Category Archives: parliamentary elections

Democracy under the Gun in Sri Lanka

Jayadeva Uyangoda, in Sri Lanka Guardian 24 September 2020, where the title is “The End of Sri Lanka’s Democracy”

The debate on the proposed 20th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s 1978 Constitution is gathering momentum. The proposal, which has been published in the Government Gazette, is indeed a constitutional bombshell, literally. Its provisions are very destructive in their objectives as well as consequences. 

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The Democratization Process in Ceylon, 1832-1948

Michael Roberts: “The Democratization Process in Sri Lanka,”  being the text of an Illustrated Lecture on Video presented to The May 18 Memorial Foundation in Korea in early September 2020 …. as part of a series encompassing several countries — organised by Professor Inrae You. The Lecture was, as I understood it, for highschool students.

The democratisation process began in the period of British rule in the 20th century. It would however be unwise to start with the early 20th century. One should look at the prehistory of the island of Ceylon before that. Ceylon, Ceilão, Sihalē had forms of autocratic kingship well before the European colonial powers came to Asia and set up their colonies.

Rajasinghe II of Sihale ruling from Mahanuvara and receiving homage (dakuma) from the Dutch

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Ethnic Knots Today: The How

Javid Yusuf, in Island, August 2020, and also PRESSREADER where the title is “Resolving the Ethnic Conflict-  making a difficult task that much more difficult”

One of the most complex problems faced by the country after independence has been the “ethnic conflict” that resulted in a civil war that consumed the country for over three decades.  Although the conflict was not between two ethnicities (the Sinhalese and Tamils) but in reality between the State and the Tamil community, the label “ethnic conflict” has become the common parlance used to describe the events around this long drawn out conflict. Basically it has been an attempt by the Tamil politicians to persuade successive Governments to restructure the State so as to address Tamil concerns.

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Modernist Fundamentalism: Missing the Force of Walk, Talk and Majesty in Sinhaladom

Michael Roberts

Asanga Welikala edited an important book entitled The Republic at Forty in 2012 in which I participated (CPA, 2012). Both Welikala and Roshan de Silva-Wijeyeratne have formidable curriculum-vitae behind them. Their recent intervention in criticism of the Rajapaksa state today[1] also happens to rely heavily on SJ Tambiah’s work on the mandala state,[2] a topic which also informed my concept of the “Asokan Persona,” which is developed within four chapters in my book Exploring Confrontation (1994).

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Confronting Welikala and De Silva-Wijeyeratne: One

I sent the Article by Asanga Welikala and de Silva-Wijeyeratne to 24 personnel** in various parts of the world on the 29/30th August inviting Comments ….. and these THREE comments from Hugh Karunanayake, Gerald Peiris and CR de Silva are the first ‘burst’ ….. Michael Roberts 

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Rajapaksa Populism: Reflections from Udith Devapriya

Udith Devapriya iDaily Mirror, 15 August 2020, where the title reads Four lessons from my father”

My father was the first in his family and my mother’s, to foretell Mahinda Rajapaksa’s rise to power in the 1990s. At the time the man was in charge of Labour and Vocational Training, a threadbare though challenging ministry if ever there was one. Challenging, not because one could not do much in it, but because by then the SLFP’s approach to labour had begun to depart from its traditional vantage point.

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Reconciliation in Sri Lanka: Prospects Today

Jehan Perera, in The New Age, 20 August 2020, with this title “Opening door to Lanka reconciliation”

Sri Lanka’s president Gotabaya Rajapakse, second from right, and prime minister Mahinda Rajapakse, second from left, along with new cabinet ministers stand for the national anthem during the cabinet swearing-in ceremony at the Buddhist Temple of the Tooth in the ancient hill capital of Kandy on August 12.— Agence France-Presse/Lakruwan Wanniarachchi

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Remarkable Voting Results in Sri Lanka … Especially in the North and East

Chandre Dharmawardana, in an article entitled Tamil speaking voters  decisively reject vengeance-peddling Genocide-Claiming parties in Sri Lanka’s  elections,” –which will presumably appear in digital or print form somewhere

Sri Lanka, a nation troubled by decades of civil strife and a separatist war  has just concluded a parliamentary election bringing back the war-winning government. Western observers have keenly focused on the North, with its Tamil population (5% of the Nations population) previously controlled by the separatist Tigers. Their  “MaVeera”  (suicide fighters  presented as heroes) are celebrated covertly and even overtly by hard-liner Tamil politicians in the North, and in Western diasporas.

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Erudite Voices seeking Limits on Election Landslide

I = Rajan Philips: “On your marks, get set – for the weakest parliament to face the gravest crises” 2 August 2020, https://island.lk/on-your-marks-get-set-for-the-weakest-parliament-to-face-the-gravest-crises/

II = Lucien Rajakarunanayake: “save Democracy froma Two-Thirds Majority,” 3 August 2020,  https://island.lk/save-democracy-from-a-two-thirds-disaster/

III = Sumedra S  Amarasekera: “Reality of two-thirds power in parliament,” 3 August 2020, https://island.lk/reality-of-two-thirds-p: ower-in-parliament/

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A Military Man seeks Election in a Vanni Electorate

Kamanthi Wickramasinghe, in Daily Mirror, 1 August 2020, where the title is;“Communal harmony will commence from Vanni District -Rathnapriya Bandu”

Colonel Rathnapriya Bandu who served as the Commander of the Civil Defence Force in Vishwamadu made headlines when he was transferred to the Sinha Regiment in Ambepussa. He received a warm farewell from the Tamil community, including rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres proving that he was embraced by all communities alike. Upon his retirement, Col. Bandu made his entry to politics and will be contesting under the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) ticket from the Vanni District. Although it was once a hotbed of communal violence, he assures that communal harmony will soon commence from the Vanni District and spread to all parts of the country.

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