POLITICS

UNP’s Conflict Reaches Celestial Heights

Politics
Vishvanath
The country is poised on the threshold of a crucial phase in national politics, which is history in the making. The next presidential election is drawing near, and there is no way anyone can put it off. The National Election Commission will have to get ready for the grand contest, come Oct. 08; the election is likely to be held in early December. The party that secures the executive presidency will most probably be able to win both the parliamentary and Provincial Council elections, and ...Continued

Prez And PM In Cul-De-Sac

Politics
Vishvanath
The Jumbo party has finally decided to grapple with the elephant in the room. There are at least three presidential hopefuls within the UNP’s ranks including its leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. Ranil has not said anything officially about his desire to contest the presidential election though his loyalists insist that he is the party’s choice. The failed October constitutional coup may have a unifying effect on the UNP, but its unity seems to have dissipated. ...Continued

Has Sirisena Let The Genie Out Of The Bottle?

Politics
Vishvanath
The UNP has not decided on its presidential candidate yet though speculation is rife in political circles that it will be Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in keeping with the Sri Lankan tradition. Serving Prime Ministers have always contested presidential election in this country. UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya are also grooming themselves. Sajith makes no bones about his desire to run for President. Speaking at a ceremony to mark the launch of Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s biography, Khema’s Boy, in Matara, ...Continued

President Sirisena’s Latest Volte-Face And Presidential Hopefuls

Politics
Vishvanath
Policies of the yahapalana government with President Maithripala Sirisena at the helm lack consistency, just like the performance of Sri Lanka’s national cricket team. It came to power, promising a crusade against bribery and corruption and abuse of power among other things. But, today, it is tainted and unpopular thanks to the Treasury bond scams and various corrupt deals such as the importation of sick milch cows from Australia. It undertook to liberate the country from the clutches of China, which it accused of having ...Continued

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

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