The SLJS communiqué says “The general election on the 17th August, and its aftermath has the potential to be the most troublesome, and possibly the most violent election in Sri Lanka’s history unless President Sirisena respects the mandate of the people”. Under combined American and Indian prodding, the main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has been pursuing the politics of power-sharing with the Sinhala elites in Colombo led by Sirisena and Wickremesinghe. Wickremesinghe laid out an ambitious development agenda in front of thousands of placard wielding, slogan shouting supporters in the heart of Colombo. To carry out his threat, Sirisena would have to be prepared to use the state apparatus, and potentially the security forces, against Rajapakse and his supporters. Experts say the election for prime minister is unlikely to follow a similar path, because President Sirisena is not taking part in the campaign.
On Monday, Sri Lankans will vote in parliamentary elections, ten months ahead of schedule. Chairman Sirisena is now purging the party of Rajapaksa loyalists and has said that, as Lankan President, he will not appoint Rajapaksa as Prime Minister. Sirisena’s letter reveals his frustration over his failure to prevent Rajapakse contesting the election. The frustration boiled over last year, when Sirisena split with Rajapaksa and went on to defeat him in a presidential vote.
The uncertainty since Sirisena’s win has affected perceptions of Sri Lanka. The BBC reports that new evidence has emerged which indicates Thajudeen was abducted by a vehicle linked to former President Rajapaksa’s wife.
Before Rajapaksa, none of his predecessors had stood for parliament polls after demitting the presidency.
Observers credited an overwhelming and enthusiastic voter turnout for January’s surprise leadership change, which saw Rajapaksa dumped from the presidency. This was done by the United National Party during the tenure of JR Jaywardene.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has assured that the country will regain the GSP plus trade concession from the European Union.
The government Information Department in a release yesterday said that President Maithripala Sirisena has approved the donation as an urgent humanitarian aid to the people of Myanmar and the Foreign Ministry Secretary has been ordered to hand over the donation to the Myanmar Ambassador in Sri Lanka. But with the election less than a week away, the odds are stacked against Rajapaksa’s return to the limelight.
Sri Lanka came in for strong criticism over its rights record under Rajapakse, who resisted UN calls to investigate allegations that over 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed in a 2009 military crackdown on separatist guerrillas.
In his campaign for a fourth term in office, he has pledged to overhaul Sri Lanka’s dismal human rights record and create a “brand new country in 60 months”. Rajapaksa and his brothers had been accused of corruption and crony capitalism and no one expected this scandal so soon after Sirisena took over and indirectly it did hit the image of the new government.