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Political uncertainty to prevail

Feb 18 (CT) A week after the releasing of the results of the LG Elections under new mixed electoral system, governance of the country has come to a deadlock with President Maithripala Sirisena looking for a replacement for PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and the latter being determined to continue in office. In less than 24 hours of issuing of the results of the LG Elections indicating a sweeping victory for former Prez Rajapaksa-led SLPP, more..

Damned if I do, damned if I don’t

Feb 18 (ST) Was it loud, friendly voices or an argument? Just beyond the garden on this bright sunny morning, six days after one of Sri Lanka’s most challenging LG elections, Kussi Amma Sera and her comrade-in-arms, Serapina, are engaged in a heated debate. Kussi Amma Sera seemed to think it was the increased cost of fertiliser that caused the coalition govt a serious setback at the poll. Serapina, not to be outdone, argued that it was the cost of living and a severe drought, more..

SLPP's jubilant mood marred by 150 hung LG bodies

Feb 18 (SO) The LG election – the first election in Sri Lanka after the Parliamentary election in August, 2015 – was a wake-up call for the incumbent govt in more ways than one. The large majority of Local Govt bodies – 249 out of 340 – was won by the SLPP, the party supported by members of the Rajapaksa family. While the UNP won 42 LG bodies with a percentage of 32.61, the UPFA, led by President Sirisena, managed to secure only 11 LG bodies, with a percentage over 13%. more..


Election musings

Feb 18 (ST) My dear chandadaayakaya, I thought I must write to you because you had caused a revolution last Saturday by exercising your vote at the punchi chandey. Various people give various interpretations of what you told us and this has become quite confusing, if not exciting- and that is what I wanted to write to you about. We can all agree that there was one message that was clear: that Mahinda maama’s pohottuwa won the election without a shadow of doubt. more..

Ranil home and dry

Feb 18 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe appeared home and dry yesterday after the week-long political crisis following the declaration of the results of LG elections countrywide. Both the UNP and President Sirisena’s SLFP faction had taken a drubbing – the latter more so than the former. Although there have been strident demands that the prime minister’s head be placed on the block, Sirisena loyalists, many of whom were brought into parliament through the back door via the National List, more..

'Await the return of spiritual leader MR'

Feb 18 (CT) Chief Organizer for the SLPP Basil Rajapaksa speaks about the agenda set by them to return to power. He points out that witch-hunt on the Rajapaksas should stop as Mahinda Rajapaksa has been accepted as the leader of the country by the people. Q: What is your opinion about the current Unity Govt? A: We have won the LG and I am concerned about it. It's a victory for us and we have a mandate from the people now. more..

National instability amidst power games

Feb 18 (ST) The countrywide Local Govt elections last week were meant to elect representatives at the grassroots but they caused not just a Gamperaliya, which Martin Wickramasinghe’s famous 1944 Sinhala novel depicted about the break-up of village life, but a near aandu-peraliya or break-up of the Govt. The impact of the newly formed Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) at the Feb 10 elections is what has made the shaky National Unity Govt almost fall apart. more..

Yahapalanaya govt in tailspin following election defeat

Feb 18 (Island) To say that the resounding electoral defeat of the governing coalition at the recent LG elections has set the cat among the canaries is an understatement. Up to the point when this article goes to press, the political aftershocks of pohottuwa tsunami of Feb 10 continues with no end in sight. In the immediate aftermath of the defeat apologists for the govt have been trying to say that the SLPP got only 45% of the vote and that the votes of all the yahapalana partners of January 2015, more..

'Constitutionally, no barrier for incumbent Govt to continue until 2020'

Feb 18 (SO) Minister Wajira Abeywardana said, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution states that the consent of the majority is needed only to elect the PM, but it has not made any reference on the need for a majority consent to continue in office as the Premier. In an interview with the Sunday Observer, Minister said, as long as the Cabinet of Ministers is there, the PM will continue in office. Similarly, as long as the PM is there, more..

Disunity adds to havoc

Feb 18 (CT) The political uncertainty caused by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's surprise landslide win at last Saturday's LG Polls, complemented by the disunity it has created in the Unity Govt, has caused negative investor sentiment. It has impacted the stock market, at least Govt of Sri Lanka's borrowing costs and the rupee. This volatility will continue as long as the power struggle between President Maithripala Sirisena and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe lasts. more..

What did the voters really say last week?

Feb 18 (SO) Last week, Sri Lankans voiced their political choices at the level of local communities and did so in a manner that has made everyone sit up and take notice – ordinary citizens, the elite, politicians and bureaucracy, as well as the international community. Popular governance, as in an increasingly genuine republic like Sri Lanka, requires the exercise of the citizens’ vote at different levels of society and in all parts of the country and, done so in a manner conducive to calm more..

President-backed putsch fails as PM rallies dissidents

Feb 17 (EN) A last ditch attempt by President Sirisena to oust PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has failed due to a constitutional hurdle and more significantly the lack of parliamentary support, sources close to both sides said. Prez had agreed to continue working with Wickremesinghe, but had a sudden change of heart on Thursday after meeting with his UPFA and SLFP seniors. Two general secretaries of the parties, ministers more..

Appeal Court to hear petition against church festivities in Wilpattu Park

Feb 17 (ST) The Court of Appeal on Tuesday allowed the issuance of notice in a petition against the use of the Wilpattu National Park (NP) for festivities linked to the Pallekandal church. The petition filed by the Environmental Foundation (Guarantee) Limited (EFL) and the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) was heard by a two-judge bench comprising the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Padman Surasena and Justice Shiran Goonerathne. more..

Lawyers for Democracy urges Lankan judiciary to look to Indian counterparts

Feb 17 (AD) The Lawyers for Democracy wish to express their admiration and appreciation for the action taken by the four Supreme Court judges in India last week, when they took the extraordinary step of holding a press conference to inform the public of irregularities that were happening in case administration in the Supreme Court of India under the leadership of the incumbent Chief Justice. Indian judges took this extraordinary step after informing the Chief Justice that more..

Sri Lanka capitalise on coach Hathurusingha's insider-information

Feb 17 (CI) It had been suspected right through Sri Lanka's tour, but it is now official: Chandika Hathurusingha's knowledge of Bangladesh players and conditions provided Sri Lanka with a substantial edge. Having been Bangladesh's head coach - a role he had held since 2014 - until October last year, Hathurusingha was instrumental to the long-term development of the Bangladesh side, and was privy to more..

Reconfiguring Sri Lanka’s Tamil politics

Feb 17 (Hindu) With a banner sporting a picture of ITAK founder S.J.V. Chelvanayakam in the background, senior Tamil leader R. Sampanthan made a fervent appeal in an election rally in Jaffna. Unity, he said, “is the only weapon we have now.” Days ahead of Feb 10 LG polls, the 85-year-old politician urged the northern Tamils to speak in one voice and support the ITAK. Whether it was the Northern Provincial Council elections in 2013, or the parliamentary elections of August 2015, more..

SL's rare chance to cap successful tour

Feb 17 (CI) It had begun so well. Bangladesh may still have been stinging from Chandika Hathurusingha's surprise exit, but in the first three matches of the tri-nations ODI series, they stomped both oppositions, and appeared as if no side was capable of so much as challenging them in home conditions. Then came the 10-wicket thumping in Mirpur. Since then, in five matches against SL (across formats), Bangladesh have lost four and drawn one. Absence of Shakib Al Hasan - more..

Politics obstructs justice for children

Feb 17 (ST) Statutory rape of boys, age of criminal responsibility, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children, corporal punishment, justice for juveniles, were some concerns highlighted in the recent report on Sri Lanka by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. However, experts in children’s rights doubt that recommendations will be implemented because of politics, more..

State Minister Senanayake visits Poland

Feb 17 (GDI) State Minister Vasantha Senanayake visited Poland from 15 to 16 Feb at the invitation of the Govt of Poland to conduct bilateral consultations to explore ways and means to promote political and economic relations. State Minister Senanayake and the Polish Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Marek Magierowski held bilateral consultations on 15 Feb which covered areas such as cooperation in the fields of trade and investment, tourism, education, air connections, sports, green technology, more..

Institute of Chemistry to honour three persons for rendering yeoman service

Feb 17 (Island) Council of the Institute of Chemistry at its meeting held on 2nd Feb unanimously decided to honour Professors S Sotheeswaran and Priyani Paranagama and Dr. Sentheshanmuganathan by giving them the award titled Recognition of Chartered Chemists who have rendered Yeoman and Honorary services to the Educational Programmes of the Institute in an exemplary and noteworthy manner. Prof. S. Sotheeswaran obtained the DSc. in Natural Products from more..

Further economic grants from US Millennium Challenge Corporation

Feb 17 (AD) Following its competitive selection by the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) for grant assistance, Govt of SL is now focusing on improving transport infrastructure and land administration in the country, consistent with govt’s Vision 2025. Investing in these sectors will help create the foundation for economic growth with equity. After reviewing the GoSL proposal, MCC agreed to proceed with further due diligence more..

Eran attends tax conference in New York

Feb 17 (DM) State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne represented Sri Lanka at the first global conference of the platform for collaboration on tax, which commenced at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on February 14th. The conference, which was jointly organized by the World Bank, IMF, OECD and the United Nations, focuses on key directions for tax policy and administration needed to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). more..

Marching to her own beat

Feb 17 (Hindu) Her passion, vision, dream and determination has created history. She is Sithara Maduwanthi, a girl in her late 20’s from Sri Lanka, who has been the first female percussionist of her country and the founder of the all-woman drummers band – Thuryaa – based in the capital city of Colombo. As part of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) organized the 8th Int'l Dance and Music Festival last month, Thuryaa was invited to perform in New Delhi, Bhubaneswar and more..

UNHRC to be briefed on progress achieved so far in Sri Lanka

Feb 17 (SL) Sri Lanka will be sending a delegation to the UNHRC in Geneva next month to brief the council on the progress achieved by Sri Lanka so far on the human rights issue. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the UNHRC will be looking at the progress achieved so far and not the political situation in the country at present. “Geneva is on the performance up to date so you will have to judge on what has been done so far,” more..

Discussions to be held between several parties today

Feb 17 (AD) Several discussions will be held today within and between several parties with regard to the current political situation of the country. Minister Susil Premajayantha yesterday stated that the majority of the UPFA will not support the continuation of the current unity govt. Meanwhile, JO leaders yesterday said after meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena that they will support a UPFA govt. However, JO leaders have informed the President, despite their support to UPFA govt more..

Ranjan to work towards a truce between President and PM

Feb 17 (DM) Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake said yesterday he had met President Maithripala Sirisena to bring about a truce with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and iron out any differences between them. He said he met the President as a peace maker. “I am a symbol of peace (Sama Kurulla) and therefore I decided to undertake this mission,” he said. The President had told him that he was under pressure from certain groups who did not want to work with the UNP. more..

Inside story: Ranil-Maithri rift rooted in Presidential ambitions

Feb 17 (CT) The estrangement between President Sirisena and PM Wickremsinghe has its roots in the former’s desire to remain as President until 2025 and not the crisis produced by the results of the LG elections where the parties led by both men suffered heavily. Colombo Telegraph reported in Oct 2017 that there were plans for Sirisena to continue as President beyond 2025, although he had pledged on numerous occasions that more..

Brazilian apprehended with cocaine

Feb 17 (AD) A Brazilian male, arrived from Sao Polo via Doha Quatar was apprehended by the Customs Narcotic officials at BIA yesterday. The suspect has arrived in Sri Lanka in flight number QR 664 yesterday at 9.20am. The suspect had reportedly discharged 45 capsules containing cocaine at Negombo Hospital after undergoing X-ray test. 36-year-old suspect is still under medical surveillance and it is believed that more capsules (drugs inserted in to condoms) are to be dispatched. more..

'Division among 2 ruling parties led to defeat'

Feb 17 (NR) MP Ravi Karunanayake has attributed the LG Election defeat to the on-going division among the two ruling coalition partners of the govt. MP said the long delay to hold the LG Election also contributed to the defeat. He also noted the failure to promote progressive moves and the lack of substantial development projects contributed to the defeat. He stressed the UNP must correct their mistakes adding the party is divided at present and the division will not benefit the party. more..

What do Sri Lanka’s local elections mean for the future of democracy?

Feb 17 (AC) Sri Lanka’s recent local elections saw both the incumbent National Unity Govt and main opposition party, the TNA, suffer serious setbacks. By offering vacuous rhetoric on reconciliation instead of addressing the roots of the country’s political conflict, the National Unity Govt and TNA pushed both local Sinhalese and Tamils – the main contenders in the country’s national conflict – to distrust them as political actors. more..

Right to Information Commission inquiry into missing report

Feb 17 (ST) They mystery surrounding the missing report of the Presidential Commission that inquired into the death of former minister and SLMC founder M.H.M. Ashraff has taken a new turn, with the the commission secretary saying he handed over a copy to the National Archives. In a statement to the Right to Information Commission, Ashraff Commission Secretary said he had informed the Department of the National Archives that he had handed over the commission report more..

Galle Fort Library: A treasure trove of rare books

Feb 17 (ST) The Galle Fort Library built during the Dutch era (1638 – 1796) is an archive of historical documents and contains many rare books dating back to the year1832. The library is a national treasure and needs to be preserved. Identified as the first library of the country, it houses the first journal published in Sri Lanka -the Colombo Journal published in 1832- and also houses historical documentation dating back to 1871. The building first used as the official residence of more..

ගුවන් හමුදා සත්ත්ව රෝහල

Lessons from LG Poll

Feb 17 (CT) Today marks one week after the surprising and humiliating defeat of the Unity Govt co-led by UNP/UNF leader Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe whose party commands a majority in the House, at the LG poll. His defeat was in the hands of his political bête noire former President Rajapaksa whose new party, SLPP swept the polls garnering 44.65% of the vote whereas the UNP/UNF coalition finished a poor 2nd, getting a mere 32.63%, a massive 12.02% points behind the SLPP. more..

Sri Lanka: The new regime and the revolution

Feb 17 (FT) At a meeting in Davos in 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a speech supporting the agenda on globalisation. Meanwhile, back in the US, President Trump was highlighting the importance of the US confining its national boundaries. America only does not mean America alone, said Trump in Davos. President received a standing ovation for a speech that resonated the importance of collective action to build a better world. However, global reality, with its increasing political fractures, more..