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Democracy wins in Sri Lanka

Jan 10 (Hindu) When Mahinda Rajapaksa called a fresh presidential election two years ahead of the scheduled January 2016 end to his second term in office, he did so because he was confident of being voted back for another six years. There was no real challenger on the horizon at that time, and Mr. Rajapaksa, who had made the 2009 military victory over the LTTE the main theme of his government, believed that Sinhalese voters would once again repose their faith in him. more..

France notes Maithri’s policies

Jan 10 (CG) The French Govt has noted the will of President Maithripala Sirisena towards a Sri Lanka that is democratic, prosperous and respectful of Human Rights. A Statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France said that France commends the successful conduct of the presidential election in Sri Lanka as well as the high voter turnout across the country. “We congratulate Mr. Maithripala Sirisena and salute the will of the President-elect to implement more..

Sri Lanka press welcome Sirisena, shun fallen strongman

Jan 10 (AFP) Sri Lanka's press showed rare unity Saturday in giving the thumbs up to new President Maithripala Sirisena who had promised to restore media freedom and lift censorship on websites. "MS in stunning win over MR," the Island newspaper said in a headline referring to Sirisena's victory over incumbent Mahinda Rajapakse who conceded defeated even before the final results were released Friday. more..

Maldives ready to expand bilateral ties with new Sri Lankan govt

Jan 10 (Haveeru) In a congratulatory message to Sirisena, President Gayoom said that his victory shows the amount trust that the Sri Lankan people place in his policies, leadership, and the priority he places on the nation’s growth. “Through the election, Sri Lankans have demonstrated yet again the strength of the country’s democracy and the resilience of its institutions” the President’s statement read “I look forward to working closely with you in further expanding the enduring more..

A Lankan Victory

Jan 10 (CT) Neither their dire warnings nor our nightmarish fears materialised. The election ended as it should, in a peaceful change. A large chunk of credit for that unexpectedly felicitous end should go to former President Rajapaksa. Had he tried to resist the results illegally and unconstitutionally, as some of his kith and kin would have urged him to do, the warned and feared bloodbath would have happened. Instead he did the right thing. He handed over the reins of govt to the victors and went home. more..

Wigneswaran calls for patience and trust

Jan 10 (CG) Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran today called for patience and trust as President Maithripala Sirisena took office and Tamils placed hope on him for a political solution. Wigneswaran said that he has complete confidence that democracy will be established under Sirisena and believes that the foundation for a just solution to the problems of the Tamil Speaking Peoples, which have more..

UPFA to support Maithri’s policy

Jan 10 (CG) The UPFA has decided to support President Maithripala Sirisena’s 100 day policy framework for the country. UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena said that the alliance will support the implementation of the constitutional changes proposed by the President when it is presented to Parliament. He made the announcement together with other UPFA including SLFP members. “As the majority in Parliament we will support the implementation of the 100 day program,” more..

Sri Lanka new central bank governor could be investment banker: Sources

Jan 10 (EN) Arjuna Mahendran, a Sri Lanka born international banker is one of the candidates being considered as Central Bank governor, sources said. Governor Nivard Cabraal resigned Friday shortly before Maithripala Sirisena was sworn in as President and Ranil Wickramasinghe of the UNP as Prime Minister. Mahendran was the head of the island's Board of Investment under a previous administration headed by Wickramasinghe and has been with international lenders including more..

Sri Lanka military dismisses reports of stoning of its camps

Jan 10 (PTI) Sri Lankan military today dismissed as "rumours" the reports that its camps were stoned in the Tamil-dominated north after the conclusion of presidential polls won by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa's one-time minister Maithripala Sirisena. "(The) post-election period is peaceful. No threat on North & East military camps," military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya said. "Don't be misled by rumors," he said. more..

Sri Lanka votes for Sirisena: What went wrong from Rajapaksa

Jan 10 (ET) Maithripala Sirisena's journey to the post of President in Sri Lanka has been nothing less than a fairytale with even outgoing President Mahinda Rajapaksa's staunchest critics not giving the former Minister a chance on the day of the voting as "the family run government" keeping a tight grip on the country's politics. While Rajapaksa supporters knew that going would not be smooth in this elections once it was announced and particularly after the outgoing President more..

Yanna Nona Yanna: MR’s astrologer

Jan 10 (DM) Despite astrologer Sumanadasa Abeygunawardena predicting that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will win the January 8 election, it was Opposition Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena, who won the presidency at Thursday’s election. Mr. Sumanadasa said January 8 was a lucky day for former President Rajapaksa. The astrologer was furious when Daily Mirror contacted him for his comments about his wrong prediction. “Pissu nathuwa innna nona. more..

Facing arrest KP has fled Sri Lanka

Jan 10 (CG) Former LTTE chief arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP), who was facing arrest by the new Sri Lankan Govt, has reportedly fled Sri Lanka, MP Rajitha Senaratne said. He said that the Govt received information KP fled Sri Lanka using the VIP lounge at the airport and that an investigation has been launched. KP is wanted in India over the murder of former Indian MP Rajiv Gandhi and the UNP has been more..

Sri Lankan expats in Dubai divided over election results

Jan 10 (KT) Voters in Sri Lanka announced their verdict on Friday and hailed Maithripala Sirisena as their new president after a tightly contested election. Official results showed Sirisena, a former ally of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, won 51.3% of the votes. Rajapaksa had called the election two years ahead of schedule, hoping to win a record third six-year term. However, much to his disbelief, he got only over 47% votes, and had to leave his official residence. more..

Hope springs quietly for Lankan refugees stranded in India

Jan 10 (ET) As results of the Sri Lanka elections were streaming out, hopes surged for a small population mainly concentrated in Tamil Nadu. The results of Sri Lankan presidential polls have renewed the hopes of close to one lakh Sri Lankan refugees in India. "For over 20 years they have lived outside their country and now they are hopeful that conditions will improve to facilitate their return," S C Chandrahasan, Founder of Chennai-based OfERR told ET over phone from Sri Lanka. more..

Video: UPFA supports Common Opposition’s 100-day programme

Jan 10 (DM) MP Nimal Siripala de Silva said UPFA would not hinder the common opposition’s 100-day programme and assured its support in carrying out it. “We will not obstruct the common opposition’s 100-day programme. We hope they will carry out it as promised. People voted for Maithripala Sirisena because they approved their programme. We also expect to help him in carrying out it in matters that we can approve of,” more..

New Defence Secretary Basnayake replaces Gotabhaya

Jan 10 (AM) Secretary of the Ministry of Environment B.M.U.D. Basnayake has now been appointed as the Secretary of Defence, replacing former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. It was speculated before the election that former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka will be appointed as the Defence Secretary under Maithripala Sirisena’s rule. Bansanayake is a member of the Sri Lankan administrative service. It is learnt that the Ministry of Defence will be kept under more..

Pakistan expresses solidarity with new Sri Lankan govt

Jan 10 (AD) Pakistan on Saturday felicitated the newly elected President of Sri Lanka Maitripala Sirisena on his victory in election and installation as the sixth executive president. In his felicitation message, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated Maithripala Sirisena on his election as the president of Sri Lanka. He expressed the hope that the relationship between Pakistan and Sri Lanka would continue to prosper during his term in the office. more..

Move to bring Mahinda back to parliament as alternate Prime Minister!

Jan 10 (AM) A group of SLFP MPs have explored the possibility of bringing former President Rajapaksa back to the Parliament and position him as the alternate Prime Minister. According to the constitution, the person who can draw the support of the majority of MPs in the house should be appointed as the Prime Minister of the country. President Maithripala Sirisena appointed UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the PM, more..

Premalal Jayasekara remanded till Jan 20

Jan 10 (AD) Former Deputy Minister Premalal Jayasekara, who was arrested over an election-related shooting incident in Kahawatta, has been remanded until January 20 by the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court, SSP Ajith Rohana said. Former Deputy Minister of Power and Energy, who was arrested in Aluthgama last night, was produced at court by Slave Island Police today. He was also ordered to be produced at the Pelmadulla Magistrate’s Court on Jan 20, police said. more..

Norway, Australia offer support

Jan 10 (CG) Norway and Australia have offered support to new President Maithripala Sirisena to promote reconciliation and a peaceful, inclusive, democratic Sri Lanka. ‘I congratulate the people of Sri Lanka on Thursday’s presidential election and the country’s new president, Maithripala Sirisena, on his victory,’ said Norwegian PM Erna Solberg. Presidential elections were held in Sri Lanka. Maithripala Sirisena was elected the new president by a 51.3 % majority vote. more..

Sri Lanka's new president welcomes dissidents home

Jan 10 (AFP) New President Maithripala Sirisena invited exiled dissidents back to Sri Lanka and promised to end censorship Saturday as he began to turn the page on the authoritarian rule of his toppled predecessor. A day after his shock victory over veteran incumbent Mahinda Rajapakse, Sirisena began assembling a cabinet to deliver his pledges to repair the war-scarred nation's diplomatic standing and implement a raft of reforms. more..

Karunanidhi says DMK stand on Rajapaksa is unchanged

Jan 10 (AM) DMK leader M. Karunanidhi reiterated that there was no change in the party’s stand for subjecting former Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa into an international inquiry for his alleged involvement in the killing of Tamils in the last phase of the civil war. Talking to reporters after being re-elected as the party’s president, Karunanidhi said both Rajapaksa and the new President-elect Maithripala Sirisena should ponder who was responsible for the crimes against more..

Somaratne Dissanayake becomes Chairman of Rupavahini Corporation

Jan 10 (AM) Veteran film director Somarathne Dissanayake has been appointed as the Chairman of the Rupavahini Corporation, sources close to President Maithripala Sirisena confirmed Asian Mirror. Dissanayake was a staunch supporter of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at one point, but later aligned himself with Maithripala Sirisena who became the Common Candidate of the opposition. Dissanayake, towards the latter part of President Rajapaksa’s rule, more..

Rajapaksa ‘pressed’ army after Sri Lanka poll defeat: official

Jan 10 (AFP) Mahinda Rajapaksa tried to persuade the army chief to deploy troops when it became clear he had lost Sri Lanka’s election. Rajapaksa has been widely praised for conceding defeat early on Friday, even before the last votes had been counted, when he realized that his rival Maithripala Sirisena had an unassailable lead. A top aide to Sirisena said that Army Commander Daya Ratnayake, had come under pressure to more..

A triumph for democracy

Jan 11 (SO) Democracy triumphed against all odds at Thursday's Presidential Election which saw Maithripala Sirisena as the sixth Executive President of SL. It was a momentous event that reaffirmed Sri Lankan collective faith in pluralism and democracy. Despite the many rumours that circulated to the contrary, there was a smooth transfer of power from outgoing President Rajapaksa to new President Sirisena, a veteran in the political arena with over four decades' experience. more..

The path to winning the peace…

Jan 11 (SL) All are wise on what went wrong or what went right after a hotly contested election. Thursday’s presidential election was no exception. The one redeeming feature was a comparative drop in extreme violence but the sad event of a death of a citizen in the Ratnapura District cannot be overlooked. On the whole, the momentous election could be termed as an event that strengthened Sri Lanka democracy particularly because of the smooth and quick transition of power, more..

'The time for change has dawned'

Jan 11 (SO) Former Minister and JHU MP Champika Ranawaka said that the TNA, SLMC and the JHU have their own agendas but they have agreed to a national agenda for good governance and to restore democracy in the country. We don't see any obstacle in achieving this goal. We call upon all those in the Opposition and the Govt to join hands to create good governance and to restore democracy. more..

The election result

Jan 11 (Island) Most Lankans, regardless of whether they voted for Maithripala Sirisena or Mahinda Rajapaksa, had a good feeling on Friday when the election results were in and the new president and prime minister sworn. This was largely on account of the absence of the widely expected violence, former President Rajapaksa’s prompt and graceful exit from office enabling a peaceful transition, the sensible words spoken by Sirisena and his non-rhetorical style of delivery and and Wickremesinghe’s more..

The People’s Verdict: Poetic Justice and the Path Ahead

Jan 11 (Island) The people have spoken. A new President has been sworn in by an untainted Senior Supreme Court Judge. A new Prime Minister too has been sworn in by the new President, necessarily in keeping with his electoral commitment even if not necessarily consistent with the constitution. Most important of all, the outgoing President conceded defeat and left office even before the final results were released, paving the way for a smooth and peaceful transition of power. more..

'Minority political parties worked on separatism'

Jan 11 (SL) With the defeat of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, some questioned about of the future of the SLFP and predicted change of the leadership in the SLFP. However, SLFP assured that the leadership of the SLFP will remain intact. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella also said that the president right now does not have the majority in parliament to do the necessary constitutional reforms. more..

President confirms 100-day programme

Jan 11 (SL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa drank at least four cups of black coffee on Thursday night as he came down from his cozy bedroom to watch election results. Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, a senior state servant, briefed the President on the results that had been received so far and Rajapaksa realized that it did not augur well. That night he had arrived from Carlton Residence in Tangalle after casting his vote and the President looked a little too tired. more..

Was transfer of power actually smooth?

Jan 11 (NS) Although former President Rajapaksa was praised for ensuring a smooth transfer of power to the new president, details that have surfaced after its exit mar the picture. Former common opposition circles, on Friday, claimed that former President and former Secretary of Defence attempted to retain power through military intervention and emergency orders. They claimed that senior state officials refused to sign orders pertaining to emergency rules and military intervention. more..

'People have rejected racism'

Jan 11 (SL) Despite not being directly involved in the political campaign of the newly appointed President, the JVP played a pivotal role in getting the votes of the grass root and the working class in support of the campaign. According to the JVP, their support was extended to establish good governance and democracy and to reject family bandyism and dictatorship. General Secretary of JVP Tilvin Silva said that they expect people more..

How and for whom I voted at the elections

Jan 11 (NS) The polls for the election of the President of Sri Lanka have just closed at the time of writing, and results are likely to be in during the next 18 hours. It seemed like a good idea now to declare publicly how I voted. I do so because we tend to fudge our previous opinions as soon as we find out the results, and thereby fail to learn. So I chose to set out my reasoning publicly, before counting begins. Not because the public wants to know my opinion, but because it helps me learn. more..

The smoking gun

Jan 11 (NS) In our Notebook of an achiever, Kusumanjalee Thilakarathna interviews cartoon storyteller Bandula Harischandra, where he quite rightly points out that the fact Sri Lankan artists are reluctant to stick together and take a stand is to their disadvantage.On the contrary, the French national and even the international reaction to the terrorist attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, is heart-rending. Having received death threats Charlie Hebdo’s editor, Stephane Charbonnier, more..

‘Country has turned around’

Jan 11 (SL) People have given their mandate to Maithripala Sirisena at the presidential election with a majority of 51.28% – which clearly includes majority of the minority votes of the country who have vested their trust upon another Sinhala leader who they expect would address their concerns and fulfil their aspirations. The Sunday Leader spoke to several politicians and civil society activists as to what the voice of people more..

North and East preferred the Unknown Angel

Jan 11 (CT) Democracy in the country reemerged vibrantly with the minorities being the key factor in electing the new President, Maithripala Sirisena. Unlike in the previous Presidential polls in the Island, all minority political parties apart from the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), in the upcountry joined hands shedding their differences in placing their confidence in the new President. Despite the CWC led by Arumugam Thondaman calling upon the upcountry labour force to more..

People are the only true guardians of liberty

Jan 11 (Island) You will know the final results when you read these lines. Trends at the time of writing show Mr Sirisena comfortably ahead; this piece assumes it will be sustained. While celebrating the fall of the Rajapaksa monster we should not pull the wool over our eyes and loose sight of the reality that so long as an executive presidential monstrosity remains, the new government is liable to go the way of previous ones and Maithripala decline into a carbon copy of Mahinda. more..

Sri Lanka election: Shock result as president Mahinda Rajapaksa is tossed out

Jan 11 (SMH) Such was the personality cult surrounding the now former president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, that it was difficult to imagine the country's voters tossing him out. Yet in a jaw-dropping election result that has stunned political watchers across south Asia, Sri Lankan voters not only chose a new president, former health minister Maithripala Sirisena, but they did so with minimum fuss. more..

Trade Chambers want to engage with new President, Govt

Jan 11 (CT) Key trade chambers in Sri Lanka, in individual interviews with the Ceylon FT on Friday, said that they wanted to engage with President Maithripala Sirisena and his govt, hoping that a peaceful environment would prevail so that business and development would take place uninterrupted simultaneously. Sri Lanka's umbrella private sector trade chamber — the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Sri Lanka said, it would like to work closely with the new President and the govt more..