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Who Guards the Guards? – The Need to Move Swiftly on Removing the ER/PTA from the Sri Lankan Constitution

A year after the defeat of the LTTE the Sri Lankan government announced that it will be relaxing some of the Emergency Regulations (ER) that have been in place during the conflict. This is a welcome move by the government. However, there are signals from the government that the ER and the Prevention of Terrorism […]

After the Elections: Demilitarize Development for Sustainable Peace

“Counter-terrorism is terrorism’s best ally.” –Joseba Zulaika in “Terrorism: The Self-Fulfilling Prophesy” (2009) On April 12, 2010 the majority of citizens of the island’s two main linguistic communities celebrated the “Sinhala and Tamil New Year” and the categorical end of war and terrorism with considerable optimism, despite lack of a clear political solution to the […]

Jaffna after the war: Observations by a visitor

Large crowds rush to Jaffna every day. Some of them have never been there before. The 30 years war is over and thanks to president Rajapakse, (General Fonseka is already forgotten), they are now at last free to visit those territories the Tigers once claimed as theirs. They are eager to visit the many places […]

The legacy of Chanaka Amaratunga and the future of liberalism in Sri Lanka

Download a PDF of this special edition here. The 19th of April was the 52nd birthday of  Dr. Chanaka Amaratunga, the founder of the Liberal Party of Sri Lanka. Groundviews invited leading political commentators to contribute to a special edition commemorating Chanaka’s role in politics and the liberal movement in Sri Lanka. Essays in this series included: Remembering […]

Revisiting the JVP: Will They Repeat Their Past?

It has been 39 years since the JVP’s armed insurrection. It was brutally suppressed and their ambitious project to light a revolutionary flame in Sri Lanka ended in a political and military disaster. But the JVP was not vanquished and its leader Rohana Wijeweera (RW) reorganized it. They launched their second military project during 1987-89 […]

THE OPPOSITION IN SRI LANKA: RESTORE VIABILITY, RESOLVE CRISIS

What prevents the ruling coalition from unveiling a new ‘first past the post’ electoral system and going for a mid–term parliamentary election?  Judging by current trends and data of a decade, the UNP, if it remains under Ranil Wickremesinghe, would be overrun and crushed to a pulp, not even reaching double digits in terms of […]

In conversation with Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu is the Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives. I begin this interview with a pointed question, asking Dr. Saravanamuttu to flag anything the government has done well since it assumed power in 2005, in the domains of governance and human rights. I go on to ask Dr. Saravanamuttu why it […]

A Liberal Dilemma

‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ was the lead slogan of the French Revolution which has been an inspiration to many movements around the globe.  Many political initiatives have claimed to be based on Liberty and/or Equality. Several national constitutions and UN and other international agreements have upheld both Liberty and Equality as their guiding principles. The question […]

The Psychological Impact of Political Violence in Sri Lanka

Of all the tasks of government, the most basic is to protect its citizens from violence – John Foster Dulles Commonly violence is defined as  the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community that either results in or has a high likelihood […]

TWO CONCEPTS OF THE CONSTITUTION: AN ESSAY IN MEMORY OF CHANAKA AMARATUNGA

19th April marks the 52nd birthday of the late Chanaka Amaratunga, the former leader of Sri Lanka’s Liberal Party, quondam Vice President of Liberal International, one of our foremost public intellectuals, and distinguished Old Thomian. I met Chanaka only on a handful of occasions, but they were all memorable mini-tutorials in the theory and practice […]

Remembering Chanaka

The idea of liberalism in Sri Lankan politics is intimately associated with the life and writings of the leader and founder of the Liberal Party, Dr Chanaka Amaratunga.  He passionately believed in the liberal idea, hoped fervently that it would inspire the body politic and be integrated into it and the political culture of Sri Lanka.  […]