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Sri Lanka

The Central Committee of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) headed by President Maithripala Sirisena had last week decided to continue with the Executive Presidential system of governance in future and nominate President Sirisena, the very person who promised to abolish that very system during the last Presidential Election as its candidate at the next Presidential Election.

 

While the Parliament Secretary General’s letter clarifies that the House Democracy Partnership Agreement signed by Speaker Jayasuriya in Washington, and USAID’s SDGAP (Strengthening Democratic Governance and Accountability Project) are not one and the same, it also acknowledges that the SDGAP is in fact implemented by DAI. 

 

Few institutions in this country are as vilified as the executive presidency. The SLFP has been campaigning to abolish it since the very first day it was introduced under the 1978 Constitution. However, after they were elected to power, SLFP leaders did anything but abolishing the executive presidency.

 

It is now time that we discuss some key factors relating to democracy, given that the name of our country is the ‘Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.’ But, unfortunately, ours is still far from being a true democratic state. 

 

There is no Presidential Election around the corner, but the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), out of the blues, sprang a surprise in political circles saying that President Maithripala Sirisena would be its candidate next time. 

 

Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced his New Year resolution a little too prematurely, days before 2017 dawned when he pledged to bring down the government.

 

Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke had said “The world will not wait for us”. Yet, our institutions are weak, imperfect and badly managed. The staff is poorly motivated. They are continually under-paid, less trained and therefore incompetent. As a result, the ‘good governance’ had taken a back seat.  

 

The dawn of the New Year 2017 saw former President Rajapaksa’s public claim that he would oust the “Yahapalanaya” government of the conjoined parties this year, to munch along with. He left political circles excited about how and when he would take over if he did, when he chose a breakfast meeting with foreign correspondents to say he would work towards a change of government.  

 

Recent media reports revealing that a $13.7 million USAID programme for ‘democracy and accountability’ is to be implemented by a private US company alleged to have links to the CIA, raise several questions regarding the nature of the government’s relationship with the US. 

 

Is Sri Lanka ready to cash in on the trends created by the populist political tsunamis sweeping around the world? Tectonic shifts in voting patterns began to dominate democracies with the arrival of Le Penn in France (she sacked her father, the founder of the party for being too fanatical) is on the threshold of winning the next Presidential election.

 


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