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

Sri Lanka – Political Crisis

October 26, 2018

Sri Lanka – Political Crisis

Padmini Arhant

The latest development in the island nation on the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is unnecessary and could further exacerbate political and economic problems for the country.

The current President Maithripala Sirisena abrupt removal of democratically elected Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe over disagreements on economic reforms between the two entities is impulsive besides the action being unconstitutional and undemocratic that could have serious ramifications setting undesirable precedence through such reaction.

Furthermore, President Sirisena reinstating the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the most controversial political figure in the Indian Sub-Continent for his role in the civil war and gross human rights violations committed in the course of military assault on unarmed civilians i.e. Tamil citizens in Tamil Eelam and Jaffna leading to ethnic cleansing is reprehensible.

The former President Rajapaksa having lost the Presidency and parliamentary elections in 2015, the ex-President legacy marred with atrocities, war crimes, corruption not barring murder of political opponents were to be brought on trial by the present President Sirisena.

In fact, President Sirisena pledged to hold the former President Rajapaksa accountable in 2015. The hard line and iron fist ruler Rajapaksa who was also the military commander was directly involved in genocide of Tamil population during the 2009 operation. The recent turnaround of events with foes becoming friends viz. President Sirisena inviting his not long ago political opponent Rajapaksa subverts democratic system to suit individual political aspirations in Colombo.

Importantly, the constitutional amendment passed in 2015 removed the president’s power to fire or sack the prime minister. The decision to oust the incumbent Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe by the current President Maithripala Sirisena despite the elimination of Presidential power in this regard is clearly a constitutional breach that calls for resignation of the President Maithripala Sirisena.

The ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe headed United National Party and allies being the majority remain the ruling party.  Accordingly, the expulsion of the sitting Prime Minister Wickremesinghe by President Sirisena is illegal not to mention the replacement of the post with the political member Mahinda Rajapaksa facing several criminal charges both in the domestic and international front details the state of affairs and mass abuse of power in the Presidential level.

Sri Lanka having experienced civil war lasting over decades resulting in tremendous loss of lives on all sides and subsequently deep economic struggles combined with financial woes creating sale of Hambantota national port to China are substantial and deserves immediate resolutions. Amid these severe economic challenges, the bitter confrontations within political system endanger democracy in Sri Lanka.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe headed political party and allies elected to govern the nation are the legitimate power and the Presidential coup against the government is condemnable. As such the partisanship favoring the failed ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa is unsustainable.

The former President Mahinda Rajapaksa should be brought to justice for destruction of Sri Lanka in every respect and not empowered with the prime minister post.

Sri Lankan en masse together with legislative body and Judiciary rising to the occasion to restore democracy and upholding constitution is paramount to rescue the nation from wanton political crisis.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Author & Presenter