presidency and will Announce it after he is Nominated as the Presidential Candidate Says Thalatha Atukorale.’ »

In Heated Cabinet Meeting Group of UNP Ministers Led by Mangala Samaraweera Along With Minority Party Ministers Rauff Hakeem, Mano Ganesan and Palani Digambaram Oppose Move to Abolish Executive Presidency Before Presidential Election is Held.

By Chandani Kirinde

A Cabinet meeting was hurriedly summoned last afternoon to obtain approval to rush the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, which seeks to abolish the Executive Presidency, through Parliament, but was stopped on its tracks after a group within the United National Party (UNP), as well as three minor parties, opposed the move.

There were heated arguments at the meeting, with Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera strongly objecting to the move, saying the proposal must be withheld until the Presidential Election is concluded, while Ministers Rajitha Senaratne and Ravi Karunanayake spoke in support of pushing the 20th Amendment through Parliament before the poll.

The opposition from minor parties came from Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauff Hakeem, Democratic People’s Front leader Mano Ganesh, and Tamil Progressive Alliance leader Palany Thigambaram.

However, it was not clear who had initiated the proposal, with sources at the Prime Minister’s office saying that it was President Maithripala Sirisena who wanted the matter discussed, while others hinting Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was behind the move.

Continue reading ‘In Heated Cabinet Meeting Group of UNP Ministers Led by Mangala Samaraweera Along With Minority Party Ministers Rauff Hakeem, Mano Ganesan and Palani Digambaram Oppose Move to Abolish Executive Presidency Before Presidential Election is Held.’ »

Joint Attempt by President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe to Abolish the Executive Presidency Thwarted as Ministers Decide After Heated Arguments not to Discuss Issue Due to Presidential Elections Being Announced

by

Kelum Bandara

A last ditch attempt to abolish the executive presidency by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was thwarted in the Cabinet today.

Minister Mano Ganeshan said the government has decided at the special cabinet meeting on the abolishment of the Executive Presidency not to discuss the matter at the moment.

“Special cabinet meeting on abolishing executive presidency unanimously decided after heated arguments not to discuss this matter now when the Election Commission has gazetted presidential elections. A vast majority of government ministers declared that ‘we will go for presidential elections and win’,” the minister tweeted.

Continue reading ‘Joint Attempt by President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe to Abolish the Executive Presidency Thwarted as Ministers Decide After Heated Arguments not to Discuss Issue Due to Presidential Elections Being Announced’ »

“Pro-UNP Group of the SLFP Will Back Sajith Premadasa if he is Nominated as the UNP Candidate or Slant Towards the JVP in a Presidential Election “Says Dilan Perera MP.

By

Sandun A Jayasekera

The UNP group of the SLFP would either back UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa if he gets the ticket to contest the Presidential poll or slant towards the JVP as the once great political party has become politically destitute today, SLFP rebel Parliamentarian Dilan Perera said today.

He added that the SLFP has no option now but to hang on to another party as it put unrealistic conditions to the SLPP to prevent the formation of the proposed political alliance.

“The SLFP has no problem in supporting Sajith at the polls. Their grudge is with Ranil,” he added.

Continue reading ‘“Pro-UNP Group of the SLFP Will Back Sajith Premadasa if he is Nominated as the UNP Candidate or Slant Towards the JVP in a Presidential Election “Says Dilan Perera MP.’ »

Sajith Premadasa Says he will Obey any Decision Taken by the UNP Working Committee and Parliamentary Group on the Presidential Candidacy Issue.

United National Party (UNP) Deputy Leader and Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa yesterday doubled down on being his party’s presidential candidate, calling for the Working Committee and the Parliamentary Group to meet promptly to take a decision.

Speaking at an early morning press conference at Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s official residence, Premadasa addressed the media, flanked by UNP ministers Mangala Samaraweera, Malik Samarawickrama, Kabir Hashim, and Rajith Madduma Bandara, and recapped the request he had made to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday, regarding his desire to be the UNP’s presidential candidate and the need for a democratic decision to be made soon.

“I expressed my own intentions to come forward, and if there are contra opinions and various other interested persons who are keen on becoming the candidate, to follow the democratic procedures within the party, to go ahead and make the selection. I requested that there is an immediate meeting of both the Parliamentary Group and the Working Committee,” he said. He was of the opinion the meeting should be called as soon as possible.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa Says he will Obey any Decision Taken by the UNP Working Committee and Parliamentary Group on the Presidential Candidacy Issue.’ »

Presidential Election to be held on November 16th 2019. Nominations Accepted from 9 am to 11 am on October 7th 2019. Deposits Payable From September 19th 2019 to October 6th 2019

The National Elections Commission has decided to hold the Presidential election on November 16.

The Gazette notification declaring the date of the Presidential Election was issued today.

Deposits for the Presidential election will be accepted from tomorrow (19) till 12 noon on the 6th of October.

Nominations for the election will be called from 9am to 11 am on the 7th of October.

Courtesy:Colombo Gazette

Ex- President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sets the Record Straight Regarding the Accusation by President Sirisena About a Chinese Company Disappearing with Two Billion Rupees in the Lotus Tower Project;Describes Maithripala’s Utterances as “Unfounded Allegation” and “Complete Falsehood”.


(Text of MEDIA RELEASE issued on September 18th 2019 by former president and Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa under the heading Allegation regarding the disappearance of Rs. two billion in the construction of the Colombo Lotus Tower)

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Colombo Lotus Tower, the President made a statement to the effect that back in 2012, one of the Chinese contractors involved in the project – a company named ALIT – had taken the advance payment of Rs two billion (Around 15 million USD at that time) made by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRC) and disappeared.

The President also stated that the government had sent the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Beijing to the address given by ALIT and discovered that there was no such company at that address.

This allegation was flashed around the world by international news agencies including Reuters and it became a major news story in many Asian countries.

At the time that this payment was made in 2012, the TRC which was in charge of this project was directly under me as the President. Therefore I wish to make a clarification regarding this matter.

In 2012, the total cost of the Lotus Tower project was estimated at 104.3 million US Dollars. The Exim Bank of China agreed to provide a loan facility of 88.6 million USD or up to 85% of the total project cost. The remaining 15% of the cost had to be borne by the TRC. The contractors for projects financed by the Exim Bank of China are nominated by the Chinese government. Accordingly, the China National Electronics Corporation and ALIT were nominated by the Chinese government.

Continue reading ‘Ex- President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sets the Record Straight Regarding the Accusation by President Sirisena About a Chinese Company Disappearing with Two Billion Rupees in the Lotus Tower Project;Describes Maithripala’s Utterances as “Unfounded Allegation” and “Complete Falsehood”.’ »

Poor Attendance in Jaffna for “Ezhuha Thamizh”(Rise Tamil) Event Organized by Ex-Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran’s Tamil People Council; Over 8000 Food Parcels Ordered by Organizers Thrown Away Due to Lack of Takers

By N. Lohathayalan

Eluha Thamil demonstrations were called by the Tamil People’s Council of which former Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran is the Co-Chairman and essential catalyst.

The parades and demonstrations were held over several issues: Sinhalese colonisation of Tamil homelands, the prosecution of war criminals, the release of Tamil political prisoners, an international inquiry into the disappeared, the militarisation of Tamil areas and the resettlement of those displaced during the war.

Wigneswaran badly needed a political blood transfusion – an infusion of new life. There were few takers for his party. It was just a week ago that his contempt of court case for defying the court order to reappoint NPC ministers whom he had discontinued unlawfully was to be taken up. Lady luck smiled on him as the case was put off. If he had been convicted, he would have lost his political rights and that would have put to rest his plans for his political party. He has been given time before the final reckoning, 18, 20 and 21 November, when the matter will be heard and finished; that is all.

Continue reading ‘Poor Attendance in Jaffna for “Ezhuha Thamizh”(Rise Tamil) Event Organized by Ex-Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran’s Tamil People Council; Over 8000 Food Parcels Ordered by Organizers Thrown Away Due to Lack of Takers’ »

Ven.Dambara Amila Thero and Prof.Chandraguptha Thenuwara File Fundamental Rights Petition in Supreme Court Seeking Cancellation of Gazette Notification Bringing “Rupavahini” Under Purview of Defence Ministry.

By Manopriya Gunasekara

A Fundamental Rights Petition requesting the cancellation of the Extraordinary Gazette notification which brought the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) under the Defence Ministry has been filed in the Supreme Court.

Ven. Dambara Amila Thero and Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara filed the FR Petition yesterday. According to the Petitioners, the President, under the 19th Amendment, is only allowed to assign two Ministries to himself.

Continue reading ‘Ven.Dambara Amila Thero and Prof.Chandraguptha Thenuwara File Fundamental Rights Petition in Supreme Court Seeking Cancellation of Gazette Notification Bringing “Rupavahini” Under Purview of Defence Ministry.’ »

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Expresses Willingness to Contest Presidential Election as UNF Candidate;Pledges to Make Abolition of Executive Presidency his Main Campaign Issue.


Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday indicated his willingness to be the United National Front (UNF) candidate for the upcoming Presidential Election, saying he would run only on the assurance that the Executive Presidency would be abolished within a fixed time frame.

“I can consider running for the office of President based on our Party’s pledge since 1995 to abolish the Executive Presidency. My intention is to abolish the Executive Presidency within a limited period of time. I am not coming forward in in expectation of serving in the post of President, “Jayasuriya said in a statement released yesterday.

It’s the first official intimation from Jayasuriya that he would take up the candidacy of the UNF, and came hours after the UNP‘s Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa reiterated that he wants to be the UNF candidate.

Continue reading ‘Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Expresses Willingness to Contest Presidential Election as UNF Candidate;Pledges to Make Abolition of Executive Presidency his Main Campaign Issue.’ »

Has Sajith Premadasa Agreed to Sri Lanka Signing the US Millennium Challenge Corporation Agreement and if so Why is he Keeping Mum About It?

By
Lasanda Kurukulasuriya

As party infighting continues to dominate the political landscape, voters are still left guessing as to the nature of programmes the main contenders in the forthcoming presidential election hope to introduce if they win. This is with only a couple of months to go before the poll. The uncertainty comes against a backdrop where competing big powers are showing increased interest in Sri Lanka for their own reasons of strategy.

It is known that external powers meddled in ways that affected the outcome of the 2015 presidential poll. With big power competition intensifying, the prospect of external influence being at play during this election arises again.

The candidate of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in his wide-ranging policy statement at the 2019 Viyath Maga convention, showed a sophisticated awareness on the importance of the international dimension in the backdrop of the upcoming presidential election. It was the opening subject of his speech published in the media.

Continue reading ‘Has Sajith Premadasa Agreed to Sri Lanka Signing the US Millennium Challenge Corporation Agreement and if so Why is he Keeping Mum About It?’ »

Sajith Premadasa “Wishy-Washy” on Abolition of Executive Presidency Issue Suggesting that the 2015 Mandate May be Outdated and Saying that no Scientific Survey has been done About Maintaining or Abolishing it.

Formally declaring his presidential ambitions to his leader, United National Party (UNP) deputy leader Sajith Premadasa last night wrote to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe requesting a “consensus-building” meeting of the party’s Working Committee and Parliamentary Group. Members of the two groups are expected to reach agreement on the contentious issue of its presidential nomination at the proposed meeting, failing which a secret ballot may be held to decide the party’s candidate.

In a hurriedly put-together press conference held at the Stanmore Crescent residence of Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera early this morning, Premadasa expressed his desire to see a democratic resolution to the ongoing deadlock in the UNP over its nomination for the upcoming presidential election.

“The UNP is a united party that represents all communities – a party in which decisions are made democratically. We don’t select our candidates huddled up in a room, at the whims of a single family. It’s the difference between democracy and autocracy. Our objective is to give prominence to the people’s representatives when arriving at these decisions,” said Premadasa.

“My view is that we must immediately convene both the Working Committee and the Parliamentary Group for discussions and arrive at a decision very soon,” he added.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa “Wishy-Washy” on Abolition of Executive Presidency Issue Suggesting that the 2015 Mandate May be Outdated and Saying that no Scientific Survey has been done About Maintaining or Abolishing it.’ »

President Sirisena Alleges that a Two Billion Rupee Advance for the Lotus Tower Project was Paid in 2012 by Sri Lanka Telecom Regulatory Commission to a Non -existent Fake Chinese Company Aerospace Long March International Trade Co. Ltd, (ALIT)

Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena had bared a scam running into billions of rupees in building a massive tower by Chinese firms, draining funds from Sri Lanka’s cash rich telecom regulator.

One apparently non-existent Chinese company had vanished with two billion rupees in the process.

The contract to build the tower had been awarded in 2012 to China National Electronics Importers and Exporters Corporation (CEIEC) and Aerospace Long March International Trade Co. Ltd, (ALIT) by the Cabinet of ministers.

The Export Import Bank of China had agreed to finance the 104.3 million US dollar project (about 19 billion rupees) through a loan to be repaid in 14 years, according to the telecom regulator.

President Sirisena said a two billion rupee advance had been paid to the company called ALIT, which apparently did not exist.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Alleges that a Two Billion Rupee Advance for the Lotus Tower Project was Paid in 2012 by Sri Lanka Telecom Regulatory Commission to a Non -existent Fake Chinese Company Aerospace Long March International Trade Co. Ltd, (ALIT)’ »

President Sirisena Insinuates That the Mahinda Rajapaksa Govt in Which he was a Minister Allegedly Siphoned off Two Billion Rupees from the Lotus Tower Construction Project by Making an Advanced Payment in 2012 to an Untraceable Non -Existent Chinese Company

Addressing the opening of the Lotus Tower in Colombo, President Maithripala Sirisena revealed that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government siphoned off Rs. 2 billion in the guise of an ‘advance payment’ for the project.

“We came to know that Rs. 2 billion had been paid in 2012 to a Chinese company as an advanced payment. The said Chinese company is also a signatory to the tripartite agreement relating to the construction of the project. When we inquired, there was no Chinese company under that name. I directed the then Sri Lankan Ambassador in China, Dr. Karunasena Kodithuwakku, to visit the address of the company, and he informed us that there was no company at the address mentioned in the agreement,” Sirisena said.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Insinuates That the Mahinda Rajapaksa Govt in Which he was a Minister Allegedly Siphoned off Two Billion Rupees from the Lotus Tower Construction Project by Making an Advanced Payment in 2012 to an Untraceable Non -Existent Chinese Company’ »

Karu Jayasuriya Willing to be Presidential Candidate on an Abolition of Executive Presidency Platform if such Nomination was Supported by All Progressive Forces Including Various Factions of the UNP

By

Nirmala Kannangara

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in a candid interview with the Daily Mirror said the country could have saved billions of rupees had the respective Presidents elected since 1994 to date got the presidential system abolished as promised on election platforms.He also criticizes the current presidential system, ‘designed to serve the interests of one man or woman’ as going against the fundamentals of democracy.

The Speaker pledges to ensure that the presidency is abolished in his lifetime. “My position is that the next President should be the last President,” he says, calling for a candidate who will ensure its abolition.

The Speaker set out several policy proposals ranging from devolution of powers, measures to strengthen the independent commissions and prevent crossovers in parliament, as well as a vision for enhancing the abilities of the Various Factions of the UNPthe intelligence services and preventing their abuse in the future. He said the intelligence services need ‘enabling legislation, facilities and credibility with their peers on the world stage’ and not a licence to kill journalists and MPs. Those who abused and denigrated them in the past, he said, must be held accountable.

On his prospects for becoming a ‘common candidate’ for the presidency, Jayasuriya said he would be willing to accept the candidacy on an abolition platform if such a nomination was supported by ‘all progressive forces’ including the various factions of the UNP.

However, the Speaker stressed the importance of uniting all progressive forces behind a single candidate who is democratically elected. He warns direly that if progressive forces split across multiple candidates, “we will end up being the enablers, or the people who opened the door to fascism in Sri Lanka”

Excerpts-

Q

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) have both announced their presidential candidates, but your own United National Party (UNP) has not. Who do you believe would be the best candidate for the UNP to put forward?

A

First, we should be asking why we are having another presidential election. Since 1994, every presidential candidate has come in on a promise of abolishing the presidential system. In 2010, the Rajapaksa government amended the Constitution to remove the two-term limit. In 2015 we promised the people that President Sirisena would be the last executive president of Sri Lanka.

The power of the presidency has been diluted, but it is still there. The presidency consumes the officeholder over time. The people have seen it. This is why at every election the country votes to abolish the presidency. It is also why Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero’s movement to abolish appealed to me from the beginning. As long as the presidential system is in place, there is no changing the political culture of this country. A system designed to serve the interest of one man or woman goes against the fundamentals of democracy.

The only President who has ever fought to weaken his powers is Maithripala Sirisena. He did it as soon as he took office. We do not have to agree on everything that has happened since, but if President Sirisena had not rallied the SLFP behind the 19th Amendment in 2015, Sri Lanka would still be facing a Constitutional crisis.

As Speaker, it is improper for me to involve myself in deciding on candidates. My position is that the next president should be the last. I have to see that the presidency is abolished in my lifetime. I owe that to my grandchildren and every grandchild in this country. The only way to make sure it happens is to find a candidate who will ensure it is abolished. That should be the primary objective.

Continue reading ‘Karu Jayasuriya Willing to be Presidential Candidate on an Abolition of Executive Presidency Platform if such Nomination was Supported by All Progressive Forces Including Various Factions of the UNP’ »

Sajith Premadasa, who has led a Self-harm Campaign for the Presidential Candidacy May not be the Best Choice for the UNP if it is to take on Gotabaya Rajapaksa


By
Ranga Jayasuriya

The UNP’s all lose–no winners cold war over the Presidential candidacy seems to be heading to a saner end.

Party heavyweights, including the leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, and constituent parties of the UNF are gradually leaning towards Karu Jayasuriya, the Speaker of the House as the national candidate, who will pledge to abolish the Executive Presidency within a set time.

Mr Jayasuriya is a decent political choice, who can command the support of the Buddhist clergy and a sizeable number of Southern voters, who might place an added premium on the Sinhala Buddhist identity in the aftermath of public uproar over the Easter Sunday attacks.

An overly Anglicized choice would dissuade a good part of this audience. Also, an unimaginative imitator would not impress them. Whereas a moderate, cosmopolitan Sri Lankan nationalist would offer promise and a way out from the Hobson’s choice, which the Sri Lankan voters would be confronted with if the things proceed as they threaten to do.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa, who has led a Self-harm Campaign for the Presidential Candidacy May not be the Best Choice for the UNP if it is to take on Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

Sajith Premadasa Writes to Ranil Wickremesinghe Formally Requesting UNP Leader to Announce the Party ;s Presidential Candidate Without Further Delay.


United National Party (UNP) Deputy Leader, Housing and Cultural Affairs Minister Sajith Premadasa says he has formally requested UNP leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in writing to announce the party’s Presidential candidate, without further delay.

Speaking at a ceremony to vest with the public two Uda Gammana villages in Tissamaharama, yesterday, the Minister said he strongly believed the delay in naming the UNP presidential candidate was detrimental to the interests of the party, the ministry media unit said in a media release.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa Writes to Ranil Wickremesinghe Formally Requesting UNP Leader to Announce the Party ;s Presidential Candidate Without Further Delay.’ »

President Sirisena to be Questioned by Parliamentary Select Committee About his Alleged Mismanagement of National Security Council Affairs and why he Allegedly Ignored Intelligence Watnings of Possible Attacks.

By Saman Indrajith

The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the Easter Sunday carnage is to ask President Maithripala Sirisena why he mismanaged the affairs of National Security Council and ignored the intelligence warnings of the possible attacks, according to sources.

The PSC members met, on Saturday, at the former Agriculture Ministry building near Parliament.

PSC members Ministers Dr Rajitha Senaratne, Ravi Karunanayake, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Prof. Ashu Marasinghe, Dr Jayampathi Wickremaratne attended the meeting, presided by its Chairman Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri. PSC members Minister Rauff Hakim and Dr Nalinda Jayatissa were not present.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena to be Questioned by Parliamentary Select Committee About his Alleged Mismanagement of National Security Council Affairs and why he Allegedly Ignored Intelligence Watnings of Possible Attacks.’ »

Likelihood of Karu Jayasuriya Becoming the UNP’s “Compromise Candidate” for Presidential Poll Grows Bright as Public Demand for Speaker’s Candidacy Gathers Momentum.

By Chandani Kirinde

The final decision on the United National Party’s (UNP) candidate for the upcoming Presidential Election is likely by the end of the week, sources in the Prime Minister’s office said last night as the likelihood of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya being the likely compromise candidate for the Party gathered momentum.

A delegation of Buddhist monks who met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday as well as a delegation representing the civil society group ‘Purawesi Balaya’ who met him yesterday told the UNP leader that Jayasuriya should be fielded as the common candidate with a pledge to abolish the Executive Presidency.

“The Prime Minister was open to the suggestion and a final decision on this should happen by the end of the week,” sources at the PM’s office said.

The public demand for Jayasuriya to be fielded as the UNP candidate came as UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa also sought to consolidate his candidature meeting with leaders of the constituent parties of the UNP on Saturday.

Continue reading ‘Likelihood of Karu Jayasuriya Becoming the UNP’s “Compromise Candidate” for Presidential Poll Grows Bright as Public Demand for Speaker’s Candidacy Gathers Momentum.’ »

TNA Not Ready To Support Premadasa as Presidential Candidate Yet as Sajith Has Not Clearly Stated What Voters in North and East Could Expect From Him.

By Saman Indrajith

The selection of the UNP’s presidential candidate would take some more time as the TNA, yesterday, has said it is not ready to accept Sajith Premadasa as the candidate of the coalition to be formed.

The TNA has pointed out that Premadasa will not get the votes in the North and the East as his position on the national question is not clear.

Continue reading ‘TNA Not Ready To Support Premadasa as Presidential Candidate Yet as Sajith Has Not Clearly Stated What Voters in North and East Could Expect From Him.’ »

The Words “SinhalaLE” with LE written in the Sinhala Alphabet in Red on the back of Vehicles and Three Wheelers is RACIST and Potential Bomb Ready to Explode

by Gnana Moonesinghe

Sometimes the fear is that large numbers of the people are blind and deaf; blind and deaf by intent that they neither see nor hear or do so selectively. That will have to be another study, another investigation.

But for now this short paper is confined to describe what has been seen and heard by those keen to be acquainted with information available around them. Yet let’s be aware that the unraveling of the facts around us is not always pleasant; what is seen and heard will be disturbing to the mind and spirit of those who are receptive.

Yes, the two references will upset many amongst us, both liberals and conservatives, who have a keen desire to unite the nation and actively subscribe to Martin Luther King’s exhortation – to live like brothers or perish together as fools. What will it be?

Continue reading ‘The Words “SinhalaLE” with LE written in the Sinhala Alphabet in Red on the back of Vehicles and Three Wheelers is RACIST and Potential Bomb Ready to Explode’ »

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Likely to Enter Presidential Election Hustings as a “National Candidate” On an Abolition of Executive Presidency Platform.


The Speaker of Parliament and the United National Party’s one-time chairman, Karu Jayasuriya is expected to be proposed as a possible “National candidate” by an influential section of the party following party leader Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Deputy Leader and Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa digging in to their position on the presidential ticket.

The basis for bringing in the Speaker into the equation comes from the UNP announcing simultaneously it will abolish the Executive Presidency immediately after this Presidential election.

The Constitution’s 19th Amendment has already clipped some of the next President’s Executive powers. Party insiders said the UNP had already decided at its 2014 National Convention to do away with the Executive Presidency, but argued the party did not have the legislative support to implement it after coming into office in 2015.

Continue reading ‘Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Likely to Enter Presidential Election Hustings as a “National Candidate” On an Abolition of Executive Presidency Platform.’ »

Sajith Premadasa Supporters Kabir Hashim , Ajith P Perera and Sujeeva Senasinghe Face Expulsion from the UNP for Violating Party Discipline.


United National Party Chairman Kabir Hashim and two Non-Cabinet Ministers face expulsion next week whilst a partnership between the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) may not materialise, according to new political developments this week.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Sunday Times learns, has decided to move against three loyalists of top minister and deputy leader Sajith Premadasa, for ‘violating party discipline.’ This is ahead of the UNP’s Working Committee meeting at which the party’s presidential candidate will be picked.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa Supporters Kabir Hashim , Ajith P Perera and Sujeeva Senasinghe Face Expulsion from the UNP for Violating Party Discipline.’ »

Did Murali Bowl a Political “Doosra” in his Speech At Gotabaya’s “Viyathmaga” Event and is Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Overstepping the Line Drawn and Observed by Christian Clerics in this Country?

By Gamini Weerakoon

Even though the presidential election has not yet been officially announced, the cacophony of voices for the proposed candidates is stepping up. Unrestrained, superlative praises of cheer squads are being shouted from roof tops followed by vile, damning condemnation of their rivals.

This, of course, is in keeping with the country’s political traditions. This week, however, we read of a rare expression of opinion that is not in tune with the usual ‘Bakthigee’ and hosannas.

The ever charming Muttiah Muralitharan of international cricketing fame had been invited to speak at the annual convention of Viyathmaga, described as a think-tank of a putative presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Viyathmaga means, the Way of Intellectuals, but Gotabaya’s opponent Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has dubbed it as the ‘Vipathmaga’ — the Road to Disaster.

What Murali’s interest is in Rajapaksa politics and Gotabaya’s ideologies, we are so far not aware of and why he was featured as a star speaker at the inauguration is baffling.

Nonetheless, Murali, some news reports said, had bowled a political ‘Doosra’ like his cricketing ‘Doosra’ which many leading batsmen had not been able to read and come a cropper, making him the world’s leading wicket taker in Test Cricket.

Continue reading ‘Did Murali Bowl a Political “Doosra” in his Speech At Gotabaya’s “Viyathmaga” Event and is Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Overstepping the Line Drawn and Observed by Christian Clerics in this Country?’ »

President Sirisena Bringing “Rupavahini” Under the Purview of the Defence Ministry is Constitutionally Unacceptable.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

It has always been an interesting curiosity that politicians trained in law in Sri Lanka appear to be far more blissfully unconscious of basic legal principles than their colleagues who at least do not engage in hair splitting explanations when abusing power.

Disregarding legal and constitutional proprieties

Indeed, it is better to be upfront and admit the naked trampling of the law in the interests of brute political expediency rather than try to explain this abuse on preposterous grounds that are scarcely commonsensical let alone legally justifiable. T

rue to these traditions, we had a one time Professor of Law and a onetime Chief Justice twisting their remarkably dexterous tongues in upholding an unconstitutional ouster of a Prime Minister late last year, only to be brought up short by the Supreme Court reminding these worthies of the importance of respecting constitutional proprieties.

The recent manifestation of this same contradiction was by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party’s spokesman, also a proud product of academic legal training, who justified this week’s Presidential ‘take over’ of the Rupavahini Corporation, the country’s state telecaster on the basis of ‘institutional instability.’

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Bringing “Rupavahini” Under the Purview of the Defence Ministry is Constitutionally Unacceptable.’ »

Ruwan Wijewardene Strikes a Blow for Media Freedom by Forthrightly Condemning Maithripala Sirisena For his Arbitrary Take-over of “Rupavahini” State TV and Bringing it Under the Defence Ministry.

By

Don Manu

Coming out of his shell, UNP State Minister of Defence and Minister of Media Ruwan Wijewardena struck a blow for media freedom this week when he condemned his Minister, the Minister of Defence and Lankan President for his arbitrary takeover of State owned TV channel Rupavahini under his Defence Ministry and thus under his wing.

In a no holds barred letter, the UNP Minister told the President on Monday: “According to audit reports, the Rupavahini Corporation is incurring a monthly loss of over Rs.50 million. The SLRC has also gone down to 6th place in television rankings.”

“When the situation is as such, the decision to take the SLRC under the Ministry of Defence’s purview by an extraordinary gazette seems to have created a troublesome situation. The Rupavahini Corporation was never taken under the Defence Ministry even during the time of war and can therefore be interpreted as a threat to media freedom in Sri Lanka,” he said.

At the centre of the storm is the present boss of Rupavahini Inoka Sathyangani, a law student who dropped out in her final year to pursue her interest in films and became an award winning film director. She was appointed by President Sirisena during Mangala Samaraweera’s tenure as Media Minister. There have been many attempts by the non-cabinet Media Minister Ruwan to remove her but all had failed. He had nominated Shan Wijetunga, a media professional with over 29 years of experience, and currently the head of the Sri Lanka College of Journalism, as the Chairman of Rupavahini.

Continue reading ‘Ruwan Wijewardene Strikes a Blow for Media Freedom by Forthrightly Condemning Maithripala Sirisena For his Arbitrary Take-over of “Rupavahini” State TV and Bringing it Under the Defence Ministry.’ »

Did Gotabaya Rajapaksa Insist on Being Anointed as the SLPP Presidential Candidate Long Before the Election was Announced as a Way of Evading Justice?


By

Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Those who seek power at any price detect a societal weakness, a fear that they can ride into office.” Carl Sagan (The Demon-haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)

One point four million extra votes – that is what Gotabaya Rajapaksa needs to achieve his burning desire to become the next president of Sri Lanka.

The number of registered voters currently is around 16 million. If, as in 2015, the turnout is 82% (and rejected votes don’t exceed 2%), this would mean a total valid vote of 12.8 million. To win outright, a candidate would have to gain around 6.4 million votes.

The SLPP won the 2018 Local Government election polling 5 million votes. To win the next presidential election outright, Gotabaya Rajapaksa will have to top those 5 million votes with 1.4 million extra votes.

Politically, mathematically, that could be a bridge almost too far.

True, the challenge before the UNP is way more daunting. It has a far greater distance to cover, 2.8 million votes over and above its dismal tally of 3.6 million at the 2018 LG polls. That is assuming it regains its collective sanity before nominations begin. Currently Sajith Premadasa and Ranil Wickremesinghe are fully occupied with trying to kill the elephant, one with fire and the other with ice. Such infantile conduct would have appalled Ranasinghe Premadasa and JR Jayewardene who always placed party-unity above their personal ambitions. But sons and nephews are not made of the same clay as fathers and uncles. Sajith Premadasa’s vainglory and Ranil Wickremesinghe’s obduracy are threatening the electoral prospects of the UNP, and far more pertinently, the very survival of Lankan democracy.

The hype around the SLPP’s 2018 victory served to hide a far more nebulous mathematical reality. The party’s average vote did not exceed the all important 50% mark. Not even close. It won just 40% of the vote (way ahead of the UNP at 29.4%; incidentally the UNP scored even more dismally in Hambantota – 25.5%). Had that election been a parliamentary election, the SLPP would not have been able to form a government on its own. Had that election been a presidential election, there would have been no outright victor; to find a winner, second and third preferences would have had to be counted.

Continue reading ‘Did Gotabaya Rajapaksa Insist on Being Anointed as the SLPP Presidential Candidate Long Before the Election was Announced as a Way of Evading Justice?’ »

Integrity of Sri Lanka’s Presidential Election is Increasingly Hostage to new Propaganda Dynamics that Existing Regulations and Laws Fall Short of Addressing.

By

Sanjana Hattotuwa

A coup’s normalization is key to long-term success. Architects of an unconstitutional transfer of power have to quickly give the impression everything is under control and nothing is going awry, so as to allay public fears, even amongst ardent supporters, that it may lead to more widespread chaos or instability. By November 9, 2018, just under a fortnight into the constitutional imbroglio the President plunged country into – things were not going well for him or the Rajapaksas. Looking at what was evident upon studying social media content and commentary at the time, I called it a ‘narrative roadblock’. The Rajapaksas had run out of stories, and the organic, public resistance to the arbitrary transfer of a Prime Minister was growing apace.

The highest engagement at the time was around an interview Muttiah Muralitharan – the enduringly useful spinner for the Rajapaksas – did for television. ‘Jana Mahimaya’, a joint rally with the SLPP and SLFP had been announced days prior. Bizarrely, there was little to no further promotion of it, which meant interest in it had waned very quickly. A younger Rajapaksa kept publishing selfies even at this time – the crucial first stage of a coup – highlighting what academics call an ‘ego-centric’ network, which is to say that everything promoted on social media accounts was about him, and nothing much else. Either he had already lost interest, or wasn’t planning on tainting his brand image and its appeal with a power grab doomed to fail.

Worth noting was that the UNP (as a party) and Ranil Wickremesinghe (as an individual) were entirely absent from any discernible strategic or political communication. An apocryphal story recounted to me had the UNP searching for a Sinhala typewriter, and then someone who could type in Sinhala, in order to update its Twitter account, only to find that no one in the party remembered the password to the account because it had lain unused for so long. The only reason I am partial to believe this is the sheer amount of social media accounts, now unused, associated with the UNP or its leader over the years, suggesting passwords are irrevocably forgotten on a regular basis. The lack of any counter-narrative from the UNP rendered the absence of propaganda from the Sirisena and Rajapaksa camps even more surprising. Given what was produced and how around the ‘Jana Balaya’ rally just months prior and the SLPP campaign for the Local Government election, the ‘narrative roadblock’ – evident only through the study of social media at scale – gave a clear indication of underlying issues President Sirisena confirmed to mainstream media only much later.

Continue reading ‘Integrity of Sri Lanka’s Presidential Election is Increasingly Hostage to new Propaganda Dynamics that Existing Regulations and Laws Fall Short of Addressing.’ »

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi’s Daughter and DMK Parliamentarian K.Kanimozhi in Sri Lanka to Attend SLMC Chief Rauff Hakeem’s Daughter’s Wedding Meets Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

By
Wisu Karunanidhi and Lahiru Fernando

The fisheries issue in the Palk Strait and the situation of detained Indian fisher crews as well as co-operation against cross-border extremist terror outfits were subjects of discussion when rising Tamil Nadu politician and Lok Sabha MP Kanimozhi Karunanidhi paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday. At the meeting, MP Kanimozhi (daughter of the late legendary Tamil Nadu leader Muthuvel Karunanidhi) spoke of the long standing cordial relationship between India and Sri Lanka, according to official sources.

Ms. Karunanidhi, who was accompanied by two other Indian MPs, had mentioned that the Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was known to her father and had said that her visit was to further cement Indo-Sri Lanka relations. The Indian MP is currently on a private visit to the island.

Continue reading ‘Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi’s Daughter and DMK Parliamentarian K.Kanimozhi in Sri Lanka to Attend SLMC Chief Rauff Hakeem’s Daughter’s Wedding Meets Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Can Sajith Premadasa Seeking Nomination and Election From the UNP Tell Us Where His Political Thinking and Policies Differ From Ranil Wickremesinghe?

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The drum beats of political pride get louder as the Gam Udawa – Village Re-awakening – score gets closer to the third century.

The political legacy of the Premadasa Family is coming to new reaches in the spread of new village names, needing a new listing of the acres or hectares of nature destroyed to build the villages of political pride, drawn from a legacy of paternal distortion on progress.

We are having village names that are getting longer, more twisted and distorted in expression, as the Gam Udawa scores are hit, with two, three and even four new villages per day. The large memorial slabs are unveiled by the Sajith Putha, with quickly vanishing pictures of the Ranasinghe father, as the heat of presidential polls gets higher with inner party rivalries.

In a country where the elephant population is rapidly declining, mainly due to the politics of crooked village expansion, we are not moving to any areas that could be called an “Ali-Athun Pedesa” the area of elephants. Instead we are seeing the spread of new villages in the ‘Ali Perali’ politics of the Green Elephants herd. We are still to see the opening of a ‘Henduvegama’ or ‘Ankusagama’- (the goad village) that records the final control of the political elephant in the current Jumbo Game or Ali Keliya of the search for presidential candidacy.

Continue reading ‘Can Sajith Premadasa Seeking Nomination and Election From the UNP Tell Us Where His Political Thinking and Policies Differ From Ranil Wickremesinghe?’ »

Sunil Ariyaratne Brings W.A. Silva’s Epic Novel “Vijayaba Kollaya” To Screen As a Spectacular 3-D Film.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

When Professor Sunil Ariyaratne was studying for the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary Level in 1963 at St. John’s College, Nugegoda, one of his favourite textbooks was W.A. Silva’s novel ‘Vijayaba Kollaya’.

Fifty-six years later in 2019, the eminent academic-writer-lyricist-director has made a film out of the novel he relished reading as a student more than five decades ago.

“I never thought that I would make a film from the text I learnt as a student in 1963,” said an elated Ariyaratne in a media interview.
Continue reading ‘Sunil Ariyaratne Brings W.A. Silva’s Epic Novel “Vijayaba Kollaya” To Screen As a Spectacular 3-D Film.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe -Sajith Premadasa Talks End Inconclusively on a Positive Note With Both Sides Agreeing to Take Final Decision Soon on UNP Presidential Candidate

By Chandani Kirinde

A meeting between UNP Party Leader Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa ended last night with both sides agreeing to reach a final decision soon as to who the Party’s candidate should be for the upcoming Presidential Election.

Premadasa told reporters after the meeting that it was positive, and that a final outcome would be made known soon.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe -Sajith Premadasa Talks End Inconclusively on a Positive Note With Both Sides Agreeing to Take Final Decision Soon on UNP Presidential Candidate’ »

Media Minister Ruwan Wijewardene Writes Strong Letter to President Accusing Sirisena of Obstructing his Attempts to Change management at “Rupavahini”; Criticises the Takeover of SLRC by Defence Ministry as “a blow to media freedom in the country and “a contravention of all accepted norms”.

Non-Cabinet Minister of Mass Media Ruwan Wijewardene yesterday accused President Maithripala Sirisena of repeatedly obstructing his attempts to change the management of Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC), leading to the impasse which resulted in the Corporation being brought under the Defence Ministry’s purview.

“Since I took over the Ministry of Mass Media in February this year, I tried to appoint an efficient, talented, and suitable person as Chairman of the Corporation, but the President objected to all the nominees, giving various reasons,” Wijewardene said in the letter sent to the President.

The President’s shock move came on Monday, after months of wrangling over differences over appointments to the top management of the Corporation.

Continue reading ‘Media Minister Ruwan Wijewardene Writes Strong Letter to President Accusing Sirisena of Obstructing his Attempts to Change management at “Rupavahini”; Criticises the Takeover of SLRC by Defence Ministry as “a blow to media freedom in the country and “a contravention of all accepted norms”.’ »

UNP working Committee Will Meet Soon To Discuss Discipline and Unity in the Party and the Elpitiya Elections. Presidential Candidate to be Finalised After Election Date is Announced.

by Zacki Jabbar

The UNP’s Presidential candidate would be selected by the Working Committee (WC) and named after a date for the election was announced, senior party sources said, yesterday.

Asked when the WC would meet, sources said “Very Soon. But that will be to discuss the need for discipline and unity within the party and campaign for the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Election, scheduled for October 11. Our presidential candidate will be named after a date for the election is announced.”

Continue reading ‘UNP working Committee Will Meet Soon To Discuss Discipline and Unity in the Party and the Elpitiya Elections. Presidential Candidate to be Finalised After Election Date is Announced.’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Economic Blueprint Unveiled at “Viyathmaga” is a “Vipathmaga” Building Castles in the Air “Says Mangala Samaraweera and Flays Captains of Industry attending Event for their “Strategic Promiscuity” Buying Insurance If the Worst Occurs


Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday in a statement said that SLPP’s presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ‘economic blueprint’, unveiled on Sunday, was meant to build castles in the air.

Following is Samaraweera’s statement.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s so-called ‘economic blueprint’ is anything but a plan. The 82 slides, released on Sunday, pump aspiration and dump implementation. A blueprint is supposed to be a roadmap for how to achieve an objective. The slide-deck dreams many dreams. But there is precious little that can be actioned. It is, at best, a blueprint for building castles in the air; at worst, a blueprint for disaster.

More worryingly, it has taken the sensible strategy of Vision 2025 and fused it with toxic Rajapaksa kleptocracy. In reality, the ‘blueprint’ sets Sri Lanka on a ‘Vipathmaga’ – a road to sorrow – returning to the era of debt-fuelled crony capitalism. The fact that one of the sessions was chaired by a person arrested for financial fraud, and indicted by the Attorney-General, demonstrates the calibre of advisors preparing these documents.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Economic Blueprint Unveiled at “Viyathmaga” is a “Vipathmaga” Building Castles in the Air “Says Mangala Samaraweera and Flays Captains of Industry attending Event for their “Strategic Promiscuity” Buying Insurance If the Worst Occurs’ »

“Equality in prosperity is my goal, for which we need a new revolutionary economic development model and a creative vision” States Sajith Premadasa Delivering Bakeer Markar Memorial Lecture. “We need racial, ethnic, and religious harmony, without which a country cannot be strong,” Emphasises UNP Deputy Leader

By Nisthar Cassim

UNP presidential candidate hopeful Minister Sajith Premadasa yesterday promised a truly prosperous nation to all people, as opposed to enriching a select few as rulers to date have done in Sri Lanka.

Delivering the 22nd M.A. Bakeer Markar Annual Commemoration lecture yesterday, titled ‘Foundation for a stronger and prosperous Sri Lanka’ Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Minister Premadasa opined that Sri Lanka has been suffering from “imbalanced economic development”, with statistics manipulated to create an artificial feel-good factor.

Continue reading ‘“Equality in prosperity is my goal, for which we need a new revolutionary economic development model and a creative vision” States Sajith Premadasa Delivering Bakeer Markar Memorial Lecture. “We need racial, ethnic, and religious harmony, without which a country cannot be strong,” Emphasises UNP Deputy Leader’ »

President Sirisena Brings “Rupavahini” Under Purview of his Defence Ministry Through Gazette Notification to Prevent Media Minister Ruwan Wijewardene Appointing Palitha Maheerathne as New SLRC Chairman.

By Chandani Kirinde

President Maithripala Sirisena last night brought the influential Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) under the purview of the Ministry of Defence by an Extraordinary Gazette notification.

Along with the takeover, the SLRC was also tasked with the “Implementation of programs for the promotion of peace, harmony and reconciliation among people whilst ensuring national security through the use of audio visual media, enhancement of the entertainment quality of the people and creation of a higher media culture using state-of-the-art technology.”

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Brings “Rupavahini” Under Purview of his Defence Ministry Through Gazette Notification to Prevent Media Minister Ruwan Wijewardene Appointing Palitha Maheerathne as New SLRC Chairman.’ »

Transparency International Complains to CIABOC against Ministers Fernando, Mano Ganesan and Gayantha Karunathilaka For Not Submitting Declaration of Assets and Liabilities.


By Nisali De Silva

Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) filed a complaint this morning (10) at the Commission to Investigation Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) against Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa and seven other Cabinet Ministers who failed to submit their Declarations of Assets and Liabilities for the year 2018/19.

Continue reading ‘Transparency International Complains to CIABOC against Ministers Fernando, Mano Ganesan and Gayantha Karunathilaka For Not Submitting Declaration of Assets and Liabilities.’ »

Sports Minister Harin Fernando Issues Directive Under Section 39(3) of Sports Law Prohibiting Thilanga Sumathipala From Holding any Office Or Exercising Powers Pending Inquiry Against the Ex- SL Cricket President

Sports Minister Harin Fernando has issued a temporary directive preventing former Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) President Thilanga Sumathipala from exercising any powers or holding any office at the SLC pending an inquiry.

Continue reading ‘Sports Minister Harin Fernando Issues Directive Under Section 39(3) of Sports Law Prohibiting Thilanga Sumathipala From Holding any Office Or Exercising Powers Pending Inquiry Against the Ex- SL Cricket President’ »

Presidential Aspirant Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presents Detailed Outline of his Blueprint to Develop Sri Lanka at the “Viyathmaga” convention Held at the “Shangri -La” Hotel in Colombo

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) presidential aspirant and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday gave a detailed outline of his blueprint to develop Sri Lanka and pledged to focus on building partnerships with the private sector, appointing technocrats to carry out national policies and strengthening local industries.

Speaking at the Viyathmaga Annual Convention 2019 at Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo under the title ‘Actioning the Blueprint’, Rajapaksa addressed a packed audience of industry captains and top private sector professionals giving details on how he would tackle international relations, education, national security, attract investment and ensure governance.

“We need to marry the virtues of democratic inclusiveness with the effectiveness of technocratic management. Democratic feedback is crucial for governments to ensure that they are on the right track. To strengthen democracy, politicians must be supported by technocrats. In a country with a well-functioning democracy, people are provided with the opportunity to express their opinion of their Government through timely elections,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Presidential Aspirant Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presents Detailed Outline of his Blueprint to Develop Sri Lanka at the “Viyathmaga” convention Held at the “Shangri -La” Hotel in Colombo’ »

Ace Cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan Speaking at “Viyathmaga” Convention in the Presence of Gotabaya Rajapaksa says “Sri Lanka now Needs a Leader who Could Guarantee Security to the Nation and Bring an end to Continuing Uncertainty and Turmoil”

By

Shamindra Ferdinando

Former national cricketer Muththiah Muralitharan, yesterday, (08) urged the electorate to pick a capable leader who could lead a team.

Underscoring the importance of the leader consulting his team, Muralitharan said that it would be the responsibility of the leader to take decisions. The leader required right support, Muralitharan said, underscoring the importance of leading the team and not dictate terms.

Muralitharan said so addressing a side-event organized by Viyath Maga at the Colombo Shangri-La ahead of the civil society group’s annual convention later in the day.

Continue reading ‘Ace Cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan Speaking at “Viyathmaga” Convention in the Presence of Gotabaya Rajapaksa says “Sri Lanka now Needs a Leader who Could Guarantee Security to the Nation and Bring an end to Continuing Uncertainty and Turmoil”’ »

Meeting Between Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa To Discuss Presidential Candidate Issue Postponed at sajith’s Request;Meeting Likely to be Re-scheduled for September 10th?

A scheduled meeting between UNP leader Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and its Deputy Leader Minister Sajith Premadasa which was to take place last evening to iron out differences as to who should be the Party’s presidential candidate was postponed on the latter’s request.

Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said that Premadasa sought a rescheduling of the meeting and it is now likely to take place tomorrow.

Continue reading ‘Meeting Between Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa To Discuss Presidential Candidate Issue Postponed at sajith’s Request;Meeting Likely to be Re-scheduled for September 10th?’ »

Crisis in the UNP as Ranil Declares his Intention of Contesting Presidential Election as Democratic National Front Candidate; Kabir Hashim Walks out of Meeting as Lakshman Kiriella Outlines Four Charges Supported by Daya Gamage and Jayawickrama Perera Against UNP Chairman

(Excerpts from the “Sunday Times”Political Column of September 8th 2019)

Upon his return from the Maldives, on Friday, Premier Wickremesinghe met senior members of the UNP at Temple Trees. For the first time, he made a declaration. He said he proposed to announce his name as the presidential candidate on behalf of the proposed Democratic National Front (DNF).

He said he would, as party leader, propose at the Working Committee – the main policymaking body – his name as the presidential candidate. He said he would also soon start his election campaign.

Minister Malik Samarawickrema, his closest confidant till recently, and now a Premadasa backer, was to point out that a public rally in Kurunegala for Premadasa drew large crowds and surveys had said he was a candidate who could win.

Wickremesinghe countered the claim and said he also could produce statistics and surveys to prove that he could win the presidential election.

Also making a case for Premadasa was Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara. However, Wickremesinghe remained defiant throughout the meeting prompting Samarawickrema to urge whether he could bring Premadasa for a meeting with him. The UNP leader agreed and the meeting will take place at 9 a.m. today (Sunday). However, a source close to the UNP leader said, “There is no way he will relent and re-consider Premadasa. His decision is final, but he will hear what Premadasa would have to say.”

Continue reading ‘Crisis in the UNP as Ranil Declares his Intention of Contesting Presidential Election as Democratic National Front Candidate; Kabir Hashim Walks out of Meeting as Lakshman Kiriella Outlines Four Charges Supported by Daya Gamage and Jayawickrama Perera Against UNP Chairman’ »

Move by Malik Samarawickrema to Bring About Unity in UNP Faces Jeopardy as Sajith Premadasa Does not Want To Attend 9 am Meeting With Ranil Wickremesinghe at “Temple Trees” on Sunday Sep 8th

By The “Sunday Times” Political Editor

This week’s two major political developments over the presidential election took Sri Lankans by surprise and portend a major change in alignments.

One is the declaration by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that he would be the United National Party (UNP) candidate. On Friday he told a meeting of party leaders he would obtain approval from the Working Committee, the main policy-making body, and launch his campaign.

Malik Samarawickrema, Onetime close confidante of Mr Wickremesinghe and now a key backer of Sajith Premadasa, appealed for the two leaders to meet. Though it has been set for 9 a.m. today at Temple Trees, the Sunday Times has learnt Mr Premadasa will not attend the one-on-one talks raising wide speculation over his as well as the political future of his backers.

Continue reading ‘Move by Malik Samarawickrema to Bring About Unity in UNP Faces Jeopardy as Sajith Premadasa Does not Want To Attend 9 am Meeting With Ranil Wickremesinghe at “Temple Trees” on Sunday Sep 8th’ »

Ace Cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan Scheduled to Address “Viyathmaga”National Convention at Colombo Shangrila Hotel on Sunday; SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Will Deliver Key Note Speech.

Former national cricketer Muthaiah Muralitharan will address civil society grouping Viyathmaga national convention at the Shangrila tomorrow (8).

Viyathmaga spearheads a campaign in support of wartime Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s bid to secure nomination for the 2019 presidential polls.

The opening statement will be delivered by Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Courtesy:The Island

Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa to Hold Crucial Talks on Sep 8th to Discuss Matters Concerning the UNP Presidential Candidate Nomination and Resolve Inner -Party Divisions Over the Issue.

United National Party leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is to hold crucial talks with his deputy Sajith Premadasa on Sunday amid a deepening crisis over the presidential candidacy.

Wickremesinghe denied he demanded the nominations to contest up coming presidential elections, a source within the party leadership said adding that a final call would be made by the party’s working committee.

A meeting between the premier and his party seniors ended inconclusively on Friday sparking rumours that Wickremesinghe wanted to be the presidential candidate overruling Premadasa who had publicly staked a claim for it.

However, sources close to both factions of the UNP said Wickremesinghe made no direct reference to seeking nominations and left the issue wide open.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa to Hold Crucial Talks on Sep 8th to Discuss Matters Concerning the UNP Presidential Candidate Nomination and Resolve Inner -Party Divisions Over the Issue.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Tells Senior Party Stalwarts That He Would Be Forwarding His Name to the UNP Working Committee as the UNP Presidential Candidate and Abide by the Working Committee Decision.

By Chandani Kirinde

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told a group of senior UNP members yesterday that he would be the Party’s candidate at the upcoming Presidential election.

A senior Minister, who was at the meeting, told Daily FT that Wickremesinghe had said he would put forward his name to the UNP’s Working Committee and leave the final decision to them.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Tells Senior Party Stalwarts That He Would Be Forwarding His Name to the UNP Working Committee as the UNP Presidential Candidate and Abide by the Working Committee Decision.’ »

Lanka’s Lasith Malinga With 104 Wickets in 76 Matches Becomes First Bowler to Top 100 Wicket Mark in T-20 Matches ; Lasith “Malinguers” Kiwis Taking Four Scalps in Four Balls in Five Wicket Haul.

Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga Friday wreaked havoc after becoming the first bowler in Twenty20 internationals to claim 100 wickets as he struck four times with four balls in the third match against New Zealand.

Malinga, who surpassed Pakistan spinner Shahid Afridi’s tally of 97 scalps to become the leading T20 wicket-taker on Sunday, bowled Colin Munro for 12 to claim a century of wickets in his 76th match.

Continue reading ‘Lanka’s Lasith Malinga With 104 Wickets in 76 Matches Becomes First Bowler to Top 100 Wicket Mark in T-20 Matches ; Lasith “Malinguers” Kiwis Taking Four Scalps in Four Balls in Five Wicket Haul.’ »

“With the Defeat of the LTTE the Call for a Separate State is over. When that Project is Over, Our Approach Also Should Change. There is no Substitute for Engagement………A Greater degree of Appreciation that we are Living in One Country, and that this is Our Country, Must be There” -TNA Spokesman MA Sumanthiran MP


By

Meera Srinivasan

In Sri Lanka’s presidential poll in 2015, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), representing Tamils of the north and east, led its constituency in a crucial protest vote against then President Mahinda Rajapaksa. As the country gears up for the next presidential election, scheduled before the end of this year, Jaffna district MP M.A. Sumanthiran, who is also TNA’s spokesman and a senior lawyer, weighs the options before the Alliance, amid mounting discontent among Tamils over the incumbent government’s performance. He also reflects on broader political questions and international dimensions in an interview at his Colombo residence.

Excerpts:

Q;

In the 2015 polls, the TNA backed the Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe combine that, among other things, promised a constitutional political settlement to the Tamil question. Though the process took off, the constitutional reform process is now stalled. Why couldn’t it succeed?

A;

At a certain point during the process, the coalition government wasn’t as strongly knitted together as it was in the beginning. Fissures started emerging and deepened with time, particularly ahead of the local government elections [in February 2018]. The two parties began seeing each other as rivals again. They were more keen to get an electoral advantage over each other than to collaborate and settle this long-standing issue. As a result, they were not willing to own even those matters that had been agreed upon after discussion. They started backing out. That happened primarily with the President’s party [Sri Lanka Freedom Party]. Subsequently, when it became clear to the others that they were not going to sail with the consensus of everyone, nobody seemed to want to carry the can by themselves. They also began to back out.

By that you mean the Prime Minister’s party [United National Party/UNP] as well?

Yes, now looking back, I can say that at a certain point when they realised that their coalition partner was not going to share the responsibility of taking this through, they themselves started backing out. Of course, neither party said it in as many words. They resorted to blaming each other for the protraction of the constitutional reform process.

Continue reading ‘“With the Defeat of the LTTE the Call for a Separate State is over. When that Project is Over, Our Approach Also Should Change. There is no Substitute for Engagement………A Greater degree of Appreciation that we are Living in One Country, and that this is Our Country, Must be There” -TNA Spokesman MA Sumanthiran MP’ »

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Says He Remains Committed to Abolition of the Executive Presidency While Addressing the Pariament of Maldives.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said he remained committed to abolishing the Executive Presidency so its powers cannot be abused with impunity, and pledged to continue upholding democracy.

Addressing the People’s Majlis, which is the equivalent of the Maldives Parliament, Wickremesinghe outlined the measures taken by his Government, since coming to power in 2015, to foster and promote democracy and strengthen institutions. He acknowledged that the creation of the Executive Presidency led to the accumulation of power in one institution, and this was somewhat resolved by the Government.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Says He Remains Committed to Abolition of the Executive Presidency While Addressing the Pariament of Maldives.’ »

The Prime Minister Will be More Important Than the President In the Future Because The 19th Amendment Makes the Presidency Powerless With even The Defence Ministry Coming Under the PM Points out President Sirisena at SLFP Convention

By Nuwan Senarathna

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday rallied his party followers with pledges to establish a Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)-led Government in 2020, as under the 19th Amendment more powers have been devolved to the Prime Minister, and made no mention of contesting for a second presidential term.

Addressing the 68th Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP) National Convention, held at Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium, President Sirisena said that in the forthcoming Presidential Election, a broad progressive front would be created to counter the United National Party (UNP), and said in 2020 the SLFP will be a vital faction in forming a new Government.

“In accordance with the 19th Amendment, the next President will be powerless. The Defence Ministry too will be with the Prime Minister. Therefore, more than thinking of the next Presidential Election, we should pay attention to electing the next Prime Minister,” the President said.

President Sirisena called upon his supporters to strengthen the party structure, enabling to form a SLFP Government in 2020.

Continue reading ‘The Prime Minister Will be More Important Than the President In the Future Because The 19th Amendment Makes the Presidency Powerless With even The Defence Ministry Coming Under the PM Points out President Sirisena at SLFP Convention’ »

Singer – Actress Doris Day’s Evergreen Signature Song “Que Sera Sera” (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

When I was just a little kid enrolled at the Santa Maria Montessori school in Wattala, a song we sang without knowing its meaning then was ‘Que Sera Sera’; when I was a boy studying at S. Thomas’ Preparatory School in Kollupitiya, a song we were taught the meaning of and sang loudly in our singing class period was ‘Que Sera Sera’; when I was growing up, passing through various phases of adolescence, a song we frequently sang and heard being sung was ‘Que Sera Sera’; when I entered adulthood and participated in many a high-spirited sing-song session, one song that was sung repeatedly at such gatherings was ‘Que Sera Sera’; when I departed from Sri Lanka and relocated to Canada, a favourite number regularly sung at parties organised by nostalgic Sri Lankans was ‘Que Sera Sera’.

Doris Day (April 3, 1922 – May 13, 2019)

‘Que Sera Sera’ pronounced ‘Kay Sera Sera’ means “Whatever will be, will be” or “What will be, will be”. It is one of the most popular songs to be featured in an English film. It was the well-known singing actress Doris Day who sang it in the film ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ released in 1956. The film was directed by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock. It was a revised version of a film, by the same name, made in 1934 by Hitchcock. The song written and composed by the American duo Jay Livingston and Ray Evans became an instant hit.
Continue reading ‘Singer – Actress Doris Day’s Evergreen Signature Song “Que Sera Sera” (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)’ »

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is Likely to be Nominated as the UNP -led National Democratc Alliance(NDA) Presidential Candidate Say Senior Party Sources.

by Zacki Jabbar

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is likely to be nominated as the UNP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Presidential candidate, senior party sources say.

Sources said that according to the UNP constitution it was the party leader who had to contest the presidential election unless he or she declined or was too feeble to undertake a rigorous campaign.

If a secret ballot was held among members of the Working Committee and Parliamentary Group, Wickremesinghe would emerge, a senior minister who did not wish to be named said, adding that the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim parties which would be joining the UNP-led NDA to be launched shortly, were also of the view that a senior and mature candidate such as Wickremesinghe was necessary, to draw in a cross section of Sri Lankan society including the Buddhists.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is Likely to be Nominated as the UNP -led National Democratc Alliance(NDA) Presidential Candidate Say Senior Party Sources.’ »

“When Presidential Elections are Announced the UNP Working Committee Will Appoint a Nomination Board Comprising Senior UNP Leaders Which Will Select Party’s Presidential Candidate States UNP Legal Secretary Nissanka Nanayakkara PC.


The legal secretary of United National Party (UNP),Chairman of People’s Bank and President’s Counsel, Nissanka Nanayakkara, said the party’s Presidential candidate should be nominated according to Article 9 of the constitution of the UNP.

He says that after the Elections Commissioner announces the Presidential election, the first step according to party constitution is to summon the Working Committee to appoint a nomination Board, consisting of senior leaders, to select the candidate.

Continue reading ‘“When Presidential Elections are Announced the UNP Working Committee Will Appoint a Nomination Board Comprising Senior UNP Leaders Which Will Select Party’s Presidential Candidate States UNP Legal Secretary Nissanka Nanayakkara PC.’ »

Buddhist Monk Led Mob at Trincomalee Bus Stand Accuses Tamil Woman Wearing Black Saree With Images of a Face Design and Instructs Police to Get Her Remanded for Allegedly Wearing Saree with Lord Buddha’s Face

By

Aanya Wipulasena

“Uba ganiyak nisa nikan innawa. Pirimiyek unanan tho polé gahanawa allagana (I am letting it go because you are a woman. If you were a man, I would dash you on the floor),” shouted the man draped in a monk’s robe.

The Tamil woman is seen here surrounded by an angry mob led by a Buddhist monk

Then he proceeded to give instructions to a police officer, one of the two police officers present at the scene, who stood amongst the crowd that gathered around the screaming man and visibly terrified woman. Next to the terrified woman was a little girl believed to be her daughter.

“Remand karanna ona. Danna ona usavi (Should be remanded. Should be sent to court),” he said.

The woman held her hands together, worshipping the man, and asking for forgiveness. On one occasion she bent down to worship him as he ignored her.

When a bystander asked the orange robe clad man to forgive her, he turned his wrath towards them.

“Thamusé hondata mathaka thiyagannawa eka ekata ona widihata eka eka dewal karanna ba. Meka Sinhala Baudda Ratak. Mé gani mewa adagana yanakota, damila thamusela kiyanne as wahagena inna kiyalada?” he asked.

His query translates into English as, “You keep in mind, people cannot do whatever they desire. This is a Sinhala Buddhist country. What you Tamil people are asking us to do is turn a blind eye when this woman goes around wearing this?”

Continue reading ‘Buddhist Monk Led Mob at Trincomalee Bus Stand Accuses Tamil Woman Wearing Black Saree With Images of a Face Design and Instructs Police to Get Her Remanded for Allegedly Wearing Saree with Lord Buddha’s Face’ »

UNP MP Hesha Withanage Tells Media That All Sajith Faction Ministers, State Ministers , Deputy Ministers and Monitoring MP’s Will Resign Their Positions Unless Sajith Premadasa Is Named as Presidential Candidate Before Month’s End

Ministers supportive of Deputy UNP leader Sajith Premadasa have threatened to resign en mass from their posts unless the party names him as its presidential candidate, before the end of this month. A spokesman for them has said that they may even consider quitting politics in protest.

UNP MP Hesha Withanage, addressing the media, yesterday, on behalf of the Sajith group of the UNP, said all UNP legislators of his faction, functioning as ministers, deputy ministers, state ministers, non-Cabinet ministers and monitoring MPs, would give up their positions unless Premadasa was named as the UNP’ presidential candidate before the end of the current month.

He said they were so fed up with the affairs of the party that they might even consider leaving politics for good.

Continue reading ‘UNP MP Hesha Withanage Tells Media That All Sajith Faction Ministers, State Ministers , Deputy Ministers and Monitoring MP’s Will Resign Their Positions Unless Sajith Premadasa Is Named as Presidential Candidate Before Month’s End’ »

Ranil-Sajith Clash Destroys UNP at a time When the stark choice staring at the nation’s face is between democracy with all its warts and totalitarianism with the polished boot, buckle and medal.

By

Don Manu

Ranil Wicremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa are poles apart. If Ranil is cheese, Sajith is chalk. If Ranil is morn, Sajith is night. It has been so from their respective births. Their one common heritage is the UNP and, though they are both fiercely loyal to it, there is, certainly, no love lost between them.

A chasm of complexes separates the two and, like ‘east is east and west is west,’ it is possible that never the twain will meet in unison unless, of course, mutual defeat may prove wrong and act as a magnetic draw or as Kipling wrote “there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!”

Perhaps the present combat of mutually assured destruction they are presently engaged in to be the party’s presidential candidate and, if continued for long, which is guaranteed to end in catastrophic defeat for the UNP may well rub some common sense into both of how vital a unified party is to triumph the common foe; but then it will be too late and both will have to retire to their individual holes to lick their wounds and escape the wrath of the parties’ supporters for pursuing their own selfish ambitious ends and leading the party to an ignominious defeat.

Continue reading ‘Ranil-Sajith Clash Destroys UNP at a time When the stark choice staring at the nation’s face is between democracy with all its warts and totalitarianism with the polished boot, buckle and medal.’ »

What is wrong with Sri Lanka’s politics is not Constitutions but the country’s politicians who have been too long at the helm of political power bases and are incapable of working any constitutional document properly.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

President Maithripala Sirisena’s remarks in Jaffna this week that the 19th Amendment’s transfer of some powers of the Executive President to the Prime Minister while conferring supervision over Sri Lanka’s constitutional commissions to the Speaker has created three power centres, making the political process unworkable and unsustainable is a thin gloss over far more unpalatable realities.

Constitutional texts and political chicanery

The simple fact is that this country’s politicians, who have been too long at the helm of jealously guarded political power bases, are incapable of working any constitutional document properly. True, the President’s caustic a side that the United National Party’s constitutional drafters were only jet-setting around the globe to ‘experience’ comparative constitutional making, (while apparently learning nothing from that exposure), gives rise to a few well deserved chuckles.

Certainly this Amendment could have been combed through with far more skillful hands to disentangle constitutional knots. But let us imagine a (sadly) hypothetical scenario where this vetting was done in fact, resulting in a far more coherent text. Even then, it is without doubt that this amendment would have been chewed into bits and pieces and tossed out into the garbage in due course. The problem is not in constitutional texts per se. It is in the complete inability of those working the Constitution, regardless of party colours, to respect its tone and tenor, to give effect to its spirit and the letter in the national interest.

So when former President Mahinda Rajapaksa promises that he will do away with the 19th Amendment and bring in a ‘new Constitution’, a shuddering chill sets in. The Rajapaksa-engineered 18th Amendment was an embodiment of dynastic rule. And even with fury at manifest ‘yahapalanaya’ follies still bubbling in one’s veins, it is important to recognise that the hand of his brother, the former Defence Secretary portends the nation’s slow walk over the edge of the abyss. His individual Presidential campaign is characterised by banality, mouthing of platitudes promising ‘technocratic rule’ and a quietly sinister sitting at the side of his far more charismatic sibling. Regardless, the signs are clear.

Continue reading ‘What is wrong with Sri Lanka’s politics is not Constitutions but the country’s politicians who have been too long at the helm of political power bases and are incapable of working any constitutional document properly.’ »

Indian PM Narendra Modi is a shining example of the harm that ‘good strongmen’ can do and is a grave warning to smaller countries in the region in severe political and economic crises in search of ‘strongmen’ and ‘men of action’ to be their saviours.

By Gamini Weerakoon

Narendra Modi is a shining example of the harm that ‘good strongmen’ can do — those who are elected to rescue a country from the doldrums it has fallen into, but instead take it deeper into the hell-fires

Modi, the humble tea boy, who climbed from the very bottom rungs of the ultranationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and then moved over to the Baharatiya Janatha Party (BJP), a clone of the RSS, to become the Chief Minister of Gujrat and then twice the Prime Minister of India, appears to be turning the cultured and tolerant India of Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru into an aggressive autocratic state where the people are becoming puppets and Modi is the puppet master.

Modi after his — adventure or misadventure — should be considered a grave warning by smaller countries in the region and elsewhere now in severe political and economic crises in search of ‘strongmen’ and ‘men of action’ to be their saviours.

Continue reading ‘Indian PM Narendra Modi is a shining example of the harm that ‘good strongmen’ can do and is a grave warning to smaller countries in the region in severe political and economic crises in search of ‘strongmen’ and ‘men of action’ to be their saviours.’ »

In Sri Lanka, the Same Dominant Narratives in the Media my Generation Grew up with has a Vice Grip on the Framing of Issues over Social Media

by Sanjana Hattotuwa

With documentaries like ‘The Great Hack’ we are deeply fearful – and rightfully so – of how our data can be used, abused and weaponised. Over the past three years, significant political developments on both sides of the Atlantic have fuelled a global debate around the role, reach and relevance of social media in our daily lives including every imaginable aspect of our economic, political, social, media and even cultural interactions.

While this anxiety is generally grounded in mature studies of cause and effects, many extrapolate lessons for Sri Lanka that aren’t entirely valid and even downright dangerous. While documentaries on Netflix serve to highlight critical issues, they are terrible at guiding policymaking that responds to a class of problems academics called ‘wicked’.

A ‘wicked problem’ is one that has no easy resolution and where the very act of intervening or even observing changes the nature of the problem, very often to an even greater level of complexity. So in sum, while there are definitely problems around the use and abuse of social media as it is popularly referred to, could there also be benefits to hold those in power accountable, despite their best efforts at resisting this, and interrogate, for example, the behaviour of candidates and political parties in an election campaign?

If in a country like Sri Lanka, which doesn’t have legal frameworks in place for the sunlight of accountability or scrutiny around campaign finance and spending, can dynamics and data determined on social media, once harvested and analysed, give clear pointers around how online propaganda have impacted voter behaviour and election outcomes?

And in Sri Lanka, what constitutes ‘social media’?

And where is politics online?

Does it lie in domains openly affiliated to or controlled by politicians and political parties?

Or has it migrated to gossip, meme and other online spaces that are more generally defined through religious or nationalist fervour, with no overt connection to a partisan agenda or candidate?

And when we talk of social media, do we embrace new apps like TikTok, or instant messaging? I

f we don’t know, and know not how to even frame key questions, how can we expect policymakers to protect citizens from a degree of electoral manipulation they may not even realise exists?

Continue reading ‘In Sri Lanka, the Same Dominant Narratives in the Media my Generation Grew up with has a Vice Grip on the Framing of Issues over Social Media’ »

“In a multi ethnic, plural society as ours the office of President must be one that all minorities can participate in the selection of the holder of that office”.- Dr.Sarath Amunugama.


(Text of The Sam Wijesinha Memorial Oration Titled “Parliament and the President” that was Delivered by Dr. Sarath Amunugama, MP This Week)

I am deeply honoured by the invitation extended to me by Rajiva Wijesinha and Nigel Hatch to deliver the Sam Wijesinha Memorial Oration, which seeks to commemorate the late Sam Wijesinha, who was a personal friend of mine.

I selected the topic “Parliament and the President” because it deals with two main aspects of the life of Sam Wijesinha (SW). Not only was he intimately connected with Parliament having served there as Deputy Clerk and ultimately Clerk and Secretary General but he was also close to several Presidents who sought his advice on many matters not exclusively in the area of parliamentary practice.

He also had the distinction of serving as the first Ombudsman where he received public complaints from Parliament and provided redress expeditiously and in a humane manner.

Moreover, the subject of my address is, I believe, extremely topical for several reasons. Quite apart from Sri Lanka going into both presidential and parliamentary elections in the short terms and the political debate as to the inter relationship between both institutions after the 19th Amendment, behind both appellations “the President” and “Parliament” lay two institutions, namely the executive and legislature. In political theory the relationship between these two areas of the State lies at the heart of governance.

In fact given the genesis of the Second Republican Constitution of 1978 which introduced the concept of a directly elected Executive President, its chief architect the late President J.R. Jayewardene (JRJ) who was brought up in the parliamentary tradition was anxious to ensure that in this hybrid Constitution the role of Parliament was maintained though in diminished form unlike in other presidential Constitutions.

All Democratic Constitutions have sought to define the imperative linkage between the two institutions. The relationship between the Executive and the Legislature may have many combinations and computations depending on the historical circumstance of each country’s Constitution making, but in all they form the main focal point of a country’s governance.

Continue reading ‘“In a multi ethnic, plural society as ours the office of President must be one that all minorities can participate in the selection of the holder of that office”.- Dr.Sarath Amunugama.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa Have 90 Minute Discussion From 9.30 PM to 11.pm at “Temple Trees” To Decide on Method of Selecting UNP Presidential Candidate; Rajitha Senaratne and Harsha de Silva also Present.

By

Kelum Bandara

In the backdrop of a brewing political crisis, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe held talks with Minister Sajith Premadasa for one and half hours at Temple Trees on Thursday evening to find a way out, a party official said.

Mr. Premadasa took time off from a function at a temple in Embilipitiya and rushed to Colombo for a meeting convened by the Prime Minister and accompanied by Non-Cabinet Minister, Dr. Harsha de Silva. Minister Rajitha Senaratne was with the Prime Minister.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa Have 90 Minute Discussion From 9.30 PM to 11.pm at “Temple Trees” To Decide on Method of Selecting UNP Presidential Candidate; Rajitha Senaratne and Harsha de Silva also Present.’ »

Last Minute Court Injunction Issued by Telephone Prevents Tamil Family From Being Deported From Australia to Sri Lanka;Plane Departing from Melbourne with Nadesalingam, Priya and Their Two Children Lands Again in Darwin in Dramatic Turn Around


By Victoria Pengilley

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A family of Tamil asylum seekers due to be deported overnight have been granted an interim injunction to prevent their transportation back to Sri Lanka, their lawyer has told the ABC.

The family of four were removed from immigration detention last night and placed on a plane which departed Melbourne Airport about 11:00pm.
The plane landed shortly before 3:00am in Darwin, where the family — Nadesalingam and Priya and their two children — are being held at a hotel.

The injunction states the Minister for Immigration, David Coleman, is restrained from removing the family of four from Australia until 12:00pm today.

The injunction was granted over the phone by a judge, and a hearing has been listed for 10:00am today before Judge Heather Riley in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in Melbourne.

Continue reading ‘Last Minute Court Injunction Issued by Telephone Prevents Tamil Family From Being Deported From Australia to Sri Lanka;Plane Departing from Melbourne with Nadesalingam, Priya and Their Two Children Lands Again in Darwin in Dramatic Turn Around’ »

Seven Suspects Including Pallai Hospital JMO Arrested for Alleged LTTE Related Activity;Investigations Reveal Plot to Kill Douglas Devananda and “Col” Karuna but no Details of Conspiracy to Assassinate Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapaksa.


By

Gayan Kumara Weerasinghe

Terrorism Investigation Division officers have so far arrested six suspects in the North believed to have been planning some terrorist activity, TID sources told the Daily News yesterday.

The arrests came after information was elicited from the Palai Hospital JMO Dr. Sinniah Sivaruban who had been earlier detained on suspicion.

Among the arrested suspects are some former LTTE members and Army informants, these sources disclosed.

Continue reading ‘Seven Suspects Including Pallai Hospital JMO Arrested for Alleged LTTE Related Activity;Investigations Reveal Plot to Kill Douglas Devananda and “Col” Karuna but no Details of Conspiracy to Assassinate Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapaksa.’ »

UNP Party Constitution Article 9 Stipulates That Presidential Election Candidate Can be Named by Nomination Board Only After Elections Commissioner Announces Poll and Calls for Nominations Says UNP Legal Secretary Nissanka Nanayakkara.

By

Yohan Perera

UNP Legal Secretary Nissanka Nanayakkara today said the candidate for the presidential election could be named only after the Election Commission notify the date to accept nominations for the election.

Mr. Nanayakkara issuing a statement said UNP’s constitution does not have provisions to name a candidate until such time election commission declares the presidential election.

Continue reading ‘UNP Party Constitution Article 9 Stipulates That Presidential Election Candidate Can be Named by Nomination Board Only After Elections Commissioner Announces Poll and Calls for Nominations Says UNP Legal Secretary Nissanka Nanayakkara.’ »

President Sirisena Obstinately Obstructs the Grant of 480 Million US $ by Millennnium Challenge Corporation Despite Risk Of Funds Being Diverted Away From Sri Lanka.

A 480 million US dollar grant to Sri Lanka by the Millennium Challenge Corporation of America is held up as President Maithripala Sirisena has not given approval, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.

MCC officials had warned that there is a board meeting scheduled for September and if cabinet does not clear the deal, money may be diverted to another country.

“The president has a different opinion on this,” Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera told reporters in Colombo.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Obstinately Obstructs the Grant of 480 Million US $ by Millennnium Challenge Corporation Despite Risk Of Funds Being Diverted Away From Sri Lanka.’ »

Anura Kumara Dissanayake’s Performance at Presidential Poll Could be of Crucial Importance if the Crowds Moblised by the JVP at Meetings Could be Channelled Into Votes.

By

Lakdev Liyanagama

The entry of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) in to the presidential election this year, confirmed by the declaration that its leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake would be its candidate, creates a new dimension into what has already become a fascinating contest.

With the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) declaring Gotabaya Rajapaksa as its candidate on August 11, The JVP’s announcement of Dissanayake followed one week later. That leaves the two major parties in the country for the last seven decades, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP), yet to declare their final intentions.

It is unlikely that the SLFP will contest. It held another round of discussions with the SLPP this week which were discussed as ‘positive’ and ‘successful’, but no definite announcement has yet been made about whether the party will support SLPP nominee Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The UNP on the other hand is still convulsing from within, in the process of finalising a candidate. Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa has publicly declared that he will ‘definitely’ contest, leading to speculation that he could run as a ‘spoiler’ candidate if he is not nominated, with the backing of a faction of the party. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya are the other potential candidates, neither having withdrawn from contention.

Continue reading ‘Anura Kumara Dissanayake’s Performance at Presidential Poll Could be of Crucial Importance if the Crowds Moblised by the JVP at Meetings Could be Channelled Into Votes.’ »

UNP Needs at Least a Leader like the late Premadasa, for its Survival, but Sajith is not Capable of Filling that Vacancy Primarily Because he Lacks Even the Leadership Qualities that his Father Possessed.

By

Rohana R.Wasala

The artificially sensationalized controversy within the UNP ranks about the authenticity of the party deputy leader Sajith Premadasa’s educational qualifications, in the twilight of its barely legitimate rule, is a strangely anticlimactic, but justly retributive, reversal of its unbroken mudslinging campaign against the Rajapaksas, whose democratic return to power they have been determined to forestall by hook or by crook.

The controversial 19th Amendment was primarily intended to keep them out of power for the foreseeable future. The calling into question of Premadasa’s academic attainments is actually much ado about nothing, provoked by the heated leadership tussle between two camps, within the party, the reactionary jaded old guard clinging to its hereditary ‘ownership’ of the party, and a relatively younger ginger group within its ranks; clamouring for a change of party leadership trying to make it less inimical to the rising nationalist spirit of the electorate. But it promoted pro-Premadasa propaganda as a negative marketing strategy by giving a little boost to his presidential nomination bid.

Sajith is embattled on two fronts: He is embarked on a struggle for rising to party leadership, and he has started, at least at the individual level, his presidential campaign. While the second (which is actually premature because it is still uncertain whether the UNP will agree to his candidacy) is already a lost cause, in view of the dismal performance of the Yahapalana regime of which he has been a senior member; his success in the first is of vital importance for himself and for his party.

Continue reading ‘UNP Needs at Least a Leader like the late Premadasa, for its Survival, but Sajith is not Capable of Filling that Vacancy Primarily Because he Lacks Even the Leadership Qualities that his Father Possessed.’ »

UNP Will Take Action Against Pro-Sajith MP’s Ajith Perera and Sujeewa Senaratne For Making Public Remarks Violating Party Discipline but Chairman Kabir Hashim Says Both Have Done No Wrong.

By

Kelum Bandara

The United National Party (UNP) has decided to institute disciplinary action against two of its MPs – Non-Cabinet Minister of Digital Infrastructure and Information Technology Ajith Perera and Non-Cabinet Minister of Science, Technology and Research Sujeewa Senasinghe – for making certain remarks in breach of party discipline, the Daily Mirror learns.

According to informed sources, the party noticed these two ministers to appear before General-Secretary of Education and Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam as well as Legal Secretary Nissanka Nanayakkara at 11.00 a.m. at the party headquarters in Sirikotha for preliminary inquiries.

Continue reading ‘UNP Will Take Action Against Pro-Sajith MP’s Ajith Perera and Sujeewa Senaratne For Making Public Remarks Violating Party Discipline but Chairman Kabir Hashim Says Both Have Done No Wrong.’ »

Sajith Premadasa Supports “Maximum Devolution Within a Unitary Sri Lanka “and Emphasises Need to Eradicate Racism From Society and fight discrimination, prejudice and zelophobia.”

By
Rukshana Rizwie

Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Minister and presidential hopeful Sajith Premadasa says he is for ‘maximum devolution within a unitary state’ to resolve the ethnic issue and feels that the current decision-making structure in the country is ‘ad-hoc, disjointed and personality driven’ that has led to the ‘system favouring one segment’ of society over others.

The UNP deputy leader was speaking yesterday at an interactive forum on new media held at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute, Colombo.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa Supports “Maximum Devolution Within a Unitary Sri Lanka “and Emphasises Need to Eradicate Racism From Society and fight discrimination, prejudice and zelophobia.”’ »

Perpetrators of Violence Against Minority Communities From Majority Community Remain Unaccountable But When Buddhist Community Members Complain Action is Swift and Disproportionate in Sri Lanka says UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion and Belief Ahmed Shaheed

Sri Lanka is selectively implementing laws against religious minorities including using disproportionate response, and police seemed unsure to act when Buddhist monks broker the law, a UN Special Envoy said.

“Often, many described problems of double standards in law enforcement depending on which community offends or finds itself offended by the actions of other,” Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Ahmed Shaheed told reporters in Colombo.

“I heard of cases of violence against minorities perpetrated by the majority community where perpetrators are clearly identified in video recordings but remain unaccountable for years after the incident,” he said.

“Reversely, many complained, that when a complaint is brought forward by members of the Buddhist community, action is swift and, at times, disproportionate.”

Continue reading ‘Perpetrators of Violence Against Minority Communities From Majority Community Remain Unaccountable But When Buddhist Community Members Complain Action is Swift and Disproportionate in Sri Lanka says UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion and Belief Ahmed Shaheed’ »

Sri Lanka May Lose Millennium Challenge Corporation Grant of 480 Million US $ if Agreement is not Signed By September Warns MCC Country Director for US Owned MCC.

By Chandeepa Wettasinghe

Sri Lanka is at risk of losing a 480 million US dollar grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to improve transportation and land information availability if the island does not sign the agreement by September, an official said.

“The 480 million US dollar program needs to be approved by Sri Lanka before our board meets in September,” Jenner Edelman, the Resident Country Director for the US government owned MCC told EconomyNext.

“We have been waiting for cabinet approval to sign the agreement. If we can’t get the program approved and signed then board members may suggest that we use these resources elsewhere.”

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka May Lose Millennium Challenge Corporation Grant of 480 Million US $ if Agreement is not Signed By September Warns MCC Country Director for US Owned MCC.’ »

“I am the army commander for the entire nation and not for one ethnic group.I spent my childhood in Matale where I grew up with Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims in harmony and I understand the feelings of all those communities” – Lt.Gen Shavendra Silva

By Harishandra Gunaratna

Army Commander Lt.Gen. Shevendra Silva, yesterday, said it was imperative that intelligence capability of the army be enhanced to meet the current security requirement of the country.

Addressing the media in Colombo, the newly appointed army commander said the military intelligence would undergo some changes.

Lt.Gen Silva was of the opinion that the army should have a robust intelligence arm to overcome terrorist threats faced by the country and he as the commander would ensure that the need was fulfilled.

Continue reading ‘“I am the army commander for the entire nation and not for one ethnic group.I spent my childhood in Matale where I grew up with Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims in harmony and I understand the feelings of all those communities” – Lt.Gen Shavendra Silva’ »

President Sirisena Removes SB Dissanayake and Mahinda Samarasinghe as SLFP Treasurer and Party Spokesperson and Replaces Them with Lasantha Alagiyawanna and Weerakumara Dissanayake Respectively.


President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday made sweeping changes to key positions of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

Veteran S.B. Dissanayake was removed as SLFP Treasurer and Lasantha Alagiyawanna was appointed as the successor at the SLFP Central Working Committee meeting.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Removes SB Dissanayake and Mahinda Samarasinghe as SLFP Treasurer and Party Spokesperson and Replaces Them with Lasantha Alagiyawanna and Weerakumara Dissanayake Respectively.’ »

Parliamentary Select Committee Probing Easter Sunday Terrorist Attacks Unable to Complete Its Report Because of an Uncooperative President Sirisena who Keeps Ignoring Invitation to Appear Before PSC

By Saman Indrajith

The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the Easter Sunday carnage found itself in a difficult situation owing to a clash between the legislature and the executive, PSC sources said.

The PSC has almost completed its hearings, except the recording the evidence of President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also the Defence Minister.

Continue reading ‘Parliamentary Select Committee Probing Easter Sunday Terrorist Attacks Unable to Complete Its Report Because of an Uncooperative President Sirisena who Keeps Ignoring Invitation to Appear Before PSC’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Determined to Form Powerful Coalition First and Finalise Manifesto and Then Announce Name of Presidential Candidate.


The UNP would not announce its presidential candidate without unveiling the policies of the coalition it would establish, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said, on Saturday, at Ankumbura.

The party would first build a powerful political coalition and then field a presidential candidate from that alliance, he said, adding that the unveiling of the coalition’s manifesto would coincide with the naming of its presidential candidate.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Determined to Form Powerful Coalition First and Finalise Manifesto and Then Announce Name of Presidential Candidate.’ »

SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Pledges to Appoint an Independent Commission of Inquiry Into Terrorist Attacks on Easter Sunday in a “Future Govt Under Our Leadership”.

SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in a statement yesterday, assured an independent commission of inquiry by a future government under his leadership to ascertain those responsible for the Easter Sunday attacks.

The full statement of Rajapaksa is as follows.

My attention is drawn to the statement made by the Archdiocese of Colombo and Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith on 21 April in the wake of the horrific terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday.

I can understand the deep sadness and pressure faced by him due to the lack of response to the demands made by the relatives of the innocent people who died and were severely injured in the ruthless terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday which shocked the entire nation.

Continue reading ‘SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Pledges to Appoint an Independent Commission of Inquiry Into Terrorist Attacks on Easter Sunday in a “Future Govt Under Our Leadership”.’ »

Mannar – The Lesser Known Sights

Text & Pix by David Sadeep Jeyaselvan

Sri Lanka’s north western most point, Mannar is a region that is synonymous with flamingoes and other exotic birds that make it a bird watcher’s paradise. It is also known for its kite surfing scene that is increasingly becoming popular post war.

The region however, offers much more than the usual sites

Kunchikulam

Just before entering Mannar, before the Giants Tank are two British constructions.

The first is an irrigation system that was constructed to distribute water from Giants Tank to the nearby villages. The since abandoned construction is now being renovated by the government to provide water during this period of drought.


Continue reading ‘Mannar – The Lesser Known Sights’ »

President Sirisena’s Move to Divide the UNP and Replace Ranil Wickremesinghe With Sajith Premadasa as Prime Minister on Friday in a New Govt Comprising UNP Sajith Faction and MP’s from SLFP and SLPP Ends In Failure

(Excerpts From The “Sunday Times” Political Column of August 25th 2019)

President Maithripala Sirisena’s new move this week to swear-in United National Party (UNP) deputy leader Sajith Premadasa as Prime Minister and urge him to form a new Cabinet of Ministers did not materialise.

Set for last Friday so Premadasa could attend the rally in his support in the southern town of Matara that day, this was the part of a dialogue that went on between Sirisena and Premadasa, as revealed in these columns last week.

This is the second public event Premadasa is taking part in after the rally on August 12 in Badulla. This comes as divisions within the UNP exacerbated over his decision to contest the presidential election.

Unlike the so called ‘constitutional coup’ in October last year, President Sirisena’s latest attempt bore a more friendly face and at least kept to the contours of the Constitution.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena’s Move to Divide the UNP and Replace Ranil Wickremesinghe With Sajith Premadasa as Prime Minister on Friday in a New Govt Comprising UNP Sajith Faction and MP’s from SLFP and SLPP Ends In Failure’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Presidential Candidacy: A Positive Perspective by an American Friend in California

By

Dr. Stephen Long, Los Angeles, California

After spending most of my adult life in Hawaii and then Southeast Asia, I returned to the US and settled in Los Angeles in 1998. About two weeks after my move a couple with whom I am very close invited me to an evening event at their amazing new art gallery on La Brea Avenue in Hollywood. The gallery specialized in museum-quality Asian and Buddhist art, and I wound up spending a lot of time there over the next few years.

Two or three weeks before my arrival in Los Angeles, my gallery-owner friends had met Ven. Walpola Piyananda. He was driving down La Brea and was startled to see a large seated Buddha statue in the display window facing the street. He told his driver to park the car and then he walked back for a closer look. My friend Cari, the co-owner, saw the orange-robed monk peering in her window and became very excited; she immediately stepped outside to invite him in. She guided him through their collection of Buddhist art and then asked him if he would come to an upcoming event and bless their gallery, friends, and customers. He agreed, of course, and his appearance that evening was the first of many over the years to come.

During the event I spent most of my time with Bhante Piyananda and the other monks he brought with him to participate in the blessing ceremony. As a Western Buddhist I had missed the company of monks since my move to the States, and it gave me great pleasure to be by their side and to get to know them; during the event I practically ignored everyone else just so I could spend more time with Cari’s special guests. At the end of the blessing ceremony, after the monks had tied pirith nool around the wrists of all hundred or so grateful guests, I escorted the monks to their car. While walking to his vehicle Bhante invited me to attend meditation at their temple that Friday night. I accepted and wound up spending the next twenty-plus years not only in Friday meditation, but in close association in many other ways with Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara and their resident hamudurawos. This relationship turned out to be one of the most important in my life. After a while I was blessed by being asked to teach Sunday School for the temple teenagers, which turned into being my favorite weekly activity for the past twelve years, and counting.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Presidential Candidacy: A Positive Perspective by an American Friend in California’ »

If Divided UNP Loses Election Regardless of Who The Presidential Candidate Is, It Would Be a Case of Sinking Separately Instead of Sinking Together

(Excerpts From the “Sunday Times”Political Column of August 25th 2019)

Assertions made by Ranil Wickremesinghe this week, showed little change in the premier’s strong determination to be UNP’s presidential candidate. However, there were indications this week that that he was taking a deeper look at the recent developments to map out countermeasures. In this regard, two different meetings he held on Monday night at ‘Temple Trees’ have turned out to be both important and significant in the context of current political developments.

One, was a meeting with his close confidants to discuss the current situation in the party. He gave them an overview of what has been going on and the issues that have arisen as a result of a group defiantly extending support to his deputy Sajith Premadasa. He said the group had made a string of blunders. If he is pushed further and further, he cautioned, he did not want to divide the party. In such a case, he would support Speaker Karu Jayasuriya as presidential candidate.

It is, of course, known that party leader Wickremesinghe has asked Jayasuriya to be ready in the event he has to enter the fray. Jayasuriya has been preparing. That included a video documentary highlighting his political career and his ‘wide acceptance’ by the Buddhist clergy. That Wickremesinghe had similarly alerted a leading businessman and at least two other cabinet ministers is also well known. Some felt this was more for ‘nuisance value’ than other reasons.

One source said that Wickremesinghe confidants’ endorsement of a nominee was not conclusive. The remarks on Jayasuriya indicate that Wickremesinghe is not in favour of Premadasa and had his own choice if he does choose, to back out from the presidential race.

Continue reading ‘If Divided UNP Loses Election Regardless of Who The Presidential Candidate Is, It Would Be a Case of Sinking Separately Instead of Sinking Together’ »

Open support of extra-judicial killings come from those who have concretely formed and go on to publicly express an opinion based on repeated media frames they have been exposed to.

By Sanjana Hattotuwa

When and under which conditions is rape acceptable? Is raping a male more acceptable than raping a woman? If it is your wife, is hitting or kicking her once in a while ok? When killing a child, is it better to die quickly or slowly, individually or in a group? As a measure of paternal love, is it ok to abuse one’s own children just to discipline them? Is it ok, only sometimes, for priests to abuse younger monks as a test of faith? When and where can a teacher have a sexual relationship with a student in school? Not before O/Ls? Anytime after A/Ls? Only if the student comes to tuition class, which is outside of school premises? Is it ok running over a beggar on the street and not caring too much? If it is our dog, cat or pet, should we not be allowed to cut, kick, starve and burn it as we see fit? When throwing away an unwanted baby, should one kill it first, or just dump it in a bin?

These may not be the questions you want to start your Sunday or arguably any day of the week with. And yet, our justice system and police are often called upon to bear witness to or act on all this and much more. When there is the occasional sensational framing of an incident on these lines in the media, responses reflect what is appreciated as an aberration or abhorrent.

We don’t wait for a journalist or social media update to tell us that rape or infanticide is wrong. It just is, at any time, by anyone and anywhere. You’d think that because of what at least society in the South of Sri Lanka sees itself as – which in JR Jayewardene’s framing was a ‘dharmishta samajaya’ (a society resplendent with the teachings of the Buddha) – this moral code would extend to all transgressions, including the excesses of war. Clearly not. And therefore a particularly violent question posed on Twitter last week, though distressing, wasn’t surprising.

The tweet was anchored to when and if it was appropriate for extra-judicial murder to take place, especially in the context of war. Even though the question in its formulation included words which very clearly gave away the fact that what was asked is entirely unacceptable and illegal, the original tweet generated a lot of responses from those who thought that it was entirely appropriate, given certain conditions.

Continue reading ‘Open support of extra-judicial killings come from those who have concretely formed and go on to publicly express an opinion based on repeated media frames they have been exposed to.’ »

Political Amnesia has Currently Gripped all Contenders and Would-be contenders on Sri Lanka’s Presidential Election Platforms.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

A comfortable sense of political amnesia has currently gripped all contenders and would-be contenders on Sri Lanka’s Presidential election platforms. From opposing stages, we are being asked to believe that the ruin of this land is not their collective fault. That is too great a lie to be uncritically accepted. Indeed, if there is one common and typically perfidious characteristic on display, this would undoubtedly be it.

Casual admittance of ‘mistakes

From the ‘Pohottuwa’ stage, fire-breathing supporters of the Rajapaksa (could it be anything but?) candidate, the former Defence Secretary and the former President’s brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa reject with force, questions about multiple gargantuan financial frauds, the killings, the mayhem and the murders on their watch. When pressed to the wall, there is a casual admittance that ‘mistakes were made.’ But it ends there.

So if the Pohottuwa campaign is to go beyond the extreme nationalist Sinhalese fringe and bhikku supporters who call for a ‘Hitler’ to rule the country, there must be a more considered attempt to grapple with the realities of its terrible past.

While it may be too much to expect this from its leaders, at least seniors in the alliance must recognise this fact. True, the ‘Pohottuwa’ glossing over of Rajapaksa sins has been enabled by ‘yahapalanaya’blundering, from awkward constitutional reforms to clumsy prosecutions.

Continue reading ‘Political Amnesia has Currently Gripped all Contenders and Would-be contenders on Sri Lanka’s Presidential Election Platforms.’ »

US Ambassador Alaina Teplitz and Others Critical of Gen Shavendra Silva’s Appointment Must Realise That the Accusations Against the Sri Lankan Army Commander are Allegations Without any Proof of Guilt

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The Western World seems obsessed with the promotion of Lt. General Shavendra Silva as the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army. The US Ambassador here, Alaina Teplitz, came with the first charge against him, regarding allegations of gross human rights violations documented by the United Nations and other organizations that are serious and credible.

There is one thing that Ambassador Teplitz and the others from the UN, Canada and the EU too, must know. They are referring to ‘allegations’ against him, with no proof of guilt.

One hopes that these loud voices on behalf of justice and human rights know one simple reality with regard to the functioning of justice. Accusations and allegations are not proof of guilt. There have been many in this world against whom serious and grave allegations have been made, but who have been found not guilty of such offences.

Continue reading ‘US Ambassador Alaina Teplitz and Others Critical of Gen Shavendra Silva’s Appointment Must Realise That the Accusations Against the Sri Lankan Army Commander are Allegations Without any Proof of Guilt’ »

Indian Intelligence Reports State Six “Lakshar -e-Taiba”Terrorists Comprising One Pakistani and Five Sri Lankan Muslims Have Infiltrated Tamil Nadu Via Sri Lanka And Settled Down in Coimbatore Posing as “Vibhuti”(holy ash) Wearing Hindus.


By

Wilson Thomas

High alert was issued in Coimbatore late on Thursday following an intelligence input that six LeT terrorists had intruded into Tamil Nadu and had settled in Coimbatore.

The alert, the authenticity of which was confirmed by credible intelligence sources, said that the six member group intruded into Tamil Nadu via Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Indian Intelligence Reports State Six “Lakshar -e-Taiba”Terrorists Comprising One Pakistani and Five Sri Lankan Muslims Have Infiltrated Tamil Nadu Via Sri Lanka And Settled Down in Coimbatore Posing as “Vibhuti”(holy ash) Wearing Hindus.’ »

Is President Sirisena Planning to Enact Another “Constitutional Coup” Like What was Done on October 26 Last Year and Replace Ranil Wickremesinghe with a New Prime Minister by Dividing the UNP?


By

Yohan Perera

Efforts are being made to create another constitutional coup similar to that of the one on October 26 last year and to appoint a new premier, UNP MPs Ashu Marasinghe and Palitha Range Bandara alleged yesterday.

Speaking at a media briefing, the MPs said creating a division within the UNP was part of the conspiracy.

Continue reading ‘Is President Sirisena Planning to Enact Another “Constitutional Coup” Like What was Done on October 26 Last Year and Replace Ranil Wickremesinghe with a New Prime Minister by Dividing the UNP?’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Says a Split in the UNP is Inevitable Regardless of who the Presidential Candidate Is Because a Group of Persons in the Party Dont Respect the Party Leadership.

By

Lahiru Pothmulla

Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa today claimed it is inevitable that the United National Party (UNP) will be split irrespective of who becomes the party’s nominee at the upcoming presidential election.

He expressed these views at a meeting held with the heads of the local government bodies controlled by the SLPP at its Head office in Battaramulla, Colombo.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Says a Split in the UNP is Inevitable Regardless of who the Presidential Candidate Is Because a Group of Persons in the Party Dont Respect the Party Leadership.’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa States Openly in the Presence of Mahinda Rajapaksa at SLPP Headquarters Meeting That There Are No Barriers To His Contesting the Next Presidential Elections as he has Relinquished his US Citizenship on May 17th 2019

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday said there were no barriers to contesting the upcoming Presidential Elections as a candidate, as his US citizenship was relinquished on 17 May.

Rajapaksa, together with Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, attended a meeting of Local Government Chairmen at SLPP headquarters on Thursday, where he said that he had also obtained a Sri Lankan passport after notifying the Immigration and Emigration Department that he had relinquished his dual citizenship.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa States Openly in the Presence of Mahinda Rajapaksa at SLPP Headquarters Meeting That There Are No Barriers To His Contesting the Next Presidential Elections as he has Relinquished his US Citizenship on May 17th 2019’ »

Sri Lankan Army Adhered to International Humanitarian Laws During Past Operations Says Newly Appointed Army Commander Lt.Gen. Shavendra Silva

The Sri Lanka Army acted in keeping with international humanitarian laws and rights during past humanitarian operations, Army Commander Shavendra Silva recalled yesterday.

“Any army in the world is committed to protect the inalienable rights of the country’s citizens and create a conducive atmosphere for a democratic way of life while being alert to adopt any measures against internal or external threats with determination. During past humanitarian operations, we adhered to those guidelines, acceptable to any State and acted in keeping with international humanitarian laws and rights, I must recall at this juncture,” Lt. General Silva said after assuming duties.

Commenting on the military intelligence, the new commander said: “I intend to reorganise military intelligence units and raise them to an elevated level in keeping with strategies of international armies while simultaneously sharing their experience and practices.”

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Army Adhered to International Humanitarian Laws During Past Operations Says Newly Appointed Army Commander Lt.Gen. Shavendra Silva’ »

Clashing Perspectives on Gen. Shavendra Silva’s Appointment as Lankan Army Chief

By P.K.Balachandran

The appointment of Maj.Gen.Shavendra Silva as the Sri Lankan Army Commander in succession to Lt.Gen. Mahesh Senanayake on Monday, has invoked sharp comments from the US embassy and the UN, both saying that it would have adverse consequences for ethnic justice and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

According to a Reuters report a senior U.S. State Department official warned on Tuesday that the appointment of a General accused of serious human rights violations as the head of its army could affect U.S. military cooperation and investment in the island nation.

The Washington official, speaking to reporters on background, said the appointment would have lasting implications for the Millenium Challenge Corporation US$ 480 million fund, aimed at modernizing Sri Lanka’s urban transport system and infrastructure. The agreement is awaiting approval by Sri Lanka’s cabinet.

“It is a highly charged political environment in which some political factions feel there is much to be gained by playing the nationalist card,” the official said.

Continue reading ‘Clashing Perspectives on Gen. Shavendra Silva’s Appointment as Lankan Army Chief’ »

Lt Gen Shavendra Silva Is Important to Sri Lanka Just as Gen Ulysses S.Grant was Important to the USA says Patali Champika Ranawaka.

By

Muditha Dayananda

In the same way, General Ulysses S. Grant who led the government forces against the separatist civil war in the USA became important to Americans, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva is also important to the Sri Lankan Government, said the Minister of Megalopolis and Western Development Patalie Champika Ranawaka at a press briefing held yesterday at his ministry.

Continue reading ‘Lt Gen Shavendra Silva Is Important to Sri Lanka Just as Gen Ulysses S.Grant was Important to the USA says Patali Champika Ranawaka.’ »

Appointment of Gen.Shavendra Silva as Army Commander Could Affect US Military Cooperation and Investment in Sri Lanka Warns US State Dept Official

A senior U.S. State Department official warned on Tuesday that Sri Lanka’s appointment of a war veteran accused of serious human rights violations as head of its army could affect U.S. military cooperation and investment in the island nation.

On Monday, Sri Lanka named Shavendra Silva, 55, as the country’s new army chief despite United Nations accusations that he was involved in human rights abuses during the country’s 26-year-long civil war.

Continue reading ‘Appointment of Gen.Shavendra Silva as Army Commander Could Affect US Military Cooperation and Investment in Sri Lanka Warns US State Dept Official’ »

Concerns over the appointment of Major Gen. Shavendra Silva as Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and the need for urgent reforms – Centre For Policy Alternatives(CPA)

(Text of a Statement Issued By the Centre for Policy Alternatives(CPA) in Colombo)

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) is deeply concerned by President Maithripala Sirisena’s appointment of Major General Shavendra Silva as the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and urges the Government of Sri Lanka to take immediate steps to review this appointment in light of the serious allegations levelled against Major General Silva.

In January of this year, CPA raised similar concerns when Major General Silva was appointed the Chief of Staff of the SLA. We are disappointed that the present Government, which committed itself to security sector reforms and accountability, has taken no action to address these concerns.

Today’s appointment is in effect a repudiation of the promised reforms. It demonstrates a clear disregard for human rights norms, and will facilitate the further entrenchment of impunity in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Concerns over the appointment of Major Gen. Shavendra Silva as Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and the need for urgent reforms – Centre For Policy Alternatives(CPA)’ »

Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry Statement Says international concern over the appointment of Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva was “unwarranted and unacceptable” and contrary to the “principles of natural justice”

The Foreign Ministry yesterday said international concern over the appointment of Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva was “unwarranted and unacceptable”, and contrary to the principles of natural justice upheld by the international community.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry Statement Says international concern over the appointment of Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva was “unwarranted and unacceptable” and contrary to the “principles of natural justice”’ »

Human Rights Watch Issues Statement Critical of Lt.Gen Shavendra Silva’s Appointment as Sri Lanka’s Army Commander and Urges Setting up of a Justice Tribunal With International Participation.


By

Meenakshi Ganguly

Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed a general whose forces have been credibly accused of war crimes as the commander of the national army.

The move would seem to confirm the fears of those like Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, who, back in March, supported the United Nations Human Rights Council’s extension of its 2015 resolution on Sri Lanka.

The extension, which Sirisena and other top officials openly opposed, seeks justice and accountability for violations committed during the 26-year civil war that ended in 2009.

“The sad reality is, then, that there are those who oppose any measure to achieve accountability and reconciliation, because they don’t want justice,” said Mangala Samaraweera. “They want victor’s justice.”

Continue reading ‘Human Rights Watch Issues Statement Critical of Lt.Gen Shavendra Silva’s Appointment as Sri Lanka’s Army Commander and Urges Setting up of a Justice Tribunal With International Participation.’ »

UN Human Rights Commissioner Criticises Gen.Shavendra Silva Being Appointed as the new Army Chief by President Sirisena; Refers to Silva as being “heavily implicated by a succession of UN reports in alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity”in Statement.

Swift condemnation followed President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to appoint controversial wartime commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva as Commander of the Army from local and international actors yesterday.

After oscillating on the decision for days since last Friday, the President allowed nearly a day to lapse after former Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake retired from service, without the traditional ceremonial send off and baton passing ceremony.

Daily FT learns that President Sirisena was under severe pressure even from within his own party to not appoint Lt. Gen. Silva as the new Army Chief. The UNP was largely divided on the issue, but an increasingly powerful faction of the party were also backing the appointment, highly placed sources told Daily FT.

Silva who commanded the 58 Division of the Army has been named in several UN reports as being implicated in grave violations of international humanitarian law that may be tantamount to war crimes.

Continue reading ‘UN Human Rights Commissioner Criticises Gen.Shavendra Silva Being Appointed as the new Army Chief by President Sirisena; Refers to Silva as being “heavily implicated by a succession of UN reports in alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity”in Statement.’ »

JVP led “National People’s Power”(NPP) Movement Nominates JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake as Their Presidential Candidate at Massive Rally Held on Galle Face Green.

The JVP Presidential candidate and Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake yesterday kicked off his campaign urging all communities to unite to transform Sri Lanka into a socially, economically, and politically vibrant country under his leadership.

Speaking at a massive rally at the Galle Face Green, where the JVP-led National People’s Power (NPP) movement nominated him as their Presidential candidate, Dissanayake said the desired transformation requires a change in each and every citizen and urged people from all walks of life to rally around him and his party.

The JVP is fielding a Presidential candidate of their own after a lapse of 20 years with the last being Nandana Gunathilake, who came third in the contest then.

Continue reading ‘JVP led “National People’s Power”(NPP) Movement Nominates JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake as Their Presidential Candidate at Massive Rally Held on Galle Face Green.’ »