A ‘strong leader’ in SL

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/10/2020 1:44:12 PM IST

 Sri Lanka voted overwhelmingly for the Sri Lanka People’s Front(SLPP) which won 145 seats and together with allies won 150 seats or 2/3rd of the nation’s 225-member parliament after last weeks election. The mandate for the SLPF is also a mandate for the party’s two brothers –prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his younger brother Gotabaya, who was elected president in November last year. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s landslide victory comes at a time when Sri Lanka has become strategically important for India, China and even US, Japan and Australia. The biggest casualty from the election outcome was Sri Lanka’s grand old party- the United National Party (UNP) of former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe- which managed to win only one seat. The Sri Lankans have dealt a devastating blow on the western liberals especially the UNP and a big boost for a “strong” government headed by the Rajapaksa brothers. When the liberal-oriented UNP came to power in 2015, it promised democratic revival, promoting peace and reconciliation among the Tamil minorities and Sinhalese and establishing corruption-free governance. The leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe proved ineffective and also rife with alleged corruption. Worse, the UNP was also accused of surrendering Sri Lankan sovereignty by co-sponsoring a resolution at the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that committed the country to account for “war crimes” allegedly committed by its armed forces in the final phase of the war in 2009 to eliminate the terror group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The resolution would involve setting up war crimes tribunals in Sri Lanka where foreign judges would sit in judgement. The surrender to UNHRC and the West was seen by the Sinhala Buddhist majority in particular, as an affront to their cultural identity. The SLPP was able to exploit the sentiments of the majority Sinhalese including even some Tamil minority voters who wanted the past behind them. However, the western media and its human rights groups have already started to brand the SLPP election win as a nationalist vote for authoritarian government backed by the military – as President Gotabaya as defence secretary was instrumental in conducting the successful war against the LTTE. The liberals backed by Western-funded NGOs, nurtured with the views of the English-speaking and Westernised elite of the country, will now have to realise that they have missed the pulse of the people. The UNHRC and human rights lobbies were a stumbling block on Tamil minorities in Sri Lanka, who wanted to let bury the bitter and violent past under LTTE behind so had voted for SLPP. The ninth Parliament of Sri Lanka will not only see the siblings helm the country’s two most powerful offices, but will have among its members, their third and elder brother Chamal Rajapaksa, a former Speaker, his son Shasheendra Rajapaksa and Namal Rajapaksa, son of Mahinda Rajapaksa and a popular former MP from the southern Hambantota district. Thus, the landslide win is also in some way, a mandate for the Rajapaksas to deliver and India with another ‘strong leader’ will also be keen to see if the SLPP will veer away from China and maintain equidistance with its neighbours.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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