POLITICS

Political Pugilism: Feints And Uppercuts

Politics
Vishvanath
Both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe went overseas the other day, leaving a mega political issue unresolved at home. Their attitude to the serious problems the country is faced with can be considered cavalier. Their political differences which have spilled over into Parliament have rendered the Cabinet inoperative. The President has refused to summon Cabinet meetings in protest against the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on Easter attacks. His call for suspending the PSC on the grounds that the summoning of top military ...Continued

What’s Up Sirisena’s Sleeve?

Politics
Vishvanath
A president at the tail end of his or her term without much hope of being re-elected usually gets written off as a spent force in politics. But President Maithripala Sirisena has been a notable exception. He has been able to retain his grip on power to a considerable extent and hold his opponents at bay. The UNP may not have bargained for this kind of situation when it fielded him as the Common Candidate of the Opposition and threw in its lot with him. ...Continued

Political Shock Waves Of Easter Blasts

Politics
Vishvanath
One of the main allegations the leaders of the Rajapaksa dispensation levelled against their political enemies in the present administration was that the latter would endanger national security and the country would be plagued with terrorism again. They may have expected the LTTE to raise its head again and wreak havoc, but terror attacks came from the least expected quarters. But the government stands accused of having compromised national security and failed to prevent terror strikes. The government finds itself in an unenviable position. The ...Continued

Back To Blasts

Politics
Vishvanath
Forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes. But this is not true of Sri Lanka, where a group of terrorists carried out suicide attacks in churches and hotels, on 21 April, snuffing out more than 250 lives and injuring about 500 others. That the government had received an intelligence warning days ahead of the Easter Sunday attacks, but no action was taken to protect the public is now only too well known. Minister Harin Fernando admitted in the immediate aftermath of the attacks that he ...Continued

Gota Returns, But His Problems Remain

Politics
Vishvanath
The National Election Commission (NEC), which is under fire for the inordinate delay in conducting the Provincial Council (PC) elections, has made a last ditch attempt to bring pressure to bear on the government leaders to clear the legal barriers in its path. It has written to President Maithripala Sirisena, urging him to call for the report that a five-member committee, tasked with reviewing the National Delimitation Committee (NDRC) report, which was rejected by Parliament, last year, and gazette it without further delay. The NEC, ...Continued

End of SLPP-SLFP Honeymoon and TNA’s Elephantine Dilemma

Politics
Vishvanath
President Maithripala Sirisena and his immediate predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa are busy ruining things for themselves, in politics, albeit unknowingly. Their parties, the SLFP and the SLPP, are set to pit themselves against each other, at the next presidential election. They are already on a collision course. The Rajapaksa family wants one of its members to run for President, and Gotabaya has already thrown his hat into the ring. It is a case of Hobson’s choice for other family members. President Sirisena has been conducting his ...Continued

SLPP’s Woes, UNP’s Ploy And Geneva Volte-face

Politics
Vishvanath
The SLPP has failed to maintain the momentum it gained, early last year, when it scored a stunning win at the local government polls. Its spectacular electoral performance sent shockwaves through the government so much so that President Maithripala Sirisena opted for a honeymoon with it in a bid to arrest the erosion of the SLFP’s vote bank. The abortive power grab in October last year, the subsequent developments and the deplorable conduct of some Joint Opposition (JO) MPs in Parliament, where they fought a ...Continued

Govt.’s Election Budget And Gota’s Pincer Movement

Politics
Vishvanath (08/03/2019)
Never a dull moment in Sri Lanka! In a dramatic turn of events replete with irony, National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader Wimal Weerawansa has threatened to break ranks with Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa if the latter supports the JVP’s move to abolish the executive presidency. Weerawansa left the JVP and threw in his lot with President Rajapaksa during the war; the JVP and Rajapaksa, whose downfall it helped the UNP-led alliance engineer, are today on the same page much to the consternation Weerawansa, where the ...Continued

Now, Mahinda Wants Executive Presidency Abolished

Politics
Vishvanath (22/02/2019)
The bane of this country has been its preoccupation with partisan politics. The state of the economy and the Sena pest, which has eaten into the vitals of the rural economy, are now forgotten, to all intents and purposes. Everybody is talking about the next presidential election, which is about nine months away. The long overdue provincial council elections have also got eclipsed. Move to abolish the executive presidency Opposition Leader and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa finds himself in a tight spot. The Sri Lanka ...Continued

National Government And Other Wedge Issues

Politics
Vishvanath
The government said on Wednesday that it would present a motion to Parliament that day for forming a national government. The Opposition let out a howl of protest. The motion was not submitted as stated. The government apparently got cold feet. However, its plan is far from abandoned. There is no way the UNF can form a national government in the constitutionally prescribed manner without securing the support of at least two parties represented in Parliament. The Constitution has clearly defined the national government: ‘National ...Continued

Battle Lines Drawn, Big Guns Primed

Politics
Vishvanath
Promises are said to be like babies—easy to make but hard to deliver. This adage may explain the government’s predicament as regards the constitution-making process, which it has had to accelerate, at the behest of the TNA. It is also under pressure to let the TNA have a say in the development drive to be launched in the North and the East, according to media reports. The TNA is making the most of the UNF administration’s dependence on it for survival. The government is on ...Continued

TNA’s Pound Of Flesh, UNP’s Woes And UPFA’s Dilemma

Politics
Vishvanath
The UNP finds itself between the devil and the deep blue sea. It is dependent on the TNA to control Parliament, where it lacks a working majority, and fulfilling the TNA’s conditions is likely to cost it dear in terms of votes in the southern electorate. The TNA’s attempt to retain the post of the Opposition Leader, while propping up the government, has failed; the Speaker has reiterated his position that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is the Opposition Leader. Having enabled the UNP to regain ...Continued
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