Category Archives: electoral structures

Momentous Changes in Ceylon instituted by the Donoughmore Commisison

Leelananda de Silva, in Sunday Times, 5 July 2020

The Donoughmore Commission which came to Sri Lanka in the late 1920s made far reaching and far seeing recommendations, which changed the political, economic and social landscape of Ceylon. The present generation is largely unaware of its role and it is time that they refresh their understanding of the tremendous changes brought in by Donoughmore.

The Earl of Donoughmore

It was a commission consisting of three Britons — the Earl of Donoughmore, Drummond Shields and Burrows. They were political personalities well known in Britain at the time and were not colonial civil servants. They had the political and social vision to overcome the objections of both the colonial masters in Sri Lanka and the local dominant political personalities who were also not in favour of radical reforms.

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Authoritarian Populism is the Danger Ahead

Ahilan Kadirgamar, in Daily Mirror, 6 July 2020, where the title runs “Regimes in Times of Crisis: Authoritarian Populism, Bonapartism and Fascism”

The crisis we face now is like a tectonic shift in the economy. Global production, the labour used for it, and the demand to realise it, are all in free fall. What will be the political consequences, and what kind of regimes will emerge out of such a deep crisis?
In Sri Lanka, as we approach a significant parliamentary election, my question is not about the character of the parties and the personalities of the candidates that may win or lose. The victory of the SLPP and its consolidation is a bygone fact; that battle was lost with the presidential election last November.

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Unusual Tales From Hampshire and Anuradhapura: Where Colour does not bar Popular Vote

Prabhath de Silva, in The Island, 25 June 2020, where the title reads “Lessons from Ranil Jayawardene and Herbert Freeman”


Mr. Ranil Jayawardene is Britain’s new Trade Minister. He is only 35 years old. His father is a Sinhalese who had migrated to the UK, and his mother an Indian. He was born and bred in England. He graduated from the London School of Economics in 2008. Seven years later, in 2015, he was elected to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament (MP) for North East Hampshire in May 2015 from a predominantly white electorate [80.5%] in which the non-white population is at 19.5%. The whites of North East Hampshire could rise above their ethnicity and colour to vote for a son of South Asian parents and give recognition to the policies he represented and his talents and skills. Hats off to the progressive British people! Congratulations to Mr. Ranil Jayawardene!

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Challenging Michael Roberts … with Straight Left and Right Hook

Gerald Peiris ... in the spirit of vigorous debate which we used to pursue in the Arts Faculty and the Ceylon Studies Seminar at Peradeniya University in the late 1960s and the 1970s, Gerry Peiris has responded with two sharply critical notes of some significance to my critical review of Sri Lankan society and politics, an essay that is directed by an optimistic eye …. Ha! Ha! … towards a major overhaul.

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Honeycombed with Societal and Political Fissures: Sri Lanka Now & Ever Before

Michael Roberts, reiterating the original draft sent to a few on 10 June 2020

Recent forum discussions on the topic of “Reconciliation” and correspondence with concerned friends have prompted me to essay an analysis of Sri Lanka’s societal problems over the last 150 years. This is a tendentious quest.

This Map showing districts served by Regional Malaria Officers happens to suit the metaphor “Riddled” and/or “Honeycombed” in my title

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Ceylon’s First General Election in 1947: Reflections … with An Eye on Today’s Situation

Gerald. H. Peiris, presenting here a more complete article than that featured in The Island of 16th June 2020 under the title A National Election in a ‘Time of Troubles’. ”

The phrase ‘Time of Troubles’ is borrowed from the title of a classic sociological study of 19th century ‘Ceylon’ by Professor Ralph Pieris (1952). Here it is intended to highlight the fact that, although the imperial sunset over our island has often been described as a “peaceful transfer of power”, it occurred at an extraordinarily stormy time – politically, economically and environmentally. The calamities that had plagued the country in the ‘Donoughmore era’ ̶  the pauperising impact of the ‘Great Depression’, Malaria Epidemic of the mid-1930s with about a million people (one-fifth of the population in 1931) infected and 60,000 deaths from November 1934 to April 1935 (Briercliffe & Dalrymple-Champneys, 1937), the acute food-scarcity during the Second World War  ̶  seemed to climax in the months leading up to the elections of 1947.

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Professor KM de Silva’s Publications

Born in 1931 — on 31st December no less — Kingsley Muthumuni de Silva, is still batting … with a pen. This compilation has been assembled by Iranga de Silva of ICES Kandy…. and is arranged in reverse chronological sequence.

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A Chilling and Terrifying Word-Picture of USA Today

David Kilcullen, in The Inquirer, 30 May 2020 and the Australian, 4 June 2020, with this title Home of the hateful, fearful, heavily armed” …..

Coronavirus is threatening to ignite a tinderbox of grievances in the US. The growing parallels with Iraq, Lebanon and Somalia are real and disturbing.

The rise of militias and armed protesters across the US is sometimes seen as a fringe right-wing issue, but it is much broader. Armed groups have formed across the political spectrum, worsening divisions the coronavirus has exposed in American society.

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Crisis? Imponderables Economic, Covid and Political in Sri Lanka Today

Jehan Perera,  in Island, 4 May 2020, with this title “President can decide without burdening the courts”

A study by the Economist magazine has shown that Sri Lanka is one of the countries least able to deal with the economic fallout of the coronavirus induced world economic crisis. Out of 66 countries assessed, Sri Lanka came 61st in terms of its ability to handle the crisis without being economically debilitated and fared much worse than its South Asian neighbours. Bangladesh at 9th place, India at 18th and Pakistan at 43rd place all fared better than Sri Lanka. The human cost of the crisis is visible in media images of thousands of angry young workers from around the country stranded in the vicinity of the Katunayake free trade zone, many of them abandoned by their factory employers, unable to get back to their home villages due to the coronavirus travel restrictions.

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John Richardson’s Case Study of Protracted Conflict in 2005

David Sallach, reviewing John Richardson: Paradise Poisoned: Learning about Conflict, Terrorism and Development from Sri Lanka’s Civil Wars. Kandy: International Center for Ethnic Studies, 2005. xvi + 764 pp. $25.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-955-580-094-5…. way back in 2007 …. https://networks.h-net.org/node/3180/reviews/6309/sallach-richardson-paradise-poisoned-learning-about-conflict-terrorism

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