Sri Lanka election: Mahinda Rajapaksa’s loss is a boon for India
Posted on January 11th, 2015

By , New Delhi Courtesy The Telegraph (UK)

Tamil vote fuelled Maithripala Sirisena to victory despite his pledge to shield the Rajapaksa family from war crime investigations

The noisiest celebrations for the defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa, were not in the capital Colombo but in the Tamil North and over Adam’s Bridge, the ancient causeway which once connected Sri Lanka to India.

 As Tamil activists pointed out, it was their votes which had defeated him – the victor, Maithripala Sirisena, won around a half of the country’s majority Sinhalese votes but the lion’s share in the Tamil north where the Sri Lankan Army shelled civilians in the last days of the war.

As the clamour for an international war crimes inquiry grew louder in the years which followed, Rajapaksa turned increasingly to China, his rich, non-judgmental ally, for investment and political support.

More alarmingly for India, its regional rival, he allowed Chinese naval vessels into his ports in what was described by analysts as a grave miscalculation”.

Just two weeks after two Chinese submarines docked in Colombo in November, Maithripala Sirisena, one of his longest-standing and close allies, announced he would stand against him. Several ministers and colleagues in their Sri Lankan Freedom Party joined him in an unlikely alliance of Buddhist nationalists, the moderate United National Party, and, critically, the Tamil National Alliance, which has close ties to India.

Bhutan’s prime minister tried to play India against China and he lost. Nepal’s Maoists tried the same and they got thrown out. Neighbouring countries know where their interests and kinship lies. Mahindra Rajapaksa couldn’t alienate us in the region and hope to survive”, said Mohan Guruswamy of the New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Alternatives.

His analysis might explain why Tamils voted in such large numbers for Maithripala Sirisena, despite his role as acting defence secretary in the final two weeks of the war in 2009, his refusal to withdraw troops from the north, and a campaign pledge to shield the Rajapaksas and others from any international war crimes inquiry.

Now he faces the difficult task of keeping his fractured coalition of Tamils and Sinhalese nationalists together as he seeks a two-thirds majority in parliament to abolish Rajapaksa’s executive presidency and restore the powers of the prime minister and the independence of the judiciary.

The fact that he does not currently have the numbers means both his Tamil allies and those countries which pressed hard for an international war crimes investigation will not put pressure on him yet. Justice will have to wait while President Sirisena consolidates his position, said Alan Keenan of the International Crisis Group.

I do think they will be given time to address these issues themselves…but I’m sceptical that these efforts will get very far. There is such resistance from the military and in the Sinhalese mindset which believes the war was just”, he said.

If the new president cannot secure a two-thirds majority for his constitutional reforms in the next three months, he is expected to call fresh parliamentary elections.

A new campaign could, in theory, see Mahinda Rajapaksa stage a comeback as a political force in the country. Whether he gets that opportunity will depend on the self-interest of the country’s MPs, many of whom have served for fewer than five years and will lose their pensions if an election is called before April.

President Sirisena has won an unexpected victory but it will be some time before he is secure enough to start paying his debts.

In the meantime his creditors, including his Tamil voters, Indian neighbours, and Western wellwishers, will simply share the relief that Rajapaksa’s reign is over.

It does remove a thorn and it makes things possible, but there are no guarantees”, Alan Keenan said.

5 Responses to “Sri Lanka election: Mahinda Rajapaksa’s loss is a boon for India”

  1. ranjit Says:

    Dean we wanted a united peaceful Sri Lanka for all to live in Peace. Without Peace we cannot do anything but now the picture is different by voting Sirisena to power. Mahinda kept all races and religions together by distributing everything equally, Education,Jobs,Roads etc. When ever he does something all religions were involved and we used to have a peaceful country but can we have the same peace now under this Achcharu Govt?

    Just see the corrupt persons involved in this Govt. Do you think those people were saints ? Didn’t they rob anything from the people before? What was TNA demanding all these years? Do you know? What is the demand of Muslims? Unitary Sri Lanka or piece here and there for Tamils & Muslims? If Sirisena is not giving in to their demands will they stay with him just for nothing? It’s absurd. We will not see any peace hereafter I will bet. Still they are spreading rumors & lies about the Rajapksa’s and affairs in the island. 47%+ voters will not trust them and will not support them in the future.They didn’t support the previous Govt in any time on any issue so why they support this man now? Forget it.

  2. Christie Says:

    It was the not-votes by Indian colonial parasites , Indians that lead to the 2005 win by Mahinda. Then India backed Mahinda Thinking it would be hard to manage Ranil Wckramasinghe the UNP candidate. India has been directly involved with the island politics from 1951 when India recruited Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike. Now his daughter has followed the father as an agent of Indian Empire and Sirisena has become the Coolie of India like her, her mother and her farther. Jai Hind.

  3. Christie Says:

    “Bhutan’s prime minister tried to play India against China and he lost. Nepal’s Maoists tried the same and they got thrown out. Neighbouring countries know where their interests and kinship lies. Mahindra Rajapaksa couldn’t alienate us in the region and hope to survive”, said Mohan Guruswamy of the New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Alternatives”

    Sri Lanka is not a landlocked country and will stand up to the Indian Union. India is an Empire that was part of the British-Indian Empire.

    China has spent billions of dollars compared to India that has spent much lesser amount in the past and has managed to reap much more than China. Mohan Guruswamy of the New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Alternatives please tell us how much India has spent on the latest episode probably since 2007 when India decided that it cannot manage Mahinda like its former Coolies..

  4. Wickrama Says:

    “Mohan Guruswamy of the New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Alternatives”
    CPA ?
    He must be the Indian Pakayasoththi

  5. helaya Says:

    I give this govt 1 year. I bet we will see chaos once again. This time Tamils an Muslims combo.

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