Reading the results of the municipal elections in Sri Lanka

Is this a functioning democracy or what? The governing coalition’s sweep of the local authorities election, the UNP’s successful resistance in a tough campaign in Colombo, as well as the TNA’s impressive performance at repeated elections in the North, make nonsense of the dark pronouncements and forebodings of dictatorship. Homogenization leads to conformism, which crystallises into a monolith, which translates itself into a dictatorship of discourse and opinion, which straitjackets society and creates a de-facto dictatorship. The results of the local authorities election proves that Sri Lankan society will not allow itself to be straitjacketed into conformity. We are, in short, a democracy.

The extrapolation by some commentators that the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration is somewhere along the trajectory of the recently overthrown Arab regimes is way of the mark because none of them permitted pluralist media (an important feedback loop), subjected their popularity to the test of authentically competitive multiparty elections. As Emeritus Professor of International Law at Princeton, Richard Falk observed to in a recent piece, “…as potent a unifying target as was the grim personage of Hosni Mubarak, cruel autocrat for more than three decades…” Thus, Mubarak can resemble Mahinda Rajapaksa and vice versa, only in the jaundiced eyes of demented Diaspora demagogues.

The election result contains a downside though. That downside is not dictatorship; it is something else, or consists of other things. One is the prevalence of lethal political violence, reflecting a long decline of the country’s political culture into quasi-gangsterism. The other is the clear and almost complete correspondence between the electoral and the ethnic. Sri Lanka’s is an unevenly divided democracy.

The UPFA’s wave which carried the traditional UNP strongholds of Kandy, Negombo, Moratuwa and Colombo’s suburbs reinforce the reality revealed by the statistical survey by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA): 74% of the Sinhalese identify most, with the SLFP. This is an unprecedented degree of identification, significantly surpassing the older congruencies between the SLFP and the rural, Sinhala-Buddhist vote. The UNP which once held most of that vote and later was a powerful contender for it, has now lost most of the Sinhala vote, rural and urban, Buddhist and Christian.

Given that almost 74 % of the country’s citizenry are Sinhalese, this places almost insurmountable obstacles to the UNP unless it switches its leadership, which is unlikely in the aftermath of its victory in Colombo. The SLFP’s electoral advantage in a national election is likely to be durable, though not at such high levels, given three factors: the unalterable demographic preponderance of the Sinhalese, a spike in nationalism due to escalating external pressures, the entrenchment of the UNP’s existing leadership and the party’s chronic inability to change its profile (a Wikileaks cable reveals Mr Wickremesingha’s solid defence of the merger and shrill opposition to its dissolution in conversations with the US Ambassador).

However, the unassailability of the SLFP’s hegemony assumes a steady-state or normal situation, which may not be a safe assumption, given the global economic crisis, which could contract the Sri Lankan economy in a few years unless we have got onto far more solid, modern and ethnically integrated footing as a society.

It is widely known that almost 60% of Colombo consists of ethno-linguistic minorities, and while this does not mean that the winning candidate must be from one of the minorities, it does mean that in order to win, a candidate from a majority community must have a multi-ethnic base and appeal, or his/her party must have such a profile. Dr NM Perera and B. Sirisena Cooray both Sinhalese, won because they did have this factor.

My friend Milinda Moragoda probably failed because the governing coalition has been unable to cultivate a multiethnic image. If Milinda’s campaign assumed that there would be a subterranean pan-Sinhala swing which, together with a split in the UNP’s Muslim vote effected by Mahroof, it was wrong. The visible tendency, or drive, towards cultural homogenisation and conformity, if not domination, was bound to be rejected by a multicultural, cosmopolitan Colombo citizenry.

As Richard Falk concludes, “In the end, we all must hope and engage. The beginnings of hope are rooted in the correctness of analysis…” The results of the recently concluded election have lessons and implications for Sri Lankan politics and politicians, as well as for those in capitals elsewhere who observe the Sri Lankan scene. While congratulating themselves on winding up with more political real estate than they had before the elections, the rulers must understand the contrasting lessons of Colombo and Kalmunai. The latter result shows the viability of an ethnic party which maintains its identity – and is permitted to – while remaining in the coalition. For its part, the Opposition UNP, while doing very well to retain Colombo, must comprehend that this result, if it locks in its present leadership, locks the party out of the Sinhala vote and therefore political power at a national level. Colombo is a-typical, as is the Northern Province. However severe a future economic crisis and however serious a future wave of street unrest, the factor of patriotism, nationalism or the collective perception of the Sinhalese of facing an existential threat, cannot be wished away, and as such, this UNP –as currently led, configured and profiled– will always be hamstrung at a parliamentary election while being batted out of the ballpark in a Presidential one.

The country’s rulers and foreign critics have similar lessons to learn from the election results. The foreign critics must know that Colombo and Jaffna are not the country at large, and the country at large has gone overwhelmingly one way. The rulers must know that the world outside, from Seattle to Singapore, is more like Colombo and Jaffna, only far more so, than it is like any other part of Sri Lanka.

  • justitia

    In colombo live most of the intellectuals, professionals,and educated persons.
    Minorities too comprise more than 50% of the voters.
    It is the most literate of all local government bodies.
    The minorities and the literate voters have shown their confidence in the UNP and its leadership.
    This was proved in earlier elections too, when Ranil obtained very high numbers of preferential votes in the colombo district – the most literate of all districts.

    The other LG entities were swamped with a cacophony of pro UPFA propaganda by the state controlled media, influenced/assisted by massive misuse of state resources and by financial inducements – millions have been spent by UPFA candidates – and by sheer thuggery & intimidation which made most UNP supporters – minorities & sinhalese – to avoid voting.
    That some UNPers voted at all,shows their courage in opposing the dreaded totalitarian family regime.
    All this is known to foreign observers.
    Election Monitors too have declared that the election was not free or fair.

    • Stanobey

      Why did the UNP win?

      1. They had a good mayoral candidate who was able to reach to all three communities. Muzammil was able to reach to all communities which is evident in that they won all electorates not just Colombo Central – the Muslim pocket. The UNP won significantly in Borella and Colombo East as well.

      2. UPFA had a poor mayoral candidate even the UPFA won Colombo at the last Parliamentary elections – Milinda Moragoda could not get himself elected.

      3. Colombo is not about rich, westernised intellectuals – it’s not a Washington DC but more a Rio de Janiero – as Moragoda himself stated – poverty is the key issue.

      4. The UPFA is not trusted by the urban poor – in fact the very ‘beautification’ project is looked by them with great distrust.

      5. This is due UPFA’s and Gotabhaya Rajapakse’s ‘result oriented’ approach of throwing people on the road in the name of beautification.

      6. From what has come out in the press – GR wants to make Colombo into another Gaza. Let it rot because the voters voted for the wrong party.

    • Sohan Fernando

      I agree, except in:

      The minorities and the literate voters have shown their confidence in the UNP and its leadership.

      I don’t quite agree with you in what I have bolded above…
      The UNP victory doesn’t necessarily imply confidence in the UNP; rather it could equally or partly be an indication of the electorate’s TERRIBLE lack of confidence in — and even more than just lack of confidence, the fear of — the UPFA “and its leadership”…..

      So I strongly suspect a large number of non-UPFA voters (especially votes for the UNP) were motivated the same way as I was:
      I.e., in a decent election in a decent democracy, voters’ first priority would be to vote for the party and candiate(s) that they truly prefer, even if unlikely to win…. BUT, in THIS case in this messed up country, my first priority was a matter of preventing you know what from grabbing even more power.

      Same for the presidential election: Come on, you seriously think that all the General’s votes were by those who actually wanted him? I’m pretty sure a lot of people though like me: voting on the basis of “who is the least dangerous of two likely evils”. I.e., first priority being trying to prevent you know who from “winning”.

      And the existence of the need to act thus, just shows what a terrible state things are in.

      • http://n/a Holmung

        for most in cmb. – it would’ve probably been a protest vote. Sadly though, a significant # from cmb. didnt vote! A good thing in democracy to have checks and balances in place – but the UNP has a lot to prove themselves.

  • neil

    The ruling party lost Colombo because Sri Lankan electorate still votes along ethnic lines. You say “The visible tendency, or drive, towards cultural homogenisation and conformity, if not domination, was bound to be rejected by a multicultural, cosmopolitan Colombo citizenry”. I thought that Milinda made enough overtures to the non-Sinhala communities. And, the President has done the same at the national level. But the country still thinks along ethnic, tribal lines. And, intellectuals like you who support devolution along ethnic lines do not help us get over this backward mentality. Why would a tamil mayor or MP in Ratnapura be not able to represent me as a Sinhalese better or a Sinhalese mayor be not better able to represent a tamil citizen of KKS? You mentioned that Seattle is more like Colombo. Is Colombo ready to cast aside a tribal loyalties like Seattle (where blacks make up 10%) did in electing a black mayor way back in ’89? Let’s do our utmost to create a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society. That requires one to stand up against political groups which pursue mono racial interests.

    • Stanobey

      Neil,

      You cite a useful example:

      ‘Is Colombo ready to cast aside a tribal loyalties like Seattle (where blacks make up 10%) did in electing a black mayor way back in ’89?’

      In other words the white 90% majority in Seattle voted for a minority mayor – what are the chances of that happening in SL? Put a Tamil/Muslim candidiate for Kelaniya – will he win?

      So the multi – culturalism has to come really from the majority. When the majority starts thinking on communal lines so will the minorities.

      • kadphises

        Stanobey,

        Moslems have been elected from Sinhala areas e.g. M. H. Mohammed and his sons from Borella.

        Tamils have also been elected from Sinhala areas. E.g. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle from the Ragama area.

        Premakumar Gunaratnam today has the support of the majority of JVP supporters.

        I am however not sure though if the reverse has ever been the case..

  • Lakshan

    The continued political polarization along ethnic lines evident in this election. While it’s true ouster of Ranil Wickremasinghe is a prerequisite for reorganization of UNP, lack of a viable alternative leadership would act as an impediment and formula for chaos. Sajith Premadasa for example is trying to emulate MR’s successful tilt towards nationalism. But beyond that he shows a dearth of clearly defined policies. Playing to the gallery do not make successful politician in the long term as his father would have told him .

    • http://n/a Holmung

      beg to differ! as his father would’ve told him quite rightly, playing to the gallery (particularly in the SL/Asian context) does work most often than not. Eg. SWRD Banda’s “Sinhala Only” and JRJ’s “Dharmishta” slogan – got the masses on-board en-mass! And we, the next generations are paying dearly for that crap and our parents apathy.

    • http://n/a Holmung

      Guys, this is like Alice in wonderland- wheels within wheels!?

      1. The UPFA is riding on the fact that it won the war (HR aside!) and the majority simple/thick/lazy sinhalese will take some time to understand the realities around town!

      2. I’ve read Thisaranee’s articles over the years- simply brilliant, a beacon of light in the gloomy surroundings- where ‘media/press freedom’ is simply of academic interest. So perhaps the so-called academics as DJ may have things to say?

      3. Those of us who work in the export markets and employ 30-40K staff would know that SL has indeed quite lost its standing out there in the apparent ‘civilized world’.

      4. Despite all the high-flown jargon abt. if we really are a democracy and/or if we are progressing alongst the lines of the Chintanaya (despite the royal family & their cronies lining their pockets) – the incidents on election day are just the tip of the iceberg lettuce. I’m told that now even the board of J’pura hospital has been changed. What a freaking joke. We are raelly scraping the bottom of the barrel now!

      Got to rush for a conference call now. But I had to say these few things- random as they may sound…

      Long live the rajapassa’s and the sliva’s (both the mervyn and dumi types!)

      • wijayapala

        Dear Holmung

        1. The UPFA is riding on the fact that it won the war (HR aside!) and the majority simple/thick/lazy sinhalese will take some time to understand the realities around town!

        I totally 100% agree. Stupid Sinhalese never appreciated how great Sri Lanka was when the LTTE was there to suicide bomb and recruit child soldiers. You and I can appreciate all those wonderful killings but the Sinhalese are too thick and lazy.

  • http://ddadman.blogspot.com/ DD

    The rule of law and the right to bear arms. It is right to implement that the Police force who engage in prevention of minor crimes and traffic violation do not bear arms. Offences that require armed intervention must remain only with the uniformed Police STF. All matters relating to the security and sovereignty of Sri Lanka to be strictly only in the remit of the Army, Navy and Air Force. Most importantly any person carrying arms in Sri Lanka must strictly be in the uniform of the STF, Army, Navy or Air Force. All existing MSD or PSD officers to immediately revert to uniform. Declaring a gun amnesty of one month for all other arms with non-uniformed officers of law or citizens to be returned. Introduce new law, a non-negotiable sentence of three years in rigorous imprisonment for any citizen of Sri Lanka who are caught bearing arms. Whether a member of cabinet or private security individuals. The recent senseless killing at the recent local government elections illustrates the need for this with immediate effect. The Executive Presidency and the relatively average area of our motherland will make this task easy to implement. We must have a working supreme court and a judiciary that is equally powerful as the Executive Presidency enabling any errant cabinet minister to be brought to justice. The flouting of law, and the thuggery and violence practiced by many ministers in the cabinet must stop.

  • Bandara

    The following has been quoted here a few times on this website and just proves how Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism that secured SWRD Banadaranaike power is hardly waning – on the contrary it gets fuelled more and more with each regime change = it’s easy to keep internal colonialism in a island going with the expertise of a few learned people, notwithstanding ”charters” of intergovernmental bodies:
    Ethnic Conflict and Economic Development – A POLICY ORIENTED ANALYSIS, John Richardson(1996) “Democracy alone cannot ensure ethnic harmony. Instead, it may allow freer expression of ethnic antagonisms and legalised persecution of minorities. In Sri Lanka, both S.W.R.D. and Sirimavo Bandaranaike won democratic elections by appealing to Buddhist-Sinhalese nationalist sentiments and denigrating the ethnic Tamils. Slobodan Milosevic, the former Communist Party Chief of Serbia and General Franjo Tudjman of Croatia won their presidencies by appealing to the most divisive aspects of Serbian and Croatian nationalism”.

  • Bandara

    Emeritus Professor of International Law at Princeton, Richard Falk doesn’t know what Prof Richardson who has been visiting for Sri Lanka regularly for nearly two decades and teaching and researching in Colombo University and continuing in Singapore:
    http://groundviews.org/2010/11/05/prospects-for-post-conflict-reconciliation-and-development-in-sri-lanka-can-singapore-be-used-as-a-model/:
    ”When in power, leaders of both parties have often called for reasonable concessions on devolution issues to maintain national unity. But when in opposition many of the very same leaders have become uncompromising advocates of Buddhist-Sinhalese nationalism as a tactic to gain political support.”

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Bandara, since both Richard Falk and John Richardson are personal friends, its even easier for me to comment. They are both correct. as John proves, a democracy can be and often is prone to become an ethnocracy. This has nothing to do with autocracy or dictatorship. i was using Prof Falk’s quote to show that MR unlike Mubarak is not an autocrat or a dictator and tat sri Lanka is no dictatorship. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have ethnocratic practices/tendencies or that our democracy is not ethnocentric in its dynamics. All this far anteceded MR or chatter about dictatorship: indeed, early in the last century the Tamil leaders were afraid of universal franchise precisely because they thought there would be a majoritarian outcome!

  • davidson

    Dayan
    You always seem to emphasise the negatives.
    Leaned people should point towards progress in positive ways – reducing negatives and increasing positives in one country will help the other countries also at the present perilous state of the planet and the world:

    1. “The Iraq Intervention: What US Policy Makers Could Have Learned from Sri Lanka”, Prof John Richardson(American University, New York), Ethnic Studies Institute, Colombo, July 2006.

    2. http://groundviews.org/2010/11/05/prospects-for-post-conflict-reconciliation-and-development-in-sri-lanka-can-singapore-be-used-as-a-model/
    ”…. In an ambitious pre-election manifesto, the Mahinda Chintana, President Rajapaksa outlined very specific and concrete goals touching on many aspects of Sri Lanka’s political economy and society – subjects included “a land of plenty,” “a disciplined and law-abiding society,” “clean water as Sri Lanka’s heritage,” “houses for all,” “electricity for everybody,” “a clean, green environment” and much more (p. 6). states in the Mahinda Chintana,”is to break the fundamentalist concepts of a traditional homeland and a separate state and empower the citizens of this country to arrive at a peaceful political solution which would devolve power to all its citizens.”(p. 52)
    …. a clue to the government’s strategy may be found in a recent interview for the Indian defense review, entitled “Nine Key Decisions that Helped Lanka Beat the LTTE,” given by Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Rajapaksa emphasized that as the first key decision, “The government took a careful review of all previous war operations and drew conclusions from them. For every failure we found a solution.”

    Given this experience, it would not at all surprise me to learn that Sri Lanka’s new government, perhaps lead by Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa are reviewing previous failed attempts to simultaneously achieve three overarching goals spelled out in the Mahinda Chintana: first a strong unitary state “according Buddhism primacy of place as the state religion”, second a state that empowers “entrepreneurs with strength to conquer the world” and third a state that empowers Sri Lanka’s citizens “to arrive at a peaceful political solution which would devolve power to all of its citizens”.

  • silva

    When did Emeritus Professor of International Law at Princeton, Richard Falk speak of Mubarak?
    Was it before or after the eighteenth amendment was enacted in sri lanka?

    A lot of people around the world talk about Arab Spring(NATO invasion, etc…) but not many talk about Sri Lanka.

    Sri lanka has been expertly controlling damage at the UN and the Commonwealth for decades in which the ethnic minorities have been politically and economically and militarily oppressed – submissions by retired Sinhalese diplomats and civil servants to LLRC.
    Sri Lanka is the only country that has held six successive years of membership in CMAG in the 16-yr history of CMAG though one of the rules in CMAG is that any member can have a maximum of four consecutive years. Sri Lanka can dodge 53 Commonwealth coutries !!! That is in 2004-2009 when abductions and murders have been in their hundreds outside the Vanni alone and UN special rapporteurs have been denied access to the country, ….. Even when investigations into these murders were halted and report into the completed six cases is denied to the public by the President CMAG doesn’t mention Sri Lanka at all !!

    Such is the power of international law to protect the oppressed.

    Sri Lanka opposes EPG’s recommendation to CHOGM to take human rights seriously.

    The President has spoken recently at UNSG to imply that Buddhism has nothing to do with human rights.

    Now it has the services of a few very very learned people.

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      When did Prof Richard Falk write of Mubarak- before or after the 18th amendment? queries Silva. Actually, last week, going by his weblog.

  • Sohan Fernando

    The governing coalition’s sweep of the local authorities election, the UNP’s successful resistance in a tough campaign in Colombo, as well as the TNA’s impressive performance at repeated elections in the North, make nonsense of the dark pronouncements and forebodings of dictatorship. (emph. mine).

    What’s really nonsense, is the logical flaw (albeit, perhaps subtle) in Dayan’s argument…

    … I mean, then is Dayan implying that if the UNP and TNA HADN’T had these successes, then that’d mean the forebodings WOULD be valid?

    Ha. Since a few non-UPFA entities managed to struggle and grasp a few victories this past year, therefore Dayan is assuming those victories prove the existence of a fine democracy…
    …..but I strongly suspect if the UNP and TNA HADN’T succeeded there and if UPFA won all over (as they almost have), then Dayan-style flawed logic would STILL insist on “proving” democracy: probably some flawed argument like “Hey see, this proves that everyone is thrilled with the UPFA’s democracy; proves that the ‘dark pronouncements and forebodings of dictatorship’ are still nonsense.”

    Seems to me that, no matter what the situation, people like Dayan try to grasp some half baked argument to “prove” that dictatorship (or similar) worries are nonsense.

  • Agnos

    “Thus, Mubarak can resemble Mahinda Rajapaksa and vice versa, only in the jaundiced eyes of demented Diaspora demagogues.”

    I didn’t know that Tisaranee Gunasekara is a “demented Diaspora demagogue” [Edited out.]

    • Dr Dayan jayatilleka

      Agnos, if your sources are factually so inaccurate, no wonder your conclusions and analyses are so bad. The lady in question was Ms Pulsara Liyanage, Senior Lecturer in Western Classical Culture at the University of Kelaniya, whom i was married to at the time.

      The ones who played the biggest part in saving me “from some Sinhalese thugs at Kobbekaduwa’s funeral” were some unknown persons who emerged from among the mob and formed a protective ring around me until I staggered out of the cemetary gates, and then when I was herded into a car which was about to be set on fire by the mob, an army officer came up, chased the crowd away and drove off with me (it was a car he had ‘liberated’ from Mannar) in it, to the hospital.

      • Al Neri

        I have been reading articles by Tisaranee Gunasekara for some time now. I tried to google ,but couldn’t come up with much information regarding her back ground.
        Hence someone in this forum/GV please enlighten me as to who this Tisaranee Gunasekara is
        Is she the same person who written articles for Silumina during Premadasa regime under the pen name of Shirani ,something or other

        Thanks

      • Hikz

        But he read it on THE INTERNETS

    • Ravana

      :D

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      One thing about any ladies of my acquaintence: none of them could ever be accused of being so abjectly cowardly as to hide their identities behind pseudonyms even in cyberspace, while expressing their opinions however strong and dissentient:))

    • Sarong Johnny

      Never mind him,Dayan

      He hardly deserves your attention.

      He belongs (or at least thinks he belongs) to a class that also includes a distinguished personality and a UNP MP who supposedly said during a closed gathering that Rajapaske regime prevails due to votes of “Amude wearing idiots”
      Need I say more

    • luxmy

      Agnos
      There are plenty of Sinhalese who have been criticising the government – Dayan is too jaundiced to see it. Some manage to be alive, some were murdered, some attacked, some disappeared, some fled the country.
      What about the retired diplomats who told LLRC all injustice the successive governments have been doing to the ethnic minorities?
      What about the reports by the international human rights organisations( AI, HRW, ICJ, IBA, ICG, MRGI, etc….)

      The President degrades himself:
      1. by refusing to publish reports by APRC and CoI
      2. http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers46/paper4558.html
      Sri Lanka: Indian Delegates go Home Empty Handed, Kumar David, 15 June 2011:“If I make any devolutionary concessions to the Tamils, 13A Plus, Minus, Divided or Subtracted, it will be curtains for me.”
      3. by denying the existence of Menik farm camps to foreign journalists
      (the youtube of which is in the comments of another article)
      4. by laying foundation stone for sports complex the day before elections in the North
      5…..
      ……..

  • luxmy

    Was there any period in the last 63 yrs that Tamils could not have been jaundiced by successive governments and the mobs and armed forces at their beck and call?

    http://www.groundviews.org/2010/10/17/an-allergy-to-analysis-and-historical-amnesia-in-sri-lanka/#comments
    Allergy to analysis and historical amnesia in Sri Lanka, Dayan Jayatilleka, 17 October 2010:
    ” … Dozens of Tamil youth were imprisoned under Emergency for years, for the crime of hoisting black flags against the promulgation of the ’72 Constitution. ….”

    http://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/docs/Sep2010/K%20Godage.pdf
    K.Godage(former Sri Lankan diplomat) addresses LLRC, 15 September 2010:
    ‘’….The Tamils have undergone, and are undergoing immense hardship. We need to reach out to them…. We have persistently discriminated against the Tamil people from 1956…. There is no reason for any one to be insecure, as a result of giving into the reasonable demands of the Tamil people. …. Now I must tell you of a very, very sad situation, particularly bad and dangerous situation. We have in our prisons over 2000 young Tamil men. Some of them have been taken on suspicion. Just picked up and taken. In detention without charges for years, Sir, for years ….’’

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Luxmy,

      Were you sober when you made the following statement?

      Quote …”Was there any period in the last 63 yrs that Tamils could not have been jaundiced by successive governments and the mobs and armed forces at their beck and call?”…. unquote

      For almost 200 years BEFORE 1948 Lanka’s Administration was DOMINATED by the Tamil Hindu Vellala Cast. This DOMINATION continued for at least 20 years after 1948. Those who were Jaundiced by the Vellala Tamils were not only Non Vellala Tamils but Sinhalese, Muslims and other communities as well. So neither your arithmetic nor your facts are up to the mark.

      Here is a case were the Vellala Tamils SUBJUGATED and robbed the right of OTHER Tamils to practice even their Hindu Religion and THAT is just the tip of the iceberg!!!

      Note the Date, It is 1971 and the Tamil Vellala, who treated even their own kind with utter inhumanity, Administered Lanka for nearly 225 years!!!

      Are you a Vellala?

      (http://www.lawnet.lk/docs/case_law/nlr/common/html/NLR74V457.htm)
      The case even went up to the Privy Council in the UK
      October 6, 1971. [Delivered by LORD WILBERFORCE]-
      The appellant, by special leave, appeals against his conviction of an offence under section 2 (read with section 3 (b)) of the Prevention of Social Disabilities Act 1957 in respect of which he was sentenced to a fine of Rs. 50. His appeal from the Magistrate’s Court of Mallakam to the Supreme Court was dismissed.
      The facts are that the appellant, a Hindu by religion, on 1st July 1968 prevented one Murugesu Sinniah, also a Hindu by religion but socially of a lower caste, from entering the inner courtyard of the Maviddapuram Temple for the purpose of worshipping.
      The appellant, who acted with the authority of the High Priest of the Temple, used no force: the Magistrate accepted his evidence that he excluded Sinniah in order to prevent bloodshed and held that his presence prevented an ugly situation erupting with violence. He found however that the appellant prevented Sinniah from entering the inner courtyard by reason of his caste : Sinniah belonged to the Palla caste which, as the Magistrate found, worshipped from outside, this being the religious usage and custom of the people of his caste.
      ……. the appeal was dismissed by the Privy Council.

  • luxmy

    http://www.jdslanka.org/2011/10/road-north.html

    What would, could and should the monstrous ”memorial” produce?
    Much more than jaundice.
    Sinhalese teachers, doctors, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists and counsellors should visit this and do something about this.

  • luxmy

    ”… the clear and almost complete correspondence between the electoral and the ethnic. …”:

    Jayantha Dhanapala’s written submission to Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission(LLRC), August 2010: ‘’The lessons we have to learn go back to the past – certainly from the time that we had responsibility for our own governance on 4 February 1948 . Each and every Government which held office from 1948 till the present bear culpability for the failure to achieve good governance, national unity and a framework of peace, stability and economic development in which all ethnic, religious and other groups could live in security and equality. Our inability to manage our own internal affairs has led to foreign intervention but more seriously has led to the taking of arms by a desperate group of our citizens’’

  • silva

    ”Sri Lanka’s is an unevenly divided democracy”:

    The Northeast began to be militarised from the time of 1961 satyagraha.

    People in the Northeast now live under military administration:

    Harim Peiris to LLRC, 7 October 2010:
    ”If General and Presidential Elections can be held in the North and the East it is impossible to argue that the Northern Provincial Council’s elections need to be delayed any further. However, I would also respectfully submit that the frustrations experienced by the elected Chief Minister of the Eastern Province – incidentally an ethnic Tamil, in relation to the unelected Governor – incidentally a retired Sinhala Military Officer should not be allowed to be repeated in the North, if devolution is to be meaningful, and indeed such issues should be resolved, in the East.”

  • silva

    contd…

    http://www.nation.lk/2011/02/20/newsfe5.htm
    Are Provincial Councils a White Elephant?
    ”Despite being armed with such executive powers, most Governors in carrying out their duties fall in line with the views of the Board of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister. As a result, clashes between them are reported to be minimal. However, Education Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council Wimalaweera Dissanayake complained that their Governor has become a stumbling block to the smooth functioning of the Provincial Ministries including his. He charged that the Governor did not allow him to recruit teachers or even transfer a teacher despite his being the Minister of Education. If he had no power even to affect the transfer of a sanitary labourer, what is the purpose of his being a Minister, he asked. A former military officer, the Governor is trying to run the Provincial Council too in the military style, the Provincial Minister alleged.
    Chief Secretary Western Provincial Council Lalith Kannangara, Opposition Leader Kithsiri Kahatapitiya and PC member Mahesh Almeida said that their Governor Alavi Mowlana, despite being a politician himself does not interfere in the administrative affairs of the Council. PC members and officials from the UVA PC also said that their Governor Nanda Mathew too was non-interfering.”

  • Neville Perera

    ”This is an unprecedented degree of identification, significantly surpassing the older congruencies between the SLFP and the rural, Sinhala-Buddhist vote. The UNP which once held most of that vote and later was a powerful contender for it, has now lost most of the Sinhala vote, rural and urban, Buddhist and Christian”:

    1.Many UNP MPs have been bought over by creating new ”ministries” (resulting in a Jumbo cabinet) – they are in name only(enjoying the financial benefits only) but the actual political power remain in the hands of the Rajapakses – with all ministries having a Presidential Unit.
    2.Threat of white vans
    3.High Impunity + absence of investigation into abduction, murder, torture, etc
    4.17th amendment was not adhered to
    5.enactment of eighteenth amendment
    6.erection of Buddha statues all over the country under every Bo tree – bo saplings are being planted.

    …..

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Going by the CPA’s survey on Postwar Democracy, these were not the salient reasons for the phenomenon.

  • Neville Perera

    ”My friend Milinda Moragoda probably failed because the governing coalition has been unable to cultivate a multiethnic image”.

    So it is up to the people to cultivate multiethnic character to give the multiethnic image to the leadership they elect according to:

    ”Indeed the leadership is hugely popular precisely because it reflects the strongly held and democratically expressed convictions of the vast mass of the country’s people”(http://groundviews.org/2011/09/11/marking-the-mahinda-moment-in-lankan-politics/)

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Contrary to PresiDunce Bean’s snigger, with critics like Neville, who needs friends? Don’t yuou guys get it? Its simple, really: 74% of the citizenry is Sinhala, and Ranil’s UNP has pretty much lost its Sinhala base, so the Govt doesn’t need to cultivate a multiethnic image to win elections nationally. 60% of the population of Colombo is not Sinhala, so if it is to win municipal elections there, it needed to do just that, as it needs to in the North. It has not, so it loses. Where it has strong minority parties as allies, it has the kavum and eats it eg Nuwara Eliya. What and where’s the contradiction in what I’ve said?

      • Stanobey

        Dr Jayatilleke,

        I have made a comment above but let me put those and similar thoughts in a different way and may be you might feel fit to respond:

        1. I am not sure that to say that the CMC victory is purely a result of voting on ethnic lines may not be accurate. I say this for the reason that:

        (a)The second highest to poll from the UPFA list was Azath Sally and that too not very far from Moragoda.

        (b) UNP won Borella and Colombo East as well – not particularly minority areas.

        2. That is just the CMC. How about the UPFA victory in Dehiwela – Mount Lavinia with a strong Muslim community. Also Kandy with Tamil and Muslim voter base?

        So may be there is more to this than mere voting on communal lines although I agree that the UNP has lost its Sinhala voter base. The question is why?

  • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

    @ Neville Perera

    With friends like this, who needs enemies? :D

  • Neville Perera

    ”The SLFP’s electoral advantage in a national election is likely to be durable, though not at such high levels, ….” ?

    1.To make sure it remains highly durable, the government has built massive housing schemes for the military in the North, dumping all 7,000 remaining IDPs in a ”village” formed by clearing a n interior jungle (http://groundviews.org/2011/10/03/re-displacement-of-menik-farm-inmates-to-kombavil-mullativu/), the army claiming many stretches of land in the North where the owners fear to return to the militarised peninsuls, ….

    2. Ambassador to France organising a multitude of meetings spreading venom among the members of Southern Hemisphere, …. (info gleaned from websites)

  • Stanobey

    Kadphises,

    For some reason the reply button does not appear in your post so I have to put this here and hopefully you will see it.

    1. You are right – Jeyaraj, MH Mohamed and more notably Fowzie were elected from predominantly Sinhalese electorates. In fact Fowzie took up the position that he was ‘not elected’ by Muslims.

    2. However to what extent were these politicians reflective of minority issues? To what extent did Jeyaraj represent ‘Tamil issues’ in Parliament or elsewhere and for that matter Fowzie and MH Mohamed too.

    3. The point remains that if you stand up for minority issues you are not going to get elected by a Sinhalese electorate.

    4. If you look at the politics of these individuals they have gone a long way towards portraying themselves as being as much a Sinhalese as a Tamil or Muslim can get.

  • justitia

    The UNP victory in Colombo ( CMC )is not the end of the story.
    What happened in parliament can very well happen in the CMC.
    UNPers will be enticed to cross over to the UPFA by offers of perks, political appointments, and even cash.
    UPFA had reportedly spent massive amounts in this election.
    A few more millions will achieve majority.
    After all, in sri lanka, every man – including present day politicians – has his price.
    Each UNPer will be offered what he cannot refuse.

  • Ward

    ”……. …… However severe a future economic crisis and however serious a future wave of street unrest, the factor of patriotism, nationalism or the collective perception of the Sinhalese of facing an existential threat, cannot be wished away, ……….”

    is a planet away from:

    ‘’…. If we are wise, we should first put our own house in order before we challenge the UN…. It is not yet too late to begin. The mission needs a powerful Presidential Task Force for National Reconciliation. Such a Force can cut the ground from under the feet of the ongoing controversy and many more to be expected.’’

  • James Angleton

    Dr Dayan

    I came across below link by a chance
    http://www.gossip9.com/2011/09/blog-post_20.html

    http://www.gossip9.com/2011/07/blog-post_01.html

    I see these guys are making some serious allegations.
    I don’t believe that a person like you would harbor prejudice articulated in this article.
    However lies when oft repeated can become reality for some ,especially powers that be.
    There may be factions within the government who want you out of the picture.
    So anyway I saw some comments to the effect there cannot be any smoke without a fire
    Just a friendly warning.

  • http://thefakeobserver thefakeobserver

    I am sad to learn Negombo is not for UNP anymore. Good old days of Denzel Fernando :) I do not like this preferential voting system at all.