Category Archives: electoral structures

At the Heart of the Yahapaalanaya Alliance: Malinda’s Rapier

The burning political question of the day appears to be who and how many Parliamentarians received money from Perpetual Treasuries Ltd (PTL) for their respective election campaigns. In a political season marked by scandalous memory-loss some have claimed that they didn’t always know who was depositing money in their accounts. Meanwhile the full list of beneficiaries is proving to be elusive; first it was said that PTL had funded the campaigns of 116 politicians, later the number was upped to 166 and now it stands at 186.  

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Sri Lanka’s Political Swamp, Gotabhaya and the Viyath Maga Tamasha: A Critical Evaluation

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.

GR making Viyath Maga speech at Shangri La

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May 28, 2018 · 2:38 pm

How It Became. Documenting the Ceylon National Congress

Michael Roberts

   BU4A8624 (1) Haris de Silva

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?[1] Continue reading

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Tisaranee dissects the Current Populist Currents and their Chauvinist Underpinnings

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

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Goodness Gracious Me! Double Standards in UK and Here. There, Everywhere!

Shamindra Ferdinando,  in The Island, 9 May 2018, where the title is How UK manipulated RTI law to deny Lanka chance to counter war crimes allegations” …. with emphasis here being inserted by The Editor, Thuppahi

Having adopted the Freedom of Information Act, way back in 1970, Norway is now ranked 67 in the Global Right to Information Rating, maintained by the Center for Law and Democracy. Sri Lanka enacted the Right to Information Act, No. 12 of 2016, a year after the change of the war-winning Rajapaksa administration. The UNP, and a section of the civil society and media, campaigned for the right to information (RTI) law though they couldn’t convince the previous government to introduce the Right to Information Act. However, since the adoption of the right to information law, the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration has quickly reached third position in international rankings. The government and all those who had campaigned for RTI law consider it a key good governance administration’s achievement.

Ferdinando Lord Michael Naseby

Norwegian Ambassador Thorbjørn Gaustadsæther and Chairman, Sri Lanka Press Institute Kumar Nadesan at the inauguration of ‘Empowering Citizens with RTI’ on Tueaday (May 8) at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS). Norway funded the two-day conference. (pictures by Sujatha Jayaratne)

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Sri Lanka is Drowning in its Own Shit. Two Appraisals. Ajit and Elmo

Emphasis by highlighting in blue is the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

parliamentary kehel mal!

ONE: “The Perfect Storm” by Ajit Kanagasundram in Sunday Island, 15 April 2018

The optimism that accompanied the Yahapalana government in 2015 has evaporated. We simply seem to have exchanged the misguided and dictatorial regime of Rajapaksa for the misguided and weak government of Sirisena/Ranil. There is a confluence of factors – political, economic, financial, inter-ethnic relations and international that are converging and will cause a major crisis within two years. Continue reading

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Marasinghe’s Book on the Constitutional History of Sri Lanka

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.

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