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SECURING THE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN THE NEW SRI LANKA: ESSENTIAL INSTITUTIONAL REFORMS

Cartoon by Awantha Artigala via Sri Lanka 16 days Chapter 11 of the common opposition candidate’s presidential election manifesto is devoted to media freedom. Among other things, it includes simple commitments such as lifting the bans on news websites run from abroad. Such infantile measures were typical of the tin-pot – and ultimately self-defeating – […]

Maithri’s Mandela Moment: An open letter to the President

Dear Mr President, Please accept my good wishes on your election victory on a platform for good governance, justice and fairness. During the past few weeks, we watched – first in astonishment, and then with mounting hope – how you set out as the underdog yet resolutely worked towards election victory. Your short and swift […]

‘The Jewel of the East yet has its Flaws’ – The Deceptive Tranquillity surrounding Sri Lankan Independence

Image courtesy Sumith Wickramasinghe. For a wider examination of the issues covered in this article see my recently published book A Political Legacy of the British Empire – Power and the Parliamentary System in Post Colonial India and Sri Lanka, London: I. B. Tauris, 2013 Prologue The just concluded presidential election saw the election of […]

Presidential polls 2015: An electoral trial on biased fortunetelling

AFP PHOTO STR/AFP/Getty Images via The Guardian I don’t know much about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reliance on astrology, despite India being a land full of astrologers­ – those with credibility and those of dubious repute – with millions of followers. But in the recent years, Sri Lanka put superstitious India to shame. We […]

Wenasak: A Post-Election Reflection

AFP PHOTO/ Ishara S.KODIKARA via Japan Times Yesterday’s energy Sri Lanka is still overwhelmed with the peoples’ energy that a few days ago brought the immeasurable gift of democratic regime change. As the campaign heightened, one word; “ wenasak”- (Sinhala-“a change”) became a spontaneous and variable slogan or code, determined by the context in which […]

The servant and the king

Photo courtesy TVNZ 15 January 2015. Mahinda Rajapaksa is not the president of Sri Lanka. I pinch myself. I have been doing so for the last six days. He still is not. He was democratically voted out of power a week ago. One person was killed, many were attacked, state resources were abused massively. The […]

Bringing the Debate Back Home

Image via Maithripala.com We extend our sincere congratulations to President Maithripala Sirisena. After a decade of the Rajapaksas, Sri Lankans have decided to make a change. And we’re happy that, in spite of Rajapaksa’s egregious abuse of state resources in the run-up to the vote, voting day was a relatively clean, fair affair. Having said […]

Racist Tom-Toms and Electoral Statistics

Photo via Japan Times, AP Photo/Sanka Gayashan “We must remember they got their majority vote from Eelam…” Mahinda Rajapaksa[i] During election season, the UPFA tried to win enough Sinhala votes by inciting minority phobia – and failed. Post-defeat, what the severely-truncated UPFA continues to beat this racist tom-tom, in the hope of making a quick comeback. Ex-president […]

WHAT DO WE DO WITH MOHAN PEIRIS?

Photo courtesy Asian Tribune Among the countless blows struck by the Rajapaksa regime against the Rule of Law over the last decade, perhaps the most egregious was the illegal impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake and her replacement with a lackey of the Brotherhood known as Mohan Peiris. His behaviour in office in the last […]

A Victory Not Just by the Minorities

AFP PHOTO / ISHARA S. KODIKARA, via Japan Times Images have been making the rounds on facebook, with various hues and shades, highlighting the fact that the sixth executive President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, won with the support of minority communities in Sri Lanka, whereas Mahinda Rajapakse, the last President obtained the votes of […]

Taking Stock: Presidential Election 2015

AP Photo/Sujeewa Kumar via The Guardian By far the most important issue for the constituents of Sri Lanka at the last week’s presidential election was about opening a pathway for the formation of good governance. However, simply electing a new president does not create good governance. A president and his/her government should allow, nurture and […]

Pride with a difference

Photo courtesy Maithripala Sirisena Facebook page There are times in one’s life when one becomes very proud of one’s country. For many it is when we win in cricket or in war. This is triumphant pride where we defeat someone else- an external sports team or an internal enemy. For this kind of pride we […]

Was #PresPollSL 2015 Sri Lanka’s first Cyber Election?

On the night of 8 January 2015, shortly after voting ended in Sri Lanka’s seventh presidential election, the streets of Colombo and suburbs were unusually calm. There was no curfew, but people stayed indoors and watched results unfold on television. In contrast, the country’s social media was on fire. On Facebook, Twitter, popular blogs and […]

Delicate Balancing Act for the New President

Photo via Sky News Normally, a newly elected President has a honeymoon period within which he/she has some breathing space after a hectic election campaign conducted under extremely stressful and challenging circumstances. It appears that the newly elected President Sirisena does not have even this privilege as he has to spring into action immediately on […]