Posted on May 25th, 2018


British rulers mistakenly considered that behavioural nature of Sri Lankans was similar to Indians and when Indians learn democracy, people of Sri Lanka also will be learned, however it was a baseless assumption and the behavioural pattern of Sri Lankans and their attitudes towards a variety of issues are quite different. The attitudes of Sri Lankans were influenced by Buddhism rather than Hinduism.  Even in the current Indian society, many people have no understanding of democracy.  Despite this situation, Indian government policy, whichever political party was in power had a great attempt to secure democratic values in democratic institutions. Recently four judges of the Indian Supreme court, which is the highly respectable democratic institution stated that ‘Don’t want wise men saying 20 years from now that we sold our souls’ (Indian Express 12.01.2018) referring to current undemocratic influences to the democratic institutions.  Can the Supreme Court judges and other leaders of democratic institutions in Sri Lanka make such a strong statement?

The second contributing factor to the undermining of democracy in Sri Lanka was the use of nepotism and money freely allow to use in politics.  Nepotism and money support to undermine democratic values in the society.  Since 1931 money and nepotism had dominated electing people to manage democratic institutions.  Education and merits became insignificant factors for democratic representation. The right to be represented in the parliament was gained by using the power of wealth and family relationships.  The independent press was controlled by rich people who attempted to manipulate public opinion and misleading the public.  Governments were changed by offering bribes to members of parliament and politics gradually changed into a money-making business.  Before 1970 election, people observed the trend in developing corruptions but nobody wanted to correct the mistakes.  The change in international economic conditions and the implementation of the market economic system without disciplines have fuelled the undermining democratic process.

If the liberal democratic concept is not appropriate in Sri Lanka, some educated socialists now suggest that the country should be turned to socialist democracy, which is a political movement advocating a gradual and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism by democratic means. Further social democracy has defined as a welfare state that incorporates both capitalist and socialist practices.  Some western analysts explain that social democracy is a political system according to which social justice and equality can be achieved within the framework of a market economy.  Social democracy is a good concept that is successfully implemented in countries where have abundant natural and human resources.  For example, many European countries like Nordic countries have abundant natural resources and developed human resources to successfully use such natural resources.  They are practically booming the concept of social democracy as an alternative for the capitalist extremism in the liberal democracy.

The complicated issue in Sri Lanka is the economic and social conditions, sometimes cultural factors are not ready to operate social democracy at an optimum level. Sri Lanka has no abundant natural or human resources. A certain type of highly socialist ideas such as secularism might not implement in the country.  There are many criticisms against the market economic system and to maintain the features of a highly welfare state such as unemployed benefits, age pension, single parent allowances and other government welfare spending could not be maintained due to various economic factors such as lower GDP, Trade Deficit and balance of payment problems, Budget deficit and other fiscal issues, high spending at provincial governments and many others. Therefore, social democracy is not economically viable at this stage and the successful implementation of social democratic system invites more education about the concept of social democracy.

If liberal democracy is failed and social democracy is not viable, what would be the alternative, a partial dictatorship? Many dictionaries define that a dictatorship is a form of government characterized by the absolute rule of one person or a very small group of people who hold all political power. While a dictatorship is a form of government in some nations just as a monarchy or representative democracy is a form of others, dictatorship is seen by non-dictatorship as dangerous and cruel because the way they tend to treat their citizens.  The problem with a dictatorship is the way they treat people and if the dictatorship treats people in a way people expected then it might not be a bad aspect of government.

The style of dictatorship in the history in many countries was based on the characteristics of Kings, Queens or dictators and there was no cruelty to the general public and not engage in killing people harming the society but manage the country with good governance and making a just society, people would appreciate it than a corrupt democratic administration. In Sri Lanka the dictatorship of the Kings / Queens in the history was strongly disciplined by the influences of Buddhism.  Many kings and queens consulted Buddhist monks before making final decisions on any matters. The general meaning or feeling of the public in regard to a dictatorship is that it is an antisocial condition, nevertheless, people of Sri Lanka do not expect a dictatorship, which is subject to control by a small group of people with more corrupt administration.  In fact, people expect an efficient operation of the government services and economic activities without corruption and giving justice to everyone by a partial dictatorship.

What is the reason for a partial dictatorship idea of people in Sri Lanka?  The main reason is the issues we discussed before, in the operative democracy in Sri Lanka. The other vital reason is that a partial dictatorship has worked in many Asian countries. For example, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Philippines as well as countries in Indian sub-continent achieved a rapid economic progress in a partial dictatorship and those countries eliminated corruptions with the support of a partial dictatorship.  It doesn’t mean that all these countries have eliminated corruptions

Famous political leaders in Asia such as Lee Kwan Yew in Singapore, Suharto in Indonesia, Mahathir Mohamad in Malaysia, Ferdinand Marcos and Rodrigues Duterte in the Philippines were partial dictators and people of these countries favoured them as they brought economic progress and disciplines to their countries. Although Cricket is a popular game and people like the game Cricket captains in Indian sub-continent, Cricket leaders could not become good political leaders either in Pakistan or in Sri Lanka or in India, but military leaders were popularly attracted to politics and demonstrated efficiency.

Some academics in Sri Lanka have made supportive comments for a partial dictatorship, in summary, the views of them are given below.

  • Although Sri Lanka was administratively allowed people to gain education during the centuries-old history, the country has not become a knowledge or an intelligent nation. Ignorance, apathy, and illusion have chained the country despite a higher literacy rate.  As a result, people are behaving like stupids without required disciplines in relation to all matters and this situation cannot be changed or improved by the current democratic framework.
  • People have no understanding of democracy and democratic rights. As a result of this ignorance, rights are violated and disrespect often.  No politician or any other institution has taken steps to educate about democratic rights and the law enforcement authority of the country has politicized killing the confidence of the democratic institutions and the process.
  • The education of the country has dramatically declined to respect values and value education despite religious values, the saradharma, which is extremely focused to attract respect to elders and clergy rather than developing a value-oriented society. The focus of education has shifted to gaining required knowledge and skills to go out of the country as educated people in the country has no opportunities to accumulate wealth staying in the country.
  • The general administration of the country in public and private offices is covered by a vicious bureaucracy, which is corrupt and the public offices have no programs and policies and the politics in the country has failed to scrutinize the role of public offices. The self-centred bureaucracy has no respect for good governance. Despite the expected changes in 2015, the yahapalanaya has worsened the administration of the country.
  • The qualification to become a member of parliament, provincial government or local council is nepotism and the uneducated status of elected representatives expect yes men from the bureaucracy.
  • Economic and debt management have become an instrument for the lost of confidence of foreign governments and investors. The Central Bank Bond Scam in 2015 and current Active Liability Management Bill has worsened the country’s economy. Good economic managers of the country were removed from the offices and replaced by crooks.
  • Sri Lanka has faced serious foreign influences and stupid politicians in the administration have no understanding of the problem and no skills to direct policy initiatives.

The views of these academic are vital issues of the country.  The failure of democracy was supported by lack of understanding the concept and the practice of democratic administration in the country has not encouraged the reforms to safeguard democratic values.

The introduction of the current constitution in 1978 aimed at the imposition of a partial dictatorship to the country within a democratic framework.  With the new constitution, the government introduced new economic policies which were outward looking and liberal to a certain extent. They were a trend in the world but the implementation of economic policies continued without disciplines promoting corruptions in the country.  Within the new policy framework, terrorism originated as a result of external influences and the war killed the democratic values of the country.

In such a background, the role played by Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa as the president of the country was remarkable but he was too busy to perform multi-tasks to the country to re-establish the democracy and reconstruction of war damages to the country and introduce reforms.  If Mr. Rajapaksa was re-elected in 2015, the situation would have been changed.  The results of local government election in 2018 reflected that people have strong confidence on Mr. Rajapaksa to rebuild the country.

Although people have a confidence in a partial dictatorship of the country, it should not disregard that a partial dictatorship could be transformed into a full dictatorship thereby creating more problems.  Current problems of the country could not overcome without good economic management. Politicians of the country have no idea what should do and how to do such things.





  1. Christie Says:

    The problem is Indian imperialism and Indian Parasites.

    We like other British-Indian colonies were administered by Indian Parasites.

    Talking about Indian Supreme Court it is just a month ago it watered down Scheduled Caste Equal Rights Laws.

    What we need is the control of our destiny to be in the hands of the majority of the nation.

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