Category Archives: electoral structures

“What Ails Sri Lanka?” — Daya de Silva’s Scathing Analysis

Jayadeva Hettiarachchi, in Sunday Times, 17 February 2018, where the title is “Genuine desire to find the truth about what ails our country.” .…. a review of Daya de Silva:  Pearl to a Tear Drop”

There couldn’t have been a more opportune time for me to read and review this book written by Daya de Silva: namely, that moment when Sri Lankan parliamentarians were vying for power, pushing and shoving, throwing chairs, chili powder and even attempting to stab their opponents.

CloseupFace

ISBN Number 978-955-30-8985-4

We humans have a deep association with our motherland even when we live in other parts of the world. A person born and bred in a given country can be separated from that country, but that country cannot be completely eradicated from that person’s mind as clearly seen in the sentiments expressed by the author of this book about her life in Sri Lanka.  As is always the case, foreigners/expatriates do perceive things quickly and more comprehensively than those who live in a country. Of course, the interest, passion and a genuine desire to find the truth beneath what appears on the surface has prompted Daya de Silva to write this book as I see it.

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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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Victor Ivan’s Populist Move for a People’s Constituent Assembly in Constitution-Making

Victor Ivan

At a meeting convened by the “Punarudaya Movement” which was attended by 46 people’s organisations on 19th January at Kobbekaduva Institution, Colombo, the topic of making a new constitution for the country was discussed at length reaching a consensus on as to how the proposed new constitution should be framed. The consensus reached and the points agreed upon at this meeting can be summarized as follows.

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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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Pathos. Comedy. Revelation. President Sirisena’s Sermon to a ‘Captive’ Cabinet

Michael Roberts

Having been forced to accept an UNP government by a Supreme Court decision in December 2018 after he had attempted to ditch them in a coup from above in late October, President Maithripala Sirisena utilised the opportunity provided by the swearing in of a new UNP Cabinet under Ranil Wickremasinghe on 16th December 2018 to deliver a sermon to a captive audience of ‘enemies’ who were, ironically, about to enjoy the fruits of victory and destined to assume state power.[1] Sirisena’s Address was delivered in Sinhala and is marked by pathos, recrimination and selective biographical tales from the past that illuminate aspects of Sri Lankan politics.

 

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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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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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