From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Nothing much
Mains level : India - Sri Lanka
Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s presidency has started.
- After Ranil Wickremesinghe stepped down as Prime Minister, the new president appointed Mahinda as the new prime minister of a caretaker government.
- Another brother, Chamal, has been appointed a minister in the government.
- The government will hold forth until fresh parliamentary elections are held in 2020. The five-year term ends next August.
- Mahinda was barred from the presidential election because he had already held the office twice. He will run the country in close coordination with his brother.
- The parliamentary configuration did not allow the new dispensation to do away with progressive amendments to the Constitution.
- They aimed to check the powers of the executive presidency, including the two-time bar.
- The Rajapaksas could clock back on these 2015 amendments when the opportunity arises.
State of polity
- President Rajapaksa is confident of winning the 2020 parliamentary election.
- A divided opposition, engaged in a tug of war between Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa, is unlikely to put up a fight to the Rajapaksa.
- Sri Lankan voters have seen that cohabitation, by which the president and prime minister are from different parties leads to paralysis of governance.
- India has communicated its desire for hastening national reconciliation in Sri Lanka.
- In the post-war years, the rulers oversaw an unprecedented militarisation of the Sinhala Buddhist majority community.
- Voters from the majority community have not forgotten that it was the Rajapaksas who crafted a victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE).
- This powered Gotabaya’s majoritarian victory in these elections.
National reconciliation requires statesmanship of a tall order. Gotabaya emerged as the newest majoritarian right-wing leader. We are not sure if he can pull it off.