Sri Lanka – Political Violence Escalating Crisis

October 28, 2018

Sri Lanka – Political Violence Escalating Crisis

Padmini Arhant

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena actions beginning with removal of democratically elected Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and withdrawal of his security as well as privileges normally granted to any Prime Minister is acrimonious. Even worse is shutting down Parliament confirming gross misuse of authority and Presidential power.

President Sirisena and his appointee Mahinda Rajapaksa are subverting democracy and rejecting constitution to prove their resolve for personal agenda against national interest. The recent violence with one civilian casualty and several injured from President Sirisena orchestrated siege is reprehensible.

President Sirisena’s lack of respect for democratic values and procedure demonstrated in suspending Parliament without informing or consulting with Parliament Speaker, Karu Jayasuriya – a neutral entity presiding over Parliamentary functions is again a constitutional breach and utter disregard for electoral mandated Parliament assembly.

President Sirisena instructed mob surrounding the Petroleum Ministry premise and besiege of Petroleum Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, the cabinet member has prompted violence resulting in the preventable civilian death for which President Sirisena is responsible.

These latest developments from President Sirisena is a desperate strategy to install the controversial and most unpopular former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who do not have any political legitimacy to form a government.

In escalating rather than defusing tensions, President Maithripala Sirisena has jeopardized his own status disqualifying him to remain in his position as the authority to order any rule against elected members representing the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s cabinet or political party.

As such the illegal and unconstitutional dismissal of active ruling party chief Ranil Wickremesinghe by President Sirisena proved systemic abuse of Presidential discretion plunging the nation into unnecessary political turmoil.

Parliament session must be allowed immediately enabling the legislative body for confidence vote to establish majority rule leadership to govern the nation without any more incidents of undemocratic and violent means to obstruct this fundamental democratic process. President Sirisena has crossed limits and proceeding towards illegitimate appointment of ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa facing numerous criminal charges and human rights violations besides inflicting severe economic damages on the island nation is a coup against Sri Lankan population and democracy.

Under these circumstances and at all times, national unity across the spectrum denouncing such decisions from political entities at the helm viz. President Sirisena and his once political opponent turned preferred appointee Mahinda Rajapaksa is critical to safeguard democracy and constitutional law.

Sri Lankan citizens across the island have endured immense suffering from decades of civil war and series of crises related to political chaos such as the ongoing event and natural disasters restraining economic and social progress urgently required to stabilize the nation.

Neither President Sirisena nor his appointee Mahinda Rajapaksa appear to be concerned about consequences from the unprecedented and abrupt actions exacerbating political and economic conditions in their country.

Furthermore, the ex-President and military commander Mahinda Rajapaksa seeking blessings from Buddhist temple monks and priests in the hope of gaining positive outcome favoring the negative and untoward situation is futile as divine interventions irrefutably deliver peaceful resolutions extending support to non-violent, democratic and just cause not otherwise to suit ill-fated aspirations.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has subject himself to trial in subjugating constitution and undermining democracy.  The current problem needs to be addressed in reversing course with resumption of Parliament and conducting affairs to determine legitimate leadership and governing body.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe headed United National Party (UNP) and any coalition would be the ruling party considering majority representation in Parliament and any changes to this effect is to be brought in a democratic manner in Parliament or in the next free and fair election.

Sri Lankan citizenry, defense force, government institutions and judiciary solidarity to protect sanctity and integrity of democratic rule is crucial to avert President Maithripala Sirisena and his appointee Mahinda Rajapaksa created political upheaval.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Author & Presenter


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