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Title: Sri Lanka’s transition to nowhere
Authors: International Crisis Group
Keywords: Political violence; Political violence -- Sri Lanka; Sectarian violence -- Sri Lanka; Civil war -- Sri Lanka; Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam; Electoral politics -- Sri Lanka; Party politics -- Sri Lanka; Democracy -- Sri Lanka
Issue Date: 16-May-2017
Publisher: International Crisis Group
Citation: https://d2071andvip0wj.cloudfront.net/286-sri-lanka-s-transition-to-nowhere.pdf
Description: "In January 2015, the shock electoral defeat of President Mahinda Rajapaksa by his former ally, Maithripala Sirisena, rescued Sri Lanka from a slide into increasingly harsh nationalist authoritarianism. The victory of a broad coalition representing Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims gave hope that the country could address its longstanding political challenges: remedying the 60-year failure to grant Tamils a fair share of power on the Sinhala-majority island, and restoring for all citizens the rule of law, damaged by decades of politicisation, bitter ethnic bias and impunity for grave abuses committed during and after the civil war with the Tamil Tigers. The democratic benefits from the defeat of President Rajapaksa and the removal of his family and supporters from key government positions remain tangible. Sri Lanka’s political dysfunctions began long before the Rajapaksas took power, however, and remain daunting. Despite positive changes and promises of constitutional changes to come, there has been no substantial, sustainable progress on addressing the two biggest political challenges:  Creation of independent institutions capable of upholding rule of law and a concomitant reduction in the power of the national security state and military that grew dangerously under the Rajapaksas. Limited progress has depended on the commitment of a few key politicians. Recent developments, including actions by the president and the growing dominance of party-political calculations, have deepened doubts about the leadership’s ability and willingness to strengthen the rule of law.  Beyond generic statements in support of “reconciliation” and “addressing the causes of the war”, government leaders have done little to change the underlying ethno-nationalist dynamics that sustained the quarter-century of war. Promises of a new constitution have not been supported by articulation of a pluralist vision of the state as an alternative to one in which entrenched Sinhala Buddhist nationalism does much to alienate Tamils and Muslims. Until significant progress is made on both sets of issues there is little hope of lasting reconciliation. This report examines the growing difficulties faced by President Sirisena and his national unity government across the interlinked areas that need reform."
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2451/42271
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Appears in Collections:South Asian Born-Digital NGO Reports Collection Project

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