Category Archives: constitutional amendments

Universal Suffrage in Ceylon and Lanka from 1931-81

Kingsley M de Silva’s edited collection of articles on Universal Suffrage … has been  a neglected work . As Sri Lanka struggles today and as many cast reviews on the island’s history perhaps this event in 1831 and its repercussions should receive more incisive attention from analysts. Apart from KM de Silva himself, the authors include RA Ariayaratne, CR De Silva, Tilaka Metthananda, Vijaya Samaraweera, SWR de Samarasinghe, Neelan Tiruchelvam and AJ Wilson …. by and large a Peradeniya University consortium.

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No Surprises with Sirisena. Challenging Mike Roberts

An Introductory Note from Michael Roberts

 Gerald Peiris and I were undergraduates at Ramanathan Hall Peradeniya in the late 1950s and met on occasions when we were pursuing postgrad studies in UK and I visited Cambridge. Thereafter we were colleagues in the Arts Faculty at Peradeniya University from 1966 to 1975. Quite vitally, we were active members of the Ceylon Studies Seminar. During those seminars and at times in private tête-à-tête over drinks the two of us occasionally engaged in discussions, sometimes with sharp disagreements on specific issues.

 

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A Rajapaksa Cloud looming over Lanka’s Democracy

Sam Samarasinghe aka SWR de A Samarasinghe of Tulane University, in Sunday Observer, 27 January 2019, where the title isGotabaya’s alternative vision challenges Sri Lanka’s democracy” …. with highlighting emphases in different colurs imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

Gotabaya Rajapaksa recently announced at a meeting of Viyath Maga, of which he is president that he was ready to contest the next Presidential Election that must be held this year.In his speech to the assembled professionals and business people he asserted that Sri Lanka must have national unity (jaathikathwaya) and rejected sectarian division (jaathiwaadaya). The Viyath Maga website makes all the right statements on good governance such as “steer the country in the correct path with accountability; inculcate democratic values…”, and so on. Rajapaksa also stressed the importance of solving ‘social problems’ focusing on poverty reduction. All of the above are desirable political goals for the country. They are also not new. The UNF in 2015, and earlier leaders, made similar promises that were largely ignored once in office.

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How Washington nurtured Maithripala Sirisena in 2013-15 to serve Its Ends

Daya Gamage of USA [i]with highlighting emphasis being the work of The  Editor, Thuppahi

As you have noted in your email[ii] that Chandrika and Ven. Sobhitha[iii] were instrumental in identifying and cultivating Maithripala Sirisena to take the field against Rajapaksa at the 2015 Presidential Election, let me emphasize that Washington also had a firm covert hand in the selection.

Way back in 2013 Washington identified Sirisena as a possible candidate against Mahinda Rajapaksa. The first step was when, as Rajapaksa’s Health Minister, Sirisena received the Harvard Health Leadership Award 2013 from Harvard University Dean Dr. Julio Frenk and Harvard Professor (International Affairs) William Clark for minimizing the consumption of alcohol and smoking and adopting a National Drug Policy in Sri Lanka.

Health Minister Maitripala Sirisena receiving Harvard Leadership Award 2013 From Harvard University Dean Dr. Julio Frenk and Harvard Professor International Affairs William Clark

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The Political Struggle in Sri Lanka: Three Pugilists … Hattotuwa … Chandraprema … Philips

ONE. Sanjana Hattotuwa:  “Musical Chairs,” Island, 12 January 2019

The appointment of a new Army Chief of Staff. A fresh denial around the use of chemical weapons. The denunciation of a civil society protest against mainstream media supportive of the constitutional coup, not by members of the SLPP, but by those in the UNP and government. A photograph of a former President, the incumbent and the Prime Minister, comfortably seated next to each other, enjoying or at least at a musical show. Newspaper headlines and reports framing dire warnings by the former President, who true to form, relies on the capture of emotions over fact or principle. In just the second week of January, we are presented with the template for what the year ahead holds. It is not looking good, but despite the obvious anxiety, I continue to maintain, is counter-intuitively rather beneficial. The greatest contribution of the constitutional coup to conversations around the grasp of Sri Lanka’s democratic potential was to place in the open and very clearly, who stood for what and where. This endures.

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Lakshman Gunasekara’s Reflections on the Political Turmoil in Late 2018: Three Essays

Lakshman Gunasekera

ONE. Lakshman Gunasekara: “Politics vs Constitutionalism,” in Horizons, 9 December 2018 …

When the Bandaranaike International Memorial Conference Hall (BMICH, what a mouthful) began hosting conferences in those old-fashioned 1970s, we, the ordinary citizens hadn’t a hope of freely strolling into its premises (let alone its halls). One needed a conference invitation to enter the gates and some ‘delegate’ or ‘media’ tag to enter the main hall or ‘committee rooms’ (as they were quaintly termed then). Today, in our lower-middle-income country comfort zone, people are constantly streaming in and out of the BMICH, for weddings, exhibitions, conferences, convocations, concerts and seminars, all at the same time (and I am sure there is romance in those verdant gardens).    Continue reading

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Constitutional Amendments are Vital for Sri Lanka

Neville Ladduwahetty, in Island, January 2019, with title “The Need To Revisit the 19th Amendment”

Recent political developments have brought into sharp focus the need to revisit the 19th Amendment (19A) despite the unanimous approval it had received in Parliament in May 2015, with the notable exception of one brave Naval Officer Rear Admiral MP Sarath Weerasekara. The primary aim of the 19A was to transfer power from an Executive President to a Prime Minister and a Cabinet of Ministers. The first attempt to indulge in such an exercise was in 2002. Having failed in 2002 a fresh attempt was made in 2015. The 2015 attempt succeeded subject to the Supreme Court determining that some named provisions required approval of the people at a Referendum. Notwithstanding this judicial intervention the fact that certain provisions that should have received the attention it deserved escaped attention makes it necessary to revisit 19A in order to address at least some of the omissions that matter for the sake of clarity.

 

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