Sri Lanka heading for troubled waters
Posted on August 19th, 2015

Courtesy Adaderana

The parliamentary election in Sri Lanka on Monday has lost much of its geopolitical import because it is no more the ‘Chinese election’ it was meant to be. Actually, Reuters estimates, with a good measure of accuracy, that no matter which of the two electoral fronts wins the election – led respectively by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa – Sri Lanka will be a non-aligned investment attraction”.
That is to say, even if Beijing’s preferred candidate, Rajapaksa, is defeated, the fact remains that Wickremesinghe, despite being pro-Western in outlook, is not about to slam the door on China”.

Nonetheless, the outcome of Monday’s election still assumes importance. The heart of the matter is that unless there is a decisive victory by either side, which seems improbable, the country is heading for political instability and the gathering storms on the horizon portend a time of troubles.

First and foremost, whichever side wins the election, given the fractious nature of Sri Lankan politics – especially since the current president Maithripala Sirisena backstabbed Rajapaksa and went on to win the presidential poll in January with the backing of Wickremesinghe – a deepening of the factional fight within the ruling Sinhala elite is almost certain to ensue.

Sirisena has threatened to keep Rajapaksa out of power, no matter the result of Monday’s poll. On the other hand, a government led by Wickremesinghe would have to heavily depend on the support of the Tamil and Muslim minorities, which in turn would leave a big chunk of the Sinhala electorate (supporting Rajapaksa) feeling disenfranchised.

Second, the Sri Lankan economy faces an adverse external environment in conditions where the commodity prices are slumping. Tea and rubber exports are hit badly. The apparel exports to the US and Europe have fallen. Unemployment is running high among the youth.

The debt-servicing expenditure is extremely high, amounting to over 95 percent of the revenue. Saddled with the rupee debt at 8.8 trillion rupee, borrowing from the International Monetary Fund has become imperative, and, sure enough, IMF has demanded deep spending cuts as the precondition of any new loan.

The new government – be it under Rajapaksa or Wickremesinghe – can be expected to impose an austerity agenda with drastic inroads into wages, working conditions and budget spending. In sum, Sri Lanka is heading for social unrest and political agitations by various discontented, dispossessed, disadvantaged sections of the population.

A third vector concerns Sri Lankan Tamil politics. Under combined American and Indian prodding, the main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has been pursuing the politics of power-sharing with the Sinhala elites in Colombo led by Sirisena and Wickremesinghe.

But in the past six-month period, nothing substantial has changed in the lives of the Tamil people. There has been no real easing of the repression of Tamils by Colombo. However, for the leadership of the TNA, drawn from the Tamil elites, the priority has been – and still is – to strike power-sharing bargains with Sirisena.

The TNA leadership is pinning hopes on the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe combine running the next government and itself becoming a coalition partner in it. To be sure, the TNA leaders will ultimately bargain for the loaves of office for themselves as quid pro quo for their support to Sirisena and Wickremesinghe.

The TNA leaders count on the international community” to intervene in Sri Lankan politics to help secure justice for the Tamil people. They seem to have forgotten the dubious role played by the international community” all along in exploiting the Tamil problem in their self-interests.

Curiously, the TNA’s election manifesto says, The TNA is firmly of the view that international auspices are necessary to achieve permanent peace through genuine reconciliation, thereby enabling all peoples living in Sri Lanka to live as equal citizens”. The tragedy (or bankruptcy) of Tamil nationalism in Sri Lanka seems to be repeating itself.

4 Responses to “Sri Lanka heading for troubled waters”

  1. Piyadigama Says:

    අවලම් ගොතා සිහලුන් හට ගරහන්නේ
    මෙවලම් යොදා හෙට රට ගැන සිතුවන්නේ
    සදහම් සුවෙන් සිත ගත පුබුදා ගන්නේ
    සිහලුන් සදා ජය දද ලෙද රජවන්නේ

    දඹදිව දකුණු නොරටින් ලක පැන දෙමළා
    කටදිව නොහුලනා බොරු පවසන අවළා
    පැහැදිව සිතින් කොටි අරමුණු දැකවදළා
    ලකදිව රකිනු දෑ රුහිරේ බිම හෙලළා

  2. Christie Says:

    Shenali the issue is Indian colonial parasites have won the election. Indian Empire has won the second innings. Please read the Indian media.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    The Western Neocolonialist Powers who EGGED ON and SUPPORTED REGIME CHANGE in Sri Lanka are NOT GOING TO LOOSEN their wallets for their PUPPETS in the YAMAPALANAYA Government.

    They already DEMONSTRATED THIS by FIRMLY REJECTING the requests for loans from the IMF and the WORLD BANK to “REPLACE” the MUCH CRITICIZED MASSIVE LOANS for Infrastructure Development from CHINA!

    As a RESULT, the Yamapalanaya ASSES were FORCED to CREEP BACK on their HIND LEGS to China, and PROCLAIM that they want to PATCH UP RELATIONS with the Chinese Devil they BITTERLY criticized to UNDERMINE the MR/UPFA GoSL and CURRY FAVOR with the Western Colonialists.

    If they had been SMARTER, they would have known that MR/UPFA GoSL had the SAME EXPERIENCE getting FUNDS from the West, even to buy ARMS to fight the Eelam War, and VALUED China so much because China loaned money on the basis of a Long Term Policy of Friendship with Sri Lanka, having suffered at the hands of the same Western Colonial Devils in its own history!

    There were 3 foreign countries that HELPED Sri Lanka with money to WIN the WAR of LIBERATION from Separatist Terror: CHINA, IRAN and LIBYA! And these MASSIVE LOANS were obtained by the PERSONAL DIPLOMACY of President Mahinda Rajapaksa …. let us NOT FORGET!

    Since then, China has provided on average 2-3 billion USD/year for National Infrastructure Development, whereas the USA, the RICHEST NATION in the World, waving more STICK than CARROT at Sri Lanka, gave a MEASLY 25 million USD to fund REGIME CHANGE activities of “democrazy development” and “human rights enhancement, and “good governance training” and “religios freedom training” to its PET NGOs …. in other words to their own 5th COLUMN in Sri Lanka. That 25 million was NOT DEVELOPMENT AID, but was their INVESTMENT IN REGIME CHANGE for their own BENEFIT!

    These NGO SPY NETWORKS will INCREASE IN NUMBER and WORK SCOPE under the new YAMAPALANAYA Government to help the EELAMISTS gain their Proto-EELAM.

    But sadly, the USA will not GAIN ANY FRIENDS within the Majority Community of Sri Lanka. This SITUATION WILL BE REVERSED DECADES from now after they have PRECIPITATED the next EELAM WAR!

    America NEVER LEARNS to support the ASPIRATIONS of the MAJORITY COMMUNITIES in the countries in which it INTERVERNES, and ULTIMATELY goes home with MORE MUD on its face.

    America the Beautiful, the Land of Lincoln, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, DESERVES a better, wiser, leaders and a WINNING, MORE ENLIGHTENED, FOREIGN POLICY towards 3rd World Nations!

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    HAD MR promised to SCRAP 13 amendment, UPFA could have easily won 125+ seats or even close to 160 seats giving it the required 2/3 majority to SCRAP the 13 amendment.

    Considering the dangers faced by the nation, not promising to SCRAP 13 amendment is UNFORGIVABLE.

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