Category Archives: electoral structures
Rajan Philips, in The Island, 26 May 2018, where the title is “The Shangri La tamasha: Neither presidential nor parliamentary, it’s Port City politics now
After a week in Cuba, I am late in gate-crashing the Shangri La party, the onset of the newest political tamasha in town. Calling it a tamasha is not to belittle the political potency of the event, but to highlight its ideational bankruptcy. No one took Donald Trump seriously when he slid down his gilded Trump Tower escalator, in January 2016, and announced his candidacy to become President of the United States of America. Look where he landed before the year was over and where he is dragging by its nose the world’s so called sole superpower. The Sri Lankan contrast is glaring.
The four volume Documents of the Ceylon National Congress produced by the Department of National Archives in 1977 runs into 3208 pages. In keeping with bureaucratic rigidity, the four volumes are still sold at some Rs 250. The give-away price has not enabled it to reach the public. The treasure trove of documentary data within these four volumes – encompassing LSSP and Communist Party meetings in their early days — remain unknown and unseen. How many scholars, let alone armchair historians, know that FC “Derek” de Saram, Oxford Blue and Ceylonese cricketer of note, was among the ginger group (identified as “Young Turks” by me as the editor of the documents) who attempted to rejuvenate the CNC in 1938/39 by converting it into a party that could contest elections? Continue reading
Tisaranee Gunasekara in The Sri Lanka Guardian where the title runs thus: “Blood-and-Faith Populism and Sri Lanka’s Future””
“As the great reformers of the 19th century well knew, the Social Question, if left unaddressed, does not just wither away. It goes instead in search of more radical answers.””……Tony Judt (Reappraisals)
This month, the populist wave suffered two critical defeats. In France outsider-candidate Emmanuel Macron beat Marine Le Pen. In Iran, reformist president Hassan Rouhani trounced Ebrahim Raisi, a religious hardliner backed by Supreme Leader Khameni and the Revolutionary Guard. These defeats come in the wake of other electoral setbacks for populists, especially in Austria and The Netherlands. Despite these welcome-defeats, the current wave of populism is far from spent – and would continue wreak havoc, until the forces of moderation manage to create a new synthesis between pluralist democracy and progressive economics.
Populism is hardly a new phenomenon. It flourishes best where there is economic loss and pain. Populist leaders succeed in their power-grabs by harnessing that economic pain to their political projects. Continue reading
Leelananda De Silva, courtesy of Sunday Island, 24 March 2018, where the title runs “Are We Heading Towards Constitutional Anarchy? The Evolution of Constitutional Governance in Sri Lanka (Revised Second Edition)”
n the 1950s in Ceylon, there was the university entrance examination, conducted by the University of Ceylon annually, to select students for entry to that university. There were no G.C.E. A-Levels then. One of the subjects for this examination was called Government. Those who sat for this subject read the Constitution of Ceylon by Ivor Jennings. Jennings was the author of the Sri Lankan Constitution of 1948, and it was first hand analysis of the constitutional provisions of 1948. Jennings was one of the foremost constitutional lawyers in England and he had published the authoritative “Cabinet Government” some years before and also a more popular book called the British Constitution and another called The Law and the Constitution. Undergraduates of that time were fortunate in reading these authoritative tomes by a leading constitutional scholar. Since 1948, there has been little scholarly writings on constitutional developments in Ceylon, especially on the politics behind constitutional changes.