What I Owed My Mother Above All Else Was The Introduction To Jesus.

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

[Lakshmi Sylvia de Silva—Birth anniversary November 5th]

Lakshmi Sylvia de Silva

For historical, cultural and civilizational reasons, the Kremlin means much more to the Russian people, but to those of us from the global South, it has been a center of a special kind of power, a power that balances the world, a center of power that has housed history-making figures. Standing in the Kremlin, absorbing the historical atmosphere, imagining those figures, looking around and above at the glittering splendor, and then directly facing the third such outstanding Russian figure of world history in modern times, it was quite natural that I should think of my father, Mervyn de Silva, but it was less expected even by me, that I should think of my mother Lakshmi.

There was a direct progression that brought me from childhood to where I was standing on October 11th 2018 to hand my credentials over to President Putin and talk to him for several minutes, having earlier had a chat with the world’s most outstanding Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. When I asked Minister Lavrov whether he could recall Mervyn de Silva from his days in Colombo, he visibly brightened and remarked “Yes, of course! He and my Ambassador used to have discussions frequently and I used to be the translator!” On his visits to Moscow on which I would accompany him and my mother, Mervyn would meet top Russian (at the time, Soviet) foreign policy personalities such as Dr. Georgi Arbatov, the leading Soviet expert, advisor and negotiator on the USA and nuclear arms talks and write about his conversations in the international and Sri Lankan press. When I visited the think-tank the PIR Center in Moscow, the founder, Dr Vladimir Orlov, recounted how we were introduced, when I was ambassador to the UN Geneva, by his mentor, Gen. Dmitri Evstafiev (formerly of the KGB), Chairman of the PIR Center and a friend of my father.

This time around, I have not yet had a meal at the monumentally grand Stalin-era Hotel Ukraine, at which I stayed with my parents as a 7 year old boy on our first visit to Moscow as guests of the Soviet Foreign Ministry, when my father was not yet the editor of the Daily News, only the Deputy Editor of the Observer.

Just as Lenin said of the Revolution, my road back to Russia was hardly as “broad, smooth and straight as the Nevsky Prospect”, but that too was because of my father and the modern heritage of Russia, because I sought amateurishly to put into practice what I had read in the works of Lenin I had taken armfuls of from the libraries of his Russian, Chinese, Cuban, East German and Czech friends, and bought in bookshops in London and America in my early teens, utterly ignorant that linguistic, cultural and religious factors had come to the forefront in my society in a manner that deflected any attempted application of radicalized universalist Reason.

But why am I saying this on my mother’s birthday? Because, as I realized in the Kremlin’s magnificent Alexander Hall itself, my father would have been unable to achieve what he had if not for my mother, and I too would not have become what I am except for her, though I did rebel against her in a manner I never reacted against my father while I did dissent from him.

Continue reading ‘What I Owed My Mother Above All Else Was The Introduction To Jesus.’ »

Namal Rajapaksa Reveals in NDTV Interview That President Sirisena had Been Talking to his Father for about 4 or 5 Months Before Swearing in Mahinda as Prime Minister.

Less than a week after what was seen as an abrupt move by the President to replace the Prime Minister, Namal Rajapaksa, the son of the newly sworn-in Prime Minister, said that his father and the President had been in talks for around “four to five months”.

On 26 October, President Maithripala Sirisena fired the elected Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa. On Thursday, Namal Rajapaksa, in an interview with NDTV, said that his father was sworn in on the President’s “invitation and wish” and that the two leaders had been in talks for months.

Continue reading ‘Namal Rajapaksa Reveals in NDTV Interview That President Sirisena had Been Talking to his Father for about 4 or 5 Months Before Swearing in Mahinda as Prime Minister.’ »

Can Maithripala Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa Re-unite Politically?

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Ranil Wickremesinghe is Green!
Mahinda Rajapaksa is Blue!
President Maithripala Sirisena,
Which Political Colour Are You?

Former British prime minister and renowned statesman Sir Winston Churchill in a memorable radio speech over the BBC in 1939 referred to Russia in this way – “It (Russia) is a riddle,wrapped in a mystery,inside an enigma”. Keen observers of the current political scene in Sri Lanka may very well be excused if they veer around to the viewpoint that the Island’s current Executive President too fits Churchill’s description of being a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

“Enigmatic Mysterious Riddle”

The main reason for President Sirisena being perceived as an “enigmatic mysterious riddle” is due to the unpredictable and somewhat unorthodox political conduct of the “ Polonnaruwa Potentate”.It was only last week that this column described this peculiar political tendency in these words – “The perplexing political conduct of Sri Lankan President Pallewatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena has in recent times defied many norms and values of conventional politics. The turns,twists and turnarounds of the President are unfathomable to many. So uncertain have Maithripala’s political moves and manoeuvres been that the only certainty about Sirisena is his uncertainty. Many are his topsy -turvy inconsistencies. He has been consistent in his inconsistency.”
Continue reading ‘Can Maithripala Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa Re-unite Politically?’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Goes to “Temple Trees” for Private Meeting With Ranil Wickremesinghe Following Invitation By UNP Leader.

A sudden hush-hush meeting between ousted Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe and former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on Thursday was the cause of wild speculation, but officials said the discussion was aimed at a peaceful resolution to the constitutional deadlock.

Spokesman for the former Defence Secretary Milinda Rajapaksha said that the meeting had lasted seven minutes, from 4.10 p.m. to 4.17 p.m., and discussions were centred on measures to be taken to prevent “chaos” in the wake of the island’s roiling political crisis.

In a Facebook clarification about the meeting, the Spokesman said the former Defence Secretary had gone to Temple Trees on Wickremesinghe’s invitation.

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Goes to “Temple Trees” for Private Meeting With Ranil Wickremesinghe Following Invitation By UNP Leader.’ »

“We thought we were getting a Mandela as president. Instead we got a Mugabe.” – Ex-Minister’s Comment About President Sirisena.

FIRST TO GO was the navy honour guard, in crisp uniforms with brass buttons. Then the maintenance staff departed, followed by the cooks and gardeners and cleaners. The next day no drivers showed up, marooning a fleet of fancy cars in the compound’s garage. By the third day all but a token ten out of a normal complement of 1,008 dedicated security personnel—round-the-clock shifts of police, watchmen, bodyguards and the like—had abandoned Temple Trees, the stately official residence of the prime minister of Sri Lanka.

Its sole inhabitant, Ranil Wickremesinghe, insists for now on staying. The suave 69-year-old, a four-time prime minister, says he will only leave when it is clear that he is no longer constitutionally entitled to the residence. To his supporters, who have crowded Temple Trees to protect him from eviction, this means when he is no longer able to command a majority in the 225-seat parliament.

Perplexingly for this mildly prosperous island-state of 21m people, it is not clear whether Mr Wickremesinghe can or not.

Continue reading ‘“We thought we were getting a Mandela as president. Instead we got a Mugabe.” – Ex-Minister’s Comment About President Sirisena.’ »

118 of 225 MP’s Meet Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in Parliament Committee Room and Submit Resolution Refusing to Accept President Sirisena’s Appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister .

By Dharisha Bastians and Jeffrey Gettleman

Sri Lanka’s politics plunged into deeper turmoil on Friday when a majority of the country’s parliamentarians refused to recognize the appointment of the new prime minister amid rising tensions and accusations of millions of dollars in bribes.

Last week, President Maithripala Sirisena unexpectedly fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, accusing him of being inflexible and corrupt, and replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former president who is considered by many to be the strongman of Sri Lankan politics. Human rights investigators have accused Mr. Rajapaksa of war crimes dating to the country’s civil war.

Since last week both Mr. Rajapaksa and Mr. Wickremesinghe have claimed to hold power, setting off a constitutional crisis in this island nation, a popular tourist destination and a major producer of tea and coconuts.

While Mr. Rajapaksa has been meeting with foreign diplomats and making the rounds of government offices in the seaside capital, Colombo, Mr. Wickremesinghe has been holed up in the stately prime minister’s residence, Temple Trees. Hundreds of his supporters are standing guard outside, vowing to protect him.

Continue reading ‘118 of 225 MP’s Meet Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in Parliament Committee Room and Submit Resolution Refusing to Accept President Sirisena’s Appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister .’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Confirms in NDTV Interview that President Sirisena Had Insinuated at a Heated Cabinet Meeting. About an Indian Spy Agency Plotting his Assassinastion .


Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday confirmed that President Maithripala Sirisena had in fact insinuated that an Indian spy agency was involved in plotting his assassination at a heated Cabinet meeting two weeks ago.

Details of the explosive Cabinet meeting made local and international headlines, but President Sirisena and members of the Government staunchly denied the claims, which Presidential aides said nearly caused an ‘intra-State crisis’.

In an interview with NDTV’s Sreenivasan Jain from Temple Trees yesterday, when asked about President Sirisena’s alleged statement, Wickremesinghe said: “There was an insinuation. That’s how many members of the Cabinet construed it – maybe he said it in the heat of the moment.”

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Confirms in NDTV Interview that President Sirisena Had Insinuated at a Heated Cabinet Meeting. About an Indian Spy Agency Plotting his Assassinastion .’ »

Parliament Wont be Dissolved Even if the Vote on Account was Defeated in Voting Saus Nimal Siripala de Silva.

By Aruna Bogahawatte

Parliament would not be dissolved even if the Opposition defeated the government’s vote on account to be presented shortly, Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said, yesterday.

Addressing a media conference, at the SLFP headquarters in Colombo, the Minister said that the Opposition would not be able to muster support enough numbers to defeat government’s vote on account, which would be presented, when the new session of parliament commences, for the first three months of next year and thereafter the government would present a budget proper to parliament, De Silva said.

Continue reading ‘Parliament Wont be Dissolved Even if the Vote on Account was Defeated in Voting Saus Nimal Siripala de Silva.’ »

Pressure Mounts on Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to Re-Convene Parliament Immediately With or Without President Sirisena’s Sanction.

By Chathuri Dissanayake

With President Sirisena remaining non-committal on reconvening Parliament before 16 November despite assurances given, the constitutional crisis, now in its eighth day, remains in deadlock in spite of repeated requests to immediately call the House to session.

The United National Party (UNP) yesterday made a great show of numbers at the Party Representatives meeting held in Parliamentary Committee rooms called by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.

As Sirisena drags his heels on making an official announcement on reconvening the Parliament before 16 November, pressure is now mounting on Speaker Jayasuriya to act immediately.

Speaking at the Party representatives meeting, Leader of the House UNP Parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella called on the Speaker to represent the voice of the majority members of the Parliament to reconvene immediately.

Continue reading ‘Pressure Mounts on Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to Re-Convene Parliament Immediately With or Without President Sirisena’s Sanction.’ »

Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella Hands Over No Confidence Motion Against Purported Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Appointed on Oct 26 and Purported Govt to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya

Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella informed the Speaker in writing that the Parliament has no confidence in the newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa or the subsequent appointments.

The letter said “No-Confidence in the purported Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa or the purported Government appointed on or after 26 October”.

The Speaker has promised to include the motion in the Order papers on the first day Parliament reconvenes, Kiriella told Daily FT. “We have asked the speaker to include this, and he said he will do so,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella Hands Over No Confidence Motion Against Purported Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Appointed on Oct 26 and Purported Govt to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya’ »

Sirisena -Rajapaksa “Govt -in -Formation” Announces a Series of Relief Measures to Including the Reduction of Selected Essential Items to Ease the High Cost of Living

Noting that the Maha cultivation season had begun under favourable weather conditions throughout the country and the economy was about to gain an impetus with all hydro reservoirs reaching full storage capacity, the government yesterday announced a series of relief measures to ease the high cost of living by reducing prices of selected essential commodities including fuel.


The following is the text of a Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs communiqué titled Programme for Economic Revival explaining the new measures:

The President, and the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs have raised concerns regarding the serious setback in the economy as reflected in the persistently low growth rates during the last 3 years along with the rising cost of living. The Prime Minister is of the view that ill-conceived economic and financial policies of the previous government have led to this situation by marginalising local entrepreneurs, industries and domestic production.

Continue reading ‘Sirisena -Rajapaksa “Govt -in -Formation” Announces a Series of Relief Measures to Including the Reduction of Selected Essential Items to Ease the High Cost of Living’ »

“Purawesi Balaya” Co-convenor Gamini Viyangoda Alleges That the “Illegally Constituted Sirisena-Rajapaksa Govt Wants ti Sabotage Investigations Into Several High Profile Accountability and Mega-Corruption Cases.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Purawesi Balaya co-convenor Gamini Viyangoda alleges that what he calls the illegally constituted Sirisena-Rajapaksa government wants to sabotage investigations into several high profile accountability and mega corruption cases.

Dismissing President Maithripala Sirisena’s claims that he had invited his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa to take over premiership due to alleged conspiracy targeting him, Viyangoda insisted that both parties wanted to derail investigations.

Viyangoda alleged that President Sirisena had conveniently forgotten why he had been fielded as common candidate at the January 2015 presidential polls by a coalition comprising the UNP, the JVP, the SLMC and a collective of civil society organizations.

The civil society activist alleged that President Sirisena repeatedly interfered with investigations launched following the 2015 change of government. Viyangoda cited the case of President Sirisena thrice preventing the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) from arresting a former lawmaker (The Island withheld the name) close to the Rajapaksas for obvious reasons.

Continue reading ‘“Purawesi Balaya” Co-convenor Gamini Viyangoda Alleges That the “Illegally Constituted Sirisena-Rajapaksa Govt Wants ti Sabotage Investigations Into Several High Profile Accountability and Mega-Corruption Cases.’ »

Purported Removal of Wickremesinghe and Purported Appointment of Rajapaksa as PM are Both Unconstitutional and all Subsequent Steps Taken are “Void Ab Initio”- Dr.Jayampathy Wickramaratne

Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne has issued the following summary of his statement at a recent media briefing on the current crisis:

A constitutional crisis has been precipitated with President Sirisena purporting to remove Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe and purporting to appoint Mahinda Rajapakse MP as Prime Minister on 26 October 2018.

Before the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution (which came into force on 15 May 2015) Article 43 of the Constitution provided as follows:

“The President shall appoint as Prime Minister the Member of Parliament who in his opinions is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament.”

Continue reading ‘Purported Removal of Wickremesinghe and Purported Appointment of Rajapaksa as PM are Both Unconstitutional and all Subsequent Steps Taken are “Void Ab Initio”- Dr.Jayampathy Wickramaratne’ »

With Their Understanding of Political Power Being Different,Will There be a Fresh Power Struggle Between the “old” President Sirisena and his Newly Appointed Prime Minister Rajapaksa?

By Jayadeva Uyangoda

A major point of great significance being debated in Sri Lanka these days is the validity of the actions of Sri Lanka’s president to sack his prime minister and swear in a replacement. President has claimed a few times that his actions are entirely in accordance with the constitution. He has also clarified that prior to his action on October 26, he obtained legal advice.

President Sirisena, unlike his sacked prime minister, is not well versed with constitutional law. Therefore, it is entirely correct on his part to obtain legal clearance of his anticipated action from his advisors who posses professional background and expertise in law.

President’s lawyers seem to have advised him that it was legally correct to use the clause 42 (4) in sacking the incumbent prime minister and appointing a new person to the office of the PM.


Value Framework

The important question whether the Article 42 (4) under the 19th Amendment empowers the president to remove a prime minister from office at will. Since this clause is now so well known among the public, I refrain from quoting it. But, both the wording of that clause, which is a part of the 19th Amendment, and the constitutional value framework now operating in Sri Lanka do not grant the President authority to remove the prime minister from office.

Continue reading ‘With Their Understanding of Political Power Being Different,Will There be a Fresh Power Struggle Between the “old” President Sirisena and his Newly Appointed Prime Minister Rajapaksa?’ »

Sri Lanka’s parliament is like a veritable auction house where elected MPs can be purchased by the highest bidder

By Sasanka Perera

When President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Prime Minster Ranil Wickremesinghe on 26th October 2018, and prorogued Parliament until 16th November, he injected new meaning to Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority’s global sales pitch, ‘a land like no other.’ Indeed, in what land other than Lanka would a sitting Prime Minister be sacked without his knowledge in the late evening of a Friday with the cover of the impending weekend, followed by a gazette notification, also issued to confirm the sacking? For me, as a non-constitutional expert, the President’s Friday evening political stunt appears illegal and unconstitutional.

Since the 19th amendment to the constitution was introduced in 2015 with the blessings of both Sirisena and Wickremesinghe, the idea was to curb the unmitigated power of the executive presidency to remove the Prime Minister arbitrarily. Under its provisions, the Prime Minister will cease to be in office only due to death, resignation, or by losing his position as a Member of Parliament. Alternatively, this can also happen if the government itself lost the confidence of Parliament if it was defeated at the introduction of the annual budget or in a vote of no confidence (Articles 46: 2 and 48). But none of these have happened. Though the President has the power to appoint a new Prime Minister, it can only be done if the incumbent has lost power in one of these three ways.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s parliament is like a veritable auction house where elected MPs can be purchased by the highest bidder’ »

Two Cabinet Ministers, Five State Ministers and Six Deputy Ministers From the SLFP/UPFA Sworn in by President Sirisena.



Thirteen cabinet ministers, State ministers and Deputy were sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat today November 1st 2018. The Breakdown is as follows –

CABINET MINISTERS:

Duminda Dissanayake sworn in as Minister of Irrigation, Water Resources and Disaster Management

Dayasiri Jayasekara sworn in as Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training

STATE MINISTERS:

Piyasena Gamage sworn as State Minister of Youth, Women & Child Affairs

Lakshman Seneviratne sworn in as the State Minister of Defence

M.L.A.M. Hizbullah sworn in as the State Minister of Highways and Road Development

Continue reading ‘Two Cabinet Ministers, Five State Ministers and Six Deputy Ministers From the SLFP/UPFA Sworn in by President Sirisena.’ »

If Vote on Account To be Presented by Mahinda Rajapaksa When Parliament Re-convenes Is Defeated in a Vote,then President Sirisena Will Dissolve Parliament and Hold New Elections.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa have decided to go for a Vote on Account and not a vote of Confidence in their government when parliament meets later this month.

If the government wins the Vote on Account it means that the Rajapaksa government has enough support in parliament and that the government can stay. It is as good as a Vote of Confidence.

But on the other hand, if it is defeated on account of the ability of the opposition United National Front (UNF) to stay together, the President can dissolve parliament and order fresh elections.

Continue reading ‘If Vote on Account To be Presented by Mahinda Rajapaksa When Parliament Re-convenes Is Defeated in a Vote,then President Sirisena Will Dissolve Parliament and Hold New Elections.’ »

President Sirisena Will Re-convene Parliament on Nov 5th and not on Nov 16th but Speaker Will Allocate Prime Minister Seat to Mahinda Rajapaksa Gazetted as PM.


By

Meera Srinivasan

In the face of growing calls to end week-long political impasse in the country, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has reconvened Parliament on November 5.

“Parliament will reconvene on Monday,” a top official at the President’s office told The Hindu on Thursday morning, confirming Mr. Sirisena’s decision to partially revoke his order that suspended the House till November 16.

The announcement makes a floor test possible, where controversially deposed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe — sacked by Mr. Sirisena on Friday — and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, appointed in his place, could prove their competing claims to majority in the 225-member House.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Will Re-convene Parliament on Nov 5th and not on Nov 16th but Speaker Will Allocate Prime Minister Seat to Mahinda Rajapaksa Gazetted as PM.’ »

What is the Real Reason Behind Reduction of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Security Detail From 1000 to 10?

By C. A. Chandraprema

In the middle of the sensational events of the past few days, the sacking of one prime minister and the appointment of another, the multiple press conferences being held by the rival camps, the shooting incident at the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, the petroleum strike, and the crossovers and counter crossovers taking place, one event that went almost unnoticed was the reduction of the former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s (RW) security detail from around 1,000 to just ten. If this was a temporary tactic to get the squatters in Temple Trees out, then it is quite understandable. However, if it is a permanent reduction, then that means that the alleged assignation plot affair has gone much further than anyone imagined and that the President has heard something that we have not heard.

What is important here is not our gut feelings or opinions, but what kind of tape recordings President Maithripala Sirisena has been listening to. It is true that the UNP went to extremes to keep the Rajapaksas out of politics by bringing in the constitutional provision that dual citizens would not be allowed to contest elections. That was brought in specifically to keep Gotabhaya and Basil Rajapaksa out of politics. Then they restored the provision that anyone who has held the position of President for two terms cannot contest again to in order to keep Mahinda Rajapaksa out. Then they increased the age limit to contest a presidential election in order to keep Namal Rajapaksa out.

Continue reading ‘What is the Real Reason Behind Reduction of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Security Detail From 1000 to 10?’ »

President Sirisena Tells Four Ambassadors Including New US Envoy Alaina Teplitz That Sri Lankan Parliament will meet on Nov 5th as Originally Scheduled.

The Sri Lankan parliament will meet on November 5 as originally scheduled, President Maithripala Sirisena told the four Ambassadors who had presented their credentials on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Speaker formally announced the seating arrangements in parliament according to which the seat allotted to the Prime Minister will be given to Mahinda Rajapaksa who was appointed Prime Minister by President Sirisena on October 26.

Ambassadors who presented their credentials on Thursday were: Alaina Teplitz, Ambassador of the United State of America; Akira Sugiyama, Ambassador of Japan; Eric Lavertu, Ambassador of the Republic of France; Ashraf Haidari, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Tells Four Ambassadors Including New US Envoy Alaina Teplitz That Sri Lankan Parliament will meet on Nov 5th as Originally Scheduled.’ »

Sirisena Tells SLFP Organizers in Colombo That He Wont Remain as President for Even One Hour If Ranil was Re-appointed as Prime Minister.

By

Ajantha Kumara Agalakada

President Maithripala Sirisena has said that he would neither let the North and East to be merged nor allow the country to be a federal state.

He told the SLFP electoral organizers who met him in Colombo that he would have to be killed to get those two done.

The President has told the organizers that some groups had been adamant about the merger of the North and East and the formation of a federal state.

He has said he would not remain as President even for an hour if Ranil Wickremesinghe was reappointed the Prime Minister.

Continue reading ‘Sirisena Tells SLFP Organizers in Colombo That He Wont Remain as President for Even One Hour If Ranil was Re-appointed as Prime Minister.’ »

How Sampanthan Made Wigneswaran The TNA Northern Chief Minister Candidate In 2013

BY D.B.S.JEYARAJ

“Blow, blow, thou winter wind, Thou art not so unkind, As man’s ingratitude” – William Shakespeare ~ “As You Like It”

It’s official now!

Canagasabapathy Visuvalingam Wigneswaran has announced the launch of a new political formation known as the “Thamizh Makkal Koottani” meaning Tamil Peoples Alliance(TPA). The retired Supreme court Judge who was until a few days ago the Northern province chief minister has split from the “Thamizh Thesiya Koottamaippu” or Tamil National Alliance(TNA) and declared his intent to form the TPA which is expected to electorally target the TNA. Some may even argue that the raison d’etre for the ‘new’ TPA is the objective of politically undermining the ‘old’ TNA.

Rajavarothayam Sampanthan & Canagasabapathy Visuvalingam Wigneswaran

The Tamil National Alliance is the premier political configuration of the Sri Lankan Tamils. The chief constituent of the TNA is the Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK) referred to in English as the Federal Party(FP). The TNA contests under the House symbol of the ITAK in elections. CV Wigneswaran contested the Northern Provincial Council elections in September 2013 as the chief ministerial candidate of the TNA. He contested as the ITAK candidate in Jaffna district with the backing of other TNA Constituents at that time namely the TELO, PLOTE,TULF and EPRLF.
Continue reading ‘How Sampanthan Made Wigneswaran The TNA Northern Chief Minister Candidate In 2013’ »

Group of Mostly Western Foreign Envoys Meeting Ousted Prime Minister Formally is Unprecedented and Unacceptable says Former Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam.


Tamara Kunanayakam, Economist, Expert on international affairs, Former Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN at Geneva, Former Chairperson/Rapporteur of the UN Intergovernmental Working Group on the Right to Development yesterday asked why West had been silen on some grave wrongdoings of the ousted Premier Wickremesinghe.

Kunanayakam, was speaking at a briefing organized by Eliya Organization.
Eliya Organisation is headed by former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Tamara Kunanayakam said: “What is the explanation for the West’s silence on the postponement of local government elections for some three years and delays in holding Provincial Council elections, all under the Premiership of Ranil Wickremesinghe?

“What is the explanation for the West’s silence on the Central Bank-Perpetual Treasuries bond scams under Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Premiership when he was Minister in charge of the Central Bank and for which his close ally, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, has been held responsible and is evading arrest? The bond scams have been described as the biggest ever corruption scandal and biggest-ever cover-up in the history of Sri Lanka.

“Why has there been no call for credible investigations by the West on information of a plot to assassinate the President and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, a plot in which a Cabinet Minister is allegedly involved?”

Continue reading ‘Group of Mostly Western Foreign Envoys Meeting Ousted Prime Minister Formally is Unprecedented and Unacceptable says Former Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam.’ »

The Speaker has the Constitutional Responsibility to the Nation to Summon Parliament While Informing the President It is Being Done to Prevent the President from Violating His Own Constitutional Responsibility.

By Prof. Saviri Goonesekere

The President and his lawyers have argued that the removal of the Prime Minister on 26. 10. 2018 in the aftermath of the collapse of the current coalition government was lawful under the Constitution of Sri Lanka. His subsequent appointment of a new PM and Cabinet at his individual discretion, is also represented as being lawful under the Constitution.

This has been challenged by others, who have used legal arguments to support their views. They have argued that with the collapse of the coalition there is a President, a sitting Prime Minister and Cabinet, without any identification of the government and PM in office, who succeeded the collapsed coalition government.

In short there is no lawful government in office, because there are institutional gaps.

This represents a fundamental division of legal opinion.

In these circumstances the President’s actions must be guided not just by what his own lawyers advise, but by his critically important duty to “respect and uphold the Constitution” (Art. 33 (1) (a) as amended by 19th Amendment).

Continue reading ‘The Speaker has the Constitutional Responsibility to the Nation to Summon Parliament While Informing the President It is Being Done to Prevent the President from Violating His Own Constitutional Responsibility.’ »

Instead of Opining Whether President’s Actions are Unconstitutional or not as an Attorney -General Ought to, Jayantha Jayasuriya Keeps Mum Saying Its “Inappropriate” to Comment.

By A special Correspondent

Advising one party whose position may be at odds with the President’s position could put the Attorney General in a pickle, which may explain why he has declined to give an opinion, lawyers told the Daily FT.

The experts said that, based on views expressed by President Sirisena and the letter from the Speaker querying the constitutionality of Wickremesinghe’s sacking, it would have been clear to the AG that they could be opposing parties.

However, experts added that, be that as it may, as a matter of propriety, the AG should advise the President of the unconstitutionality of his actions, and while presenting the position of the President to court (what the President claims and what he feels), the AG owes a duty of care to uphold the Constitution as all civil servants must – by stating to court the correct position under the Constitution (what the law is) without being ‘wishy-washy’ or trying to push clearly wrong arguments on constitutional interpretation just to keep his client happy.

Continue reading ‘Instead of Opining Whether President’s Actions are Unconstitutional or not as an Attorney -General Ought to, Jayantha Jayasuriya Keeps Mum Saying Its “Inappropriate” to Comment.’ »

Newly Appointed Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Wants to Move Away from Liberalisation Policies and Promote Populist,Protectionist Policies Including Farmer Subsidies,Tax Reduction and Fuel Price Formula Abolition.

By Uditha Jayasinghe

In a predictable policy U-turn, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was appointed as Finance Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday, backed promoting populist and protectionist economic policies that would give subsidies to farmers, do away with the fuel formula and possibly reduce taxes.

Rajapaksa, addressing the staff of the Finance Ministry after assuming duties, also supported moving away from liberalisation policies championed by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera under the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Cabinet that focused on promoting exports of tradable goods, removing uncompetitive tariffs and formulating Free Trade Agreements. Fiscal consolidation measures that were spearheaded by Samaraweera to reduce Budget deficits were also criticised by Rajapaksa as having increased pressure on rural masses.

Continue reading ‘Newly Appointed Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Wants to Move Away from Liberalisation Policies and Promote Populist,Protectionist Policies Including Farmer Subsidies,Tax Reduction and Fuel Price Formula Abolition.’ »

Nailing Canards: Why President Sirisena’s Actions Remain Illegal, Unconstitutional, And Illegitimate

By

Dr.Asanga Welikala

There have been intense public debates over the meaning and interpretation of the Constitution, and especially the far-reaching changes introduced by the Nineteenth Amendment in 2015, since the dramatic and ongoing attempt at an unconstitutional transfer power that began on the evening of Friday 26th October. Unfortunately, the discussion has been clouded by the attempts of those who are trying to uphold the approach taken by Maithripala Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa, to present arguments that are – at best – simply wrong, without any valid legal basis, or based on a lack of understanding of the Constitution – or at worst – motivated by a deliberate desire to lie, dissimulate, distort, and misinform the public.

Such attempts gather greater traction than they should in a context defined by a history of weak communication by the legally constituted government, a largely uncritical and unprofessional mainstream media, and an electorate that has been poorly informed about the major changes established by the Nineteenth Amendment in 2015 – a constitutional amendment that was enacted as a direct implementation of the historic mandate for democratisation and good governance given by 6.2 million Sri Lankans of all communities and classes at the presidential election of 8th January 2015.

The following is an attempt to identify some of these false arguments, and to present clear rebuttals to them based on what the Constitution actually provides, and on the principles that ought to inform the working of a democratic constitutional system that the people of Sri Lanka mandated in 2015.

Continue reading ‘Nailing Canards: Why President Sirisena’s Actions Remain Illegal, Unconstitutional, And Illegitimate’ »

Defiant Ranil Steps Out of “Temple Trees” Clad in Bullet-proof Vest To Address Huge Crowds Demonstrating Against “Attempted Coup” By Maithripala and Mahinda to Retain Power Through Extra-Constutional Means.


Thousands of protestors yesterday Oct (30) thronged the Liberty Roundabout in an unexpectedly massive show of support for mounting calls on the Speaker of Parliament to reconvene the House and end the constitutional deadlock, even as Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was controversially deposed as Prime Minister last week, stood his ground for a fifth straight day.

Speaking to the large crowds gathered outside his official residence, Wickremesinghe used the words “attempted coup” for the first time to speak of his removal,which many legal experts have called illegal and extra-constitutional.

“The attempted coup is not a threat to a single person or political party; it is an attack on the very foundations of our nation – law, order, democracy, the Constitution- and therefore a threat to every Sri Lankan,” he told the protestors.

Issuing a broadside at President Maithripala Sirisena, the ousted Prime Minister,whose sacking of Wickremesinghe triggered a major constitutional crisis last Friday (26), charged: “It is the people that are sovereign in Sri Lanka, not the President. Convene Parliament now and let the people’s will be done.”

Continue reading ‘Defiant Ranil Steps Out of “Temple Trees” Clad in Bullet-proof Vest To Address Huge Crowds Demonstrating Against “Attempted Coup” By Maithripala and Mahinda to Retain Power Through Extra-Constutional Means.’ »

“The SLFP and the SLPP will eventually succeed in gaining parliamentary approval for their new administration in mid-November”- The Economist

By

The Economist Intelligence Unit

Sri Lanka is set to undergo another period of political turmoil as the country faces a constitutional crisis. The growing tensions and ideological differences within the ruling coalition between the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) came to the fore on October 26th, when the president, Maithripala Sirisena (who is also the leader of the SLFP), announced the sacking of the prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe of the UNP.

He also announced the appointment of the former president and leader of the opposition Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the new prime minister.

Mr Wickremesinghe has dismissed the president’s move as unconstitutional and insisted that he is still the prime minister as he commands a parliamentary majority. The UNP officially holds 106 seats in the 225-seat parliament, only seven short of a simple majority, against a combined tally of 95 seats for the SLFP and the SLPP.

However, a day after the October 26th announcement, Mr Sirisena suspended parliament until November 16th, denying Mr Wickremesinghe the chance to prove that he still commands a majority.

The Economist Intelligence Unit believes that Mr Sirisena’s move to dissolve parliament is unconstitutional, as the president does not have the power to do so until four and a half years of its term have passed unless the move is supported by a two-thirds majority in the legislature.

Continue reading ‘“The SLFP and the SLPP will eventually succeed in gaining parliamentary approval for their new administration in mid-November”- The Economist’ »

President Sirisena Can Dissolve Parliament According to Westminster Conventions if Vote on Account Interim Budget Presented by “New” Govt is Defeated in Parliament says Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.

By

Kelum Bandara

Newly-sworn in Education and Higher Education Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said today President Maithripala Sirisena had ‘inherent powers’ to dissolve Parliament in case the Vote on Account to be presented by the new government was defeated.

He told a hurriedly summoned news conference that the foremost task of the new government was the presentation of a Vote on Account to appropriate finances for the operation of government for an interim period.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Can Dissolve Parliament According to Westminster Conventions if Vote on Account Interim Budget Presented by “New” Govt is Defeated in Parliament says Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.’ »

National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka Issues Call to uphold the Constitution, democracy and rule of law in Sri Lanka

The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) is deeply concerned by the constitutional crisis prevailing in the country following the events that transpired on the 26th of October 2018 and the subsequent proroguing of parliament by His Excellency the President.

The NCEASL reiterates that the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the land, and that any steps taken regarding the appointment and/or removal of the Prime Minister of the country, should abide by the Constitution and be governed by due process and democratic principles.

Continue reading ‘National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka Issues Call to uphold the Constitution, democracy and rule of law in Sri Lanka’ »

The Logic of the Republican Constitution and the Relative Autonomy of the Presidency: A Political Science Perspective.

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

“Sovereign is he who decides on the exception”
— Carl Schmitt

At the heart of the current debate is the issue of national and people’s sovereignty, on the one hand, vs. the supremacy of the legislature on the other. This debate is based on a monumental misperception.

There is a complete misunderstanding of the Constitution. Some inhabit a mental universe in which Sri Lanka has a Westminster model, i.e. a parliamentary system or preponderantly parliamentary of government. It does not. It has a mixed system which is predominantly an executive Presidential system. The dice is still laden in favor of the Presidency.

It is very true that the 19th amendment imposed certain fetters on the Presidency. However, the 19thamendment is not a new Constitution. The 19th amendment is by definition, a modification of the existing Constitution. That modification is a structural change, not a system change. It is delusional and absurd that some behave as if we have a new Constitution—a project which was indeed on the neoliberal agenda but has so far failed.

Continue reading ‘The Logic of the Republican Constitution and the Relative Autonomy of the Presidency: A Political Science Perspective.’ »

China is Closely Following What is Happening in Sri Lanka but does not Intend Interfering in the Affairs of a Friendly Nation.

By

Atul Aneja

China on Monday said it did not intend to interfere in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs, but was “closely following” the situation in the island nation, and had contacted the leaders involved in the crisis.

“China and Sri Lanka are close and friendly neighbors. We are closely following in the changes in the situation in Sri Lanka,” foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.

Continue reading ‘China is Closely Following What is Happening in Sri Lanka but does not Intend Interfering in the Affairs of a Friendly Nation.’ »

While India Seems Annoyed at Being Dragged Into Sri Lanka’s Internal Politics, China Seizes Island’s Current Crisis as a Political Opportunity.

By

Marwaan Macan-Markar

Sri Lanka is on a knife edge after President Maithripala Sirisena abruptly sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday, a move seen partly as a reaction to India’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering.

Sirisena engineered what some experts have called a “coup” and installed former political foe Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new prime minister. Back in January 2015, Sirisena defeated the incumbent Rajapaksa in a presidential election, after which the latter claimed that India had helped to oust him.

On Sunday afternoon, New Delhi issued its first comments. “India is closely following the recent political developments in Sri Lanka,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. “As a democracy and a close and friendly neighbor, we hope that democratic values and the constitutional process will be respected.”

India’s nod to the constitution puts Sirisena on the spot. It echoes a growing chorus of Sri Lankan constitutional scholars who have challenged Sirisena’s unilateral dismissal of his governing partner. They say he exceeded the constitutional powers granted to the president in deposing the premier, who heads the largest party in parliament.

Continue reading ‘While India Seems Annoyed at Being Dragged Into Sri Lanka’s Internal Politics, China Seizes Island’s Current Crisis as a Political Opportunity.’ »

President Sirisena Tells Meeting of 40 Diplomatic Mission Heads in Colombo that “70 to 75% of People Wanted Ranil Wickremesinghe Removed as Prime Minister”.

By

Meera Srinivasan

Amidst mounting pressure to summon the Sri Lankan Parliament that has been suspended since Saturday, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya is expected to soon reconvene the House, following a meeting with all-party representatives scheduled on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the deposed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday said that “a majority” of MPs has asked for reconvening the Parliament, and “the Speaker will fix a date soon”.

Sri Lanka is facing a political storm since Friday, when President Maithripala Sirisena in a snap move appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister in place of Mr. Wickremesinghe. The following day, Mr. Sirisena prorogued Parliament for more than two weeks.

“We believe that the Speaker is likely to consider reconvening the Parliament since several parties have made the request formally,” an Opposition lawmaker, requesting anonymity, told The Hindu.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Tells Meeting of 40 Diplomatic Mission Heads in Colombo that “70 to 75% of People Wanted Ranil Wickremesinghe Removed as Prime Minister”.’ »

Unprecedented Constitutional Crisis in Sri Lanka is Beginning of a Dangerous Phase in On Going Three -Cornered Power Struggle Among Sirisena, Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa.

By

Jayadeva Uyangoda

Last Friday, Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremeinghe and appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa, his political rival until the day before, as the new Prime Minister — a surprising move that Mr. Sirisena made in order to resolve a deepening political dispute between himself and Mr. Wickremesinghe. But this act has only pushed Sri Lanka into an unprecedented constitutional crisis, beginning a potentially dangerous phase of an on-going three-cornered power struggle among three leaders.

At the centre of the crisis is the lack of clarity as the new Prime Minister seems to have been appointed without a constitutionally valid vacancy for the position.

Crux of the issue

The constitutional provision that Mr. Sirisena has cited in the official letter to Mr. Wickremesinghe does not grant the President authority to remove a Prime Minister from office. Section 42(4) of the Constitution merely enables the President to appoint a PM. The President has taken the position that since he is the appointing authority, he also has the implicit power to sack the PM. The PM is not a public servant who can be sacked by the appointing authority at his will. It is a constitutional office with protection from the executive. This is the crux of the constitutional dispute.

Continue reading ‘Unprecedented Constitutional Crisis in Sri Lanka is Beginning of a Dangerous Phase in On Going Three -Cornered Power Struggle Among Sirisena, Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa is Finance and Economic Affairs Minister While Dr.Sarath Amunugama is Foreign Affairs Minister in President Sirisena’s New Cabinet;Douglas Devananda and Arumugan Thondaman Take Over Portfolios Held by DM Swaminathan and P.Digambaram Earlier.

Dr.Sarath Amunugama, social anthropologist, historian and administrator, has been appointed Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister in the new government formed by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa following the ouster of Ranil Wckremesinghe from the Premiership last Friday.

President Maithripala Sirisena, by convention, continues to be Defense Minister. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa takes the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs; Nimal Siripala de Silva is Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation; Mahinda Samarasinghe is Minister of Ports and Shipping.

Mahinda Amaraweera is Minister of Agriculture. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya is Minister of Power and Renewable Energy; Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe is Minister of Education and Higher Education. Wijith Wijayamuni Zoysa becomes Minister of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources Development and Rural Economic Affairs.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa is Finance and Economic Affairs Minister While Dr.Sarath Amunugama is Foreign Affairs Minister in President Sirisena’s New Cabinet;Douglas Devananda and Arumugan Thondaman Take Over Portfolios Held by DM Swaminathan and P.Digambaram Earlier.’ »

12 New Ministers Sworn in by President Sirisena Including UNP Renegades Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe as Education/Higher Education Minister and Wasantha Senanayake as Minister of Tourism/Wildlife

Twelve new ministers were sworn into Sri Lanka’s new cabinet on Monday amidst a severe political crisis prevailing in the island country.

The President’s Media Division said the new ministers were sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat in capital Colombo.

Former President Mahinda Rajapakse who was sworn in as the nation’s new Prime Minister by President Sirisena last Friday took oaths as the new Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) MP, Nimal Siripala de Silva took oaths as the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, UPFA MP, Dr Sarath Amunugama as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, UPFA MP Mahinda Samarasinghe as the Minister of Ports and Shipping, UPFA MP, Mahinda Amaraweera as the Minister of Agriculture and UPFA MP Ranjith Siyambalapitiya as the Minister of Power and Energy.

Continue reading ‘12 New Ministers Sworn in by President Sirisena Including UNP Renegades Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe as Education/Higher Education Minister and Wasantha Senanayake as Minister of Tourism/Wildlife’ »

Ex-minister Arjuna Ranatunga Arrested and Released on Bail After Petroleum Corp Trade Unions Strike Disrupts Fuel Distribution in Country.

By Nuwan Senarathna

MP Arjuna Ranatunga was arrested yesterday by Colombo Crime Division over the shooting incident that resulted in one death at Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), but was shortly released on bail.

Police Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara said Ranatunga was accused of being involved in the shooting incident, where a 34 year old man was killed and two others were injured, after Ranatunga’s body guard allegedly opened fired at a group of protesters at the CPC premises when he tried to enter his office.

Ranatunga was taken hostage inside the CPC premises, and had to be removed by the Special Task Force (STF).

Continue reading ‘Ex-minister Arjuna Ranatunga Arrested and Released on Bail After Petroleum Corp Trade Unions Strike Disrupts Fuel Distribution in Country.’ »

Karu Jayasuriya May Consult Party Leaders and Re-convene Prorogued Parliament on Wednesday Oct 31st as 129 of 225 MP’s Urge Speaker to Do So Despite President’s Prorogation.


Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya has summoned a meeting of party representatives at 11 AM today, after 129 MPs placed their signatures on letters urging him to reconvene Parliament, despite the presidential proclamation suspending sittings.

Aides to the Speaker said he could not summon a party leaders’ meet, since that must be held in Parliament, so party representatives will meet outside the legislature. The meeting will be held in the Speaker’s Office in Parliament.

The letters with 129 signatures came separately, but totalled well over half the 225 MPs in the legislature.

Six JVP MPs also signed a letter to the Speaker, urging him to reconvene the 225-member legislature, joining Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan with his 16 MPs, who issued a similar letter on Sunday night.

Continue reading ‘Karu Jayasuriya May Consult Party Leaders and Re-convene Prorogued Parliament on Wednesday Oct 31st as 129 of 225 MP’s Urge Speaker to Do So Despite President’s Prorogation.’ »

“What happened last Friday was an illegal, anti-constitutional and opportunistic act” – Ranil Speaks Out in Hard-hitting Statement.

Following is the full text of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s address to the nation on Oct 29th 2018).

Venerable Maha Sanga, venerable priests of all other religions and friends.

On 8 January 2015, 62 lakhs of people of this country got together as a common front to re-establish democracy in the country and to re-establish peace and reconciliation. We rallied together against corruption, fraud and thuggery, and at the same time, to economically develop this country.

On 8 January 2015, all the political parties and the forces, including Maduluwawe Sobithamaha Thero and other priests, civil society as well as former President Chandrika Kumaratunga got together and made Maithripala Sirisena the President of this country. Thereafter, I was appointed as the Prime Minister and we continued as the Government. In August 2015,after the General Elections, I became the Prime Minister as the Member of Parliament who commands the confidence of the majority of the Parliament.

Our Government functioned as a national Government. We took various measures to re-establish Democratic Freedom in this country. We appointed Independent commissions. Through the enactment of the Right to Information Act and National Audit Act, we created the democratic freedoms which we never enjoyed in this country. We protected human rights of all. We established the freedom of media. We provided various reliefs to the people. We increased the salaries. We have implemented mega development projects to economically develop the country.

Continue reading ‘“What happened last Friday was an illegal, anti-constitutional and opportunistic act” – Ranil Speaks Out in Hard-hitting Statement.’ »

Sirisena in His Self-Serving Cynical Televised Speech Tries to Justify his Unconstitutional Sacking of Wickremesinghe and Installing Rajapaksa as PM.

By Wasantha Rupasinghe

In a televised speech yesterday(Oct 28) , Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena attempted to justify his political coup last Friday, in which he unconstitutionally sacked Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and installed former president Mahinda Rajapakse to replace him.

The removal of Wickremesinghe signals a deepening of the country’s political crisis, which is being fuelled by a deteriorating economy and growing resistance to the IMF’s austerity demands.

The upheaval ends the unstable national unity government formed in 2015 when Sirisena defected from the Rajapakse government and, with the backing of Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP), won the presidential election. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), which has effectively been split into pro-Sirisena and pro-Rajapakse factions, has now reunified to back Sirisena’s actions.

The battle lines have now been drawn. Wickremesinghe has refused to accept his dismissal and has remained in Temple Trees, the prime ministerial residence. In response to his call for a sitting of parliament to prove his government still commands a majority, Sirisena has prorogued parliament until November 16.

Rajapakse ally Wimal Weerawansa, who is notorious for his demagogy, yesterday issued an ultimatum to Wickremesinghe to leave Temple Trees and threatened to take action to oust him. Already one man is dead and two other were injured in a violent clash between pro-Rajapakse thugs and a former minister and his body guards.

Sirisena’s self-serving and cynical speech was to justify his anti-democratic actions, cover up the underlying reasons, and appeal to layers of the population who increasingly opposed the Wickremesinghe’s government’s attacks on living standards.

Continue reading ‘Sirisena in His Self-Serving Cynical Televised Speech Tries to Justify his Unconstitutional Sacking of Wickremesinghe and Installing Rajapaksa as PM.’ »

Fear Returns to Sri Lanka After The First Unconstitutional Transfer of Power in Island’s Independent History.

By Maria Abi-Habib and Dharisha Bastians

When Sri Lanka’s president was elected in 2015, he was given a sweeping mandate from voters to investigate accusations of war crimes and graft against his predecessor’s government and to cancel deals with China that had plunged the country into debt.

Now the president, Maithripala Sirisena, has become an agent of the attempted comeback of the man he replaced, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Mr. Sirisena has unilaterally suspended Parliament and the cabinet and declared that Mr. Rajapaksa would immediately become the new prime minister.

The parliament and public that once rallied around Mr. Sirisena are now bitterly divided over what his critics call an unconstitutional attempt to consolidate power.

The country is split down the middle, with parliamentarians slightly tilted toward Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is standing his ground despite attempts to replace him with Mr. Rajapaksa.

Sri Lanka, one of Asia’s oldest democracies, has now been left with two prime ministers claiming legitimacy, and concerns that violence might be used to break the stalemate.

Continue reading ‘Fear Returns to Sri Lanka After The First Unconstitutional Transfer of Power in Island’s Independent History.’ »

President Sirisena’s Cabinet Comments Strike a “Raw” Nerve in India 🇱🇰🇮🇳

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Maithripala Sirisena is a man of many surprises. Sri Lanka’s sixth executive president has a penchant to make controversial remarks and startling revelations on more than one occasion. Most of these sensational disclosures explode in the public domain with a powerful bang and then fizzle out into pathetic whimpers. The latest in this series were some comments purportedly made by President Sirisena at the cabinet ministers meeting last week concerning an alleged conspiracy to assassinate him and former Defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The remarks which seemingly insinuated that India’s overseas espionage agency known as “RAW” (research and analysis wing) was involved in the plot, naturally struck a raw nerve in New Delhi. This could have caused a major dispute between India and Sri Lanka but thankfully a potential crisis seems to have been averted for the moment due to diplomatic damage control done adroitly by our big neighbor across the Palk straits. And in Sri Lanka, once again sections of the media were made the scapegoats!

Pic via: https://twitter.com/MaithripalaS

It all began with a news story in English appearing in the Website “Economy Next”.
Continue reading ‘President Sirisena’s Cabinet Comments Strike a “Raw” Nerve in India 🇱🇰🇮🇳’ »

M.H.M. Ashraff Was The Single Most Popular Mass Figure In Eastern Muslim Politics: Seventieth Birth Anniversary Commemoration.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

October 23rd is the 70th Birth anniversary of legendary Muslim Congress leader M.H.M. Ashraff. The dynamic lawyer – politician hailing from Eastern Sri Lanka would have completed the Biblical life span of three score years and ten if he were among the living today. Alas! This was not to be as Ashraff passed away in a helicopter crash on September 16th 2000 just five weeks ahead of his 52nd Birthday. His untimely demise created a vacuum in the Island’s Muslim politics that is yet to be filled. This article however is to commemorate Ashraff’s 70th Birthday and celebrate his life.

M. H. M. Ashraff (23 October 1948-16 September 2000)

Muhammed Hussain Mohammed Ashraff was a pioneering leader of Sri Lankan Muslims in particular and the country in general. He was ahead of his times in more ways than one. He realised the vast untapped political potential of his community and strove to charter a course that would have enabled his people to have their grievances redressed and aspirations fulfilled.

At a time when the conflict within the island was perceived in simplistic terms as a “Sinhala versus Tamil” issue, the efforts of Ashraff brought to the fore the problems faced by Muslims. The eloquent and effective advocacy of the Muslim cause by Ashraff led to a general awareness that the seemingly intractable ethnic crisis was not merely a Sinhala-Tamil bilateral issue but a trilateral one involving Muslims too.
Continue reading ‘M.H.M. Ashraff Was The Single Most Popular Mass Figure In Eastern Muslim Politics: Seventieth Birth Anniversary Commemoration.’ »

“President Sirisena’s Actions Have Put Sri Lankan Democracy In Peril”- “The Hindu”Editorial


(Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Hindu” of October 29th 2018 Under the Heading “Avoidable crisis: on Sri Lanka’s political crisis”)

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to withdraw his faction from the ruling coalition and replace Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has plunged the country into a political crisis. This was further complicated, a day later, by the President’s move to suspend Parliament till November 16.

Mr. Sirisena’s fast-deteriorating relationship with Mr. Wickremesinghe was an open secret, and there were indications that he could be negotiating a possible partnership with Mr. Rajapaksa. But his sudden and secret manoeuvre caught everyone, including senior politicians, completely unawares. And before the details and implications of the political drama that was unfolding could sink in, Mr. Rajapaksa had been sworn in Prime Minister, beaming as he greeted the President, his chief rival until days ago.

Mr. Wickremesinghe has termed his replacement “unconstitutional” and maintains that he remains Prime Minister. Confident of a majority, he has challenged the Rajapaksa-Sirisena combine to take a floor test in the 225-member House. By suspending Parliament, Mr. Sirisena is seen to have exposed his own insecurity about garnering the required strength.

The next two weeks will be crucial, with attempts at horse-trading and assertions of political loyalty amid uncertainty. None of these is uncommon in Sri Lankan politics, but the circumstances, which are entirely of Mr. Sirisena’s making, have led to a political upheaval that was avoidable.

Continue reading ‘“President Sirisena’s Actions Have Put Sri Lankan Democracy In Peril”- “The Hindu”Editorial’ »

A Coup In Asia’s Oldest Democracy: A Statement By Sri Lankan Overseas Students


We are a group of Sri Lankan students currently pursuing our education overseas. We write today to express our deep concern about Sri Lanka’s ongoing constitutional and political crisis.

Since 1931 Sri Lanka has had an imperfect and fragile, yet electorally and legally mandated, democracy. On Friday the 26th of October, for the first time since Sri Lanka’s independence, an unconstitutional and illegal transfer of power occurred. President Maithripala Sirisena, violating his oath of office and the mandate given to him on January 8th 2015, attempted to appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa, Member of Parliament for the Kurunegala District, as Prime Minister.

This was unconstitutional. The 19th Amendment deleted the President’s power to remove the Prime Minister at will. While the President still appoints the Prime Minister, he has no implied power of removal since this is now governed by explicit provisions in the Constitution. Moreover, the withdrawal of the UPFA from the national government makes no difference: the Constitution does not provide that Cabinet ceases to function, and therefore that the Prime Minister loses his position, when one party in a national government withdraws its support.

Continue reading ‘A Coup In Asia’s Oldest Democracy: A Statement By Sri Lankan Overseas Students’ »

Sirisena Sacking Wickremesinghe and Appointing Rajapaksa as Premier Cannot be Described as a “Constitutional Coup” Because There is no Constitutional Basis For the President to Remove the Prime Minister.

By

Dr Reeza Hameed

President Sirisena’s sacking of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place has been described by some as a ‘constitutional coup’. The phrase ‘constitutional coup’ is a contradiction in terms, or ‘an oxymoron’, because it would imply that although President Sirisena’s actions amounted to a coup, his actions are sanctioned by the constitution. There is no constitutional basis for the President to have removed the Prime Minister.

At the press conference held on 27 October 2018, as reported in Adaderana (‘GL explains how PM was removed and why Parliament was prorogued’, October 27, 2018), Dr G.L. Peiris, the chairperson of the SLPP, attempted to justify the legality of President Sirisena’s actions, putting forward two points in support. They are:

1. The cabinet of ministers stood dissolved by the very fact of exceeding the numerical limit prescribed in Article 46(1).

2. The President as the appointing authority has also the power to dismiss him. In fact, the phrase used by Dr Peiris is ‘compulsory removal’.

What Dr Peiris sought to do was to provide an ex post facto rationale for the President’s action but the reasons he put forward for the removal cannot be reconciled with those given by the President. Nor are they reflected in the position taken by the President in his gazette notification.

The gazette notification announcing the President’s decision stated that “the President in the exercise of powers conferred upon him under the Constitution …, has removed Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe … with immediate effect.” (see The Gazette Extraordinary no. 2094/43 dated Friday 26 October 2018). There is no reference in this gazette to the specific provision or provisions of the constitution under which the President purported to act when removing the Prime Minister from office.

Continue reading ‘Sirisena Sacking Wickremesinghe and Appointing Rajapaksa as Premier Cannot be Described as a “Constitutional Coup” Because There is no Constitutional Basis For the President to Remove the Prime Minister.’ »

Dr.Jayampathy Wickramaratne Says Sacking Ranil as PM is Unconstitutional Because 19th Amendment Restrains President From Removing Premier and Points out Ranil was Appointed UNF Prime Minister and Not National Govt PM.

By

Sandun A Jayasekera

Parliamentarian Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne today said that the removal of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was unconstitutional as President Maithripala Sirisena appointed Mr. Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister of the UNF government on August 21, 2015 and not as the Prime Minister of the national government.

He said that three Ministers namely Tilak Marapana, Wijedasa Rajapakshe and Mangala Samaraweera were also appointed to the Cabinet after 2015 general election. The national government was formed on September 2nd on an agreement reached between the UNP and the UPFA and accordingly the Cabinet was expanded to 42 members.

“This means if and when the UPFA leaves the government status quo remains and the government under Ranil goes back to the UNF Cabinet remained before September 2. Therefore, removal of Ranil from the premiership is unlawful and unconstitutional,” Dr. Wickramaratne who is also a constitutional expert stressed.

Continue reading ‘Dr.Jayampathy Wickramaratne Says Sacking Ranil as PM is Unconstitutional Because 19th Amendment Restrains President From Removing Premier and Points out Ranil was Appointed UNF Prime Minister and Not National Govt PM.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Allegedly Played Up the Issue of RAW Involvement in an Assassination Plot To Increase Maithripala Sirisena’s Insecurity Leading to President Replacing Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

By P.K.Balachandran

It was at the request of President Maithripala Sirisena, that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa took up the Premiership of Sri Lanka on Friday, sources close to Rajapaksa said.

The Rajapaksa group decided to accept the offer when it found that the President was very keen, the sources, which did not want to be identified, said.

Till a few days ago, Sirisena had been wavering. On the one hand, he was wanting to align with Rajapaksa to set up an United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government without any links with the United National Party (UNP) headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

But on the other hand, he was reluctant to accommodate Rajapaksa, his rival since 2015, when he had ditched Rajapaksa to become the candidate of the Wickremesinghe-led opposition in the Presidential election.

The choice for Sirisena thus between a rock and a hard place or the devil and the deep sea. He had serious issues with both.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Allegedly Played Up the Issue of RAW Involvement in an Assassination Plot To Increase Maithripala Sirisena’s Insecurity Leading to President Replacing Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.’ »

President Sirisena says the main reason why he appointed a new Govt with Mahinda as PM was due to the name of Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Surfacing in CID Inquiries About Alleged Assassination Plot.

President Maithripala Sirisena said last night that the main reason he decided to form a new government with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was the plot to assassinate him. He claimed that the name of Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka had surfaced during investigations by the Criminal Investigation Department, but it was suppressed due to political interference.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena says the main reason why he appointed a new Govt with Mahinda as PM was due to the name of Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Surfacing in CID Inquiries About Alleged Assassination Plot.’ »

Group of Workers Loyal to President Confronted Arjuna Ranatunga as he Tried to Enter His Office at the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation

By Dharisha Bastians and Jeffrey Gettleman

Sri Lanka’s escalating political crisis turned deadly on Sunday when the bodyguard of a former cabinet minister fired on a crowd, killing at least one person and wounding two others, the police said.

The former petroleum minister, Arjuna Ranatunga, was a member of the cabinet that President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved on Saturday, one day after ousting Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and swearing in the former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Many lawmakers and government ministers have denounced the move as unconstitutional, and mobs have attacked government officials — deepening concerns that this island nation is headed for more turmoil.

The gunfire broke out when Mr. Ranatunga tried to enter his office at the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corp. and was confronted by a group of workers loyal to the president. The guard opened fire, a police spokesman, Ruwan Gunasekera, said, killing one person and injuring two others, one critically. The guard was arrested.

Continue reading ‘Group of Workers Loyal to President Confronted Arjuna Ranatunga as he Tried to Enter His Office at the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation’ »

One Killed and Two Injured as Bodyguards of Arjuna Ranatunga Fire To Protect Petroleum Minister from Sirisena Loyalist Mob Besieging him in his Office.

One man died and two others were injured when shots were fired on October 28 in Sri Lanka, as a constitutional crisis over the shock sacking of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe turned violent.

Bodyguards for Petroleum Minister Arjuna Ranatunga fired live rounds as a mob loyal to Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena besieged the Cabinet member in his office, police said.

One of those shot in the melee, a 34-year-old man, died shortly after being admitted to the Colombo National, hospital spokeswoman Pushpa Soysa told AFP.

Continue reading ‘One Killed and Two Injured as Bodyguards of Arjuna Ranatunga Fire To Protect Petroleum Minister from Sirisena Loyalist Mob Besieging him in his Office.’ »

Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Issues Statement Explaining Why He Accepted President Sirisenas Invitation to Become Prime Minister and Form Interim Government.

Issuing his first statement after taking oaths as the Prime Minister, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he would eschew politics of hate and set up an interim government protecting human rights of all citizens.

The full statement issued by Rajapaksa is as follows,

“UNP-UPFA government came to an end as the result of the UPFA leaving the coalition. The responsibility of appointing a new government then fell on the President. I was invited to accept the position of Prime Minister with a view to forming a new government. Today, our country is in a state of uncertainty. Details of a plot to assassinate the President and the former Defence Secretary have come to light. Those involved in this conspiracy are being exposed by their own actions. A wave of crime has hit the country and the criminal underworld is on the rise.

Continue reading ‘Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Issues Statement Explaining Why He Accepted President Sirisenas Invitation to Become Prime Minister and Form Interim Government.’ »

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Tells President That Parliament Should Have Been Prorogued in Consultation With the Speaker and Requests Sirisena to Reconsider Prorogation.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in a letter to the President Maithripala Sirisena informed today that he had received a request asking that the privileges of Ranil Wickremesinghe be protected until the person with the confidence of a majority in Parliament is established as Prime Minister.

The UNP in a letter to Speaker requested yesterday to protect the Privileges of Ranil Wickremesinghe under the Article 42 (4) of the Constitution.The letter, signed by the UNP Chairman Kabir Hashim and General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, said that Ranil Wickremesinghe still held the confidence of majority of Parliament.

The letter to the President said:

Continue reading ‘Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Tells President That Parliament Should Have Been Prorogued in Consultation With the Speaker and Requests Sirisena to Reconsider Prorogation.’ »

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Recognizes Ranil Wickremesinghe Who “Obtained a Mandate to Secure Democracy and Good Governance” and Asks President Sirisena to Restore PM’s Privileges.


Sri Lankan Parliament’s Speaker on October 28 recognised Ranil Wickremesinghe as the country’s Prime Minister, saying he has “obtained a mandate to secure democracy and good governance”, in a major relief to the embattled UNP leader who was sacked by President Maithripala Sirisena in a dramatic move late on October 26.

In a letter to Mr. Sirisena, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya questioned the President’s decision to suspend Parliament till November 16, saying it will have “serious and undesirable” consequences on the country.

He asked the President to restore Mr. Wickremesinghe’s privileges as the leader of the government who has “obtained a mandate to secure democracy and good governance”.

Continue reading ‘Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Recognizes Ranil Wickremesinghe Who “Obtained a Mandate to Secure Democracy and Good Governance” and Asks President Sirisena to Restore PM’s Privileges.’ »

Leader of the Opposition Rajavarothayam Sampanthan Wants Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to Uphold the Rule of Law by Immediately Convening Parliament Prorogued Unilaterally by President Sirisena.

Sri Lanka’s opposition leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan has asked parliament to be summon immediately, as a constitutional crisis deepened in to violence.

“Recognizing the necessity for upholding the supremacy of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and also, Recognizing the Supremacy of Parliament comprising of the democratically elected representatives of the people,” Sampanthan said in a letter to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.

Continue reading ‘Leader of the Opposition Rajavarothayam Sampanthan Wants Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to Uphold the Rule of Law by Immediately Convening Parliament Prorogued Unilaterally by President Sirisena.’ »

New Regime Tightens its Grip on Power With President Sirisena Taking Over State Media Institutions and Law and Order Ministry Which Controls the Police.

By K. Ratnayake

In what amounts to a political coup, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister on Friday evening and appointed former president Mahinda Rajapakse to replace him.

In doing so, Sirisena ended the “unity government” between his faction of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP), which has ruled the country since 2015.

The 19th Amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution, enacted in April 2015, prunes back the considerable powers of the executive president, including his right to unilaterally decide to remove a prime minister.

Sirisena and Rajapakse kept their unconstitutional move strictly secret from all but their closest associates right up until the last minute. The coup is an expression of the huge political crisis confronting the Sri Lankan ruling class amid a profound economic crisis, rising geo-political tensions and a resurgence of class struggle by workers and the poor.

The new regime is tightening its grip on power. Pro-Rajapakse thugs drove out staff believed to be sympathetic to Wickremesinghe from state-owned television. Sirisena immediately took control of these TV channels and the state-owned newspaper house, Lake House. He also took over the law and order ministry, which controls the police.

Continue reading ‘New Regime Tightens its Grip on Power With President Sirisena Taking Over State Media Institutions and Law and Order Ministry Which Controls the Police.’ »

President Maithripala Sirisena Explains in Detail the Circumstances Under Which He Parted Ways With Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Appointed Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM.

(Text of President Maithripala Sirisena’s Address to the Nation Delivered on October 28th 2018)

I have decided to address the nation today in the context of the recent political developments in the country, I thought it was essential to clarify the path we have to take in the future and to describe the reasons and the background, why the current political change was necessary. Today, we are at the dawn of another year. On January 08, 2015, it was with so many expectations what nearly six million and two hundred thousand (6.25 million) people of my country chose me as your first servant and the leader of this nation. I wish to pledge that I will always fulfil the expectations and honour the trust and faith you have placed on me, even at the cost of my life.

Politicians like us who are committed to serve the people, should always look at what is right for the people and will usher prosperity to the nation, instead of one’s political affiliations. I believe that you remember the circumstances under which I became the common candidate in 2014 and the dangers I had to face in consequence. It was a risk and a challenge that no politician in the history of the country wanted to accept. I faced this challenge despite the dangers to me and my family. I hope you will believe that the decision I took on 26th of October 2018, is a decision that is far more challenging and risky than the decision I took in November 21, 2014. I must state with respect, honour, and humility that I took both those decisions for the sake of the people and the country. However, Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s political conduct was unbecoming of civilized politics and belittled the victory achieved risking my life in 2015. I believe that Mr Wickremesinghe and his group of closest friends, who belonged to a privileged class and did not understand the pulse of the people conducted themselves as if shaping the future of the country was a fun game they played. I feel that Hon Wickremesinghe grossly violated the very principles of good governance we pledged to uphold.

I am sure you remember that on the evening of January 09th, 2015, moments after taking oaths as President, I appointed Mr Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka although he had only 47 members in the Parliament. However, I am sure you know that Mr Wickremesinghe destroyed the concept and the noble expectations of good governance by his actions during the last few years. Corruption and fraud spread widely in the country. Thereby, he destroyed the pure and noble expectations of the 49 political parties, organisations, trade unions, and civil society groups including the UNP, who signed an agreement in support of the common candidate. I hope you remember a statement I made recently at a Senanayake commemoration event. The political visions of great leaders such as D.S. Senanayake, Dudley Senanayake, J.R. Jayewardene, and Ranasinghe Premadasa made the UNP a mighty political party, enriched with indigenous thinking, our cultural heritage. They stood for the national identity and territorial integrity of the country. They were committed to protect everything what could be called ‘ours’. It is my sincere hope that the present leadership of the UNP be blessed with the wisdom of those great leaders to embrace a vision with noble objectives that can take our country to the new world.

Continue reading ‘President Maithripala Sirisena Explains in Detail the Circumstances Under Which He Parted Ways With Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Appointed Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM.’ »

Mobs Comprising Podujana Peramuna Supporters Allegedly Acting Under The Orders of Kandy District MP Keheliya Rambukwella Forcibly Take Control of State Media Institutions Lake House, ITN, Rupavahini and SLBC.

By Sandun Jayawardana

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) loyalists have taken control of most state media institutions after the swearing in of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister.

SLPP union leaders or members at state media institutions, including Lake House,Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC), Independent Television Network (ITN) and the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), were issuing directives while previously appointed staff members in senior positions kept away from work yesterday. SLPP union members moved in swiftly to take control of the institutions soon after President Maithripala Sirisena swore in Mr. Rajapaksa as the new Prime Minister on Friday evening.

A senior Lake House source said a group of SLPP loyalists within Lake House had barged into the layout section of the Daily News on Friday night and forcibly changed the layout of yesterday’s edition. The SLPP union members had told Lake House staff that they were acting under orders from the new Prime Minister’s office through Kandy District MP and former Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella.

Continue reading ‘Mobs Comprising Podujana Peramuna Supporters Allegedly Acting Under The Orders of Kandy District MP Keheliya Rambukwella Forcibly Take Control of State Media Institutions Lake House, ITN, Rupavahini and SLBC.’ »

Appointing a New Prime Minister and Proroguing Parliament is an Audaciously Conscienceless Extra-Constitutional Gamble By President Sirisena.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

If just a quarter of the time reserved by the United National Front (UNF) for juggling with the 19th Amendment by mediocrities of the day professing to be constitutional experts, cosseting Colombo’s privileged inner circles and crooning over applause by the ‘international community’ had been spent in reaching out to Sri Lanka’s rural and provincial constituenciesto rebuild a shattered deficit of trust, it may not have had to face the constitutional (and perhaps) existential crisis that erupted this Friday.

Precipitating Sri Lanka into chaos

And this country, along with its utterly aghast populace may have been spared the humiliation if not ridicule that the spectacle of two Prime Ministers, both insisting that they are legitimately invoking that title, invited across the world. Doubtless that extra-constitutional gamble on Friday with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa being sworn in as a new Prime Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena while Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declared to all and sundry that he was still the Prime Minister, was both audacious and completely conscienceless.

Continue reading ‘Appointing a New Prime Minister and Proroguing Parliament is an Audaciously Conscienceless Extra-Constitutional Gamble By President Sirisena.’ »

The best thing that the UNP can do at this stage is to give their assent to go for fresh Parliamentary elections.

by C.A. Chandraprema

Sri Lankan politics is full of surprises and on Friday came the biggest surprise of our lifetimes – Mahinda Rajapaksa was suddenly sworn in as Prime Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe was sent a letter informing him that he has been sacked.

Later, the newly sacked Mr. Wickremesinghe summoned a press conference and defiantly claimed that he was still the PM and that this matter will have to be settled in Parliament where he claimed he has the majority.

The letter sacking Mr. Wickremesinghe had simply announced that he was being removed on the basis of Article 42(4) of the Constitution. What Article 42 (4) of the Constitution says is that “The President shall appoint as Prime Minister the Member of Parliament, who, in the President’s opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament”.

The reason why this came as a surprise on Friday was because nobody ever thought they would see the day that President Mainthipala Sirisena would sack Ranil Wickremesinghe and appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM. However, discussions to bring about this result had in fact been going on for months after the local government election of February this year. The initiative to have RW removed through a vote of no confidence was the first step in this process.

Continue reading ‘The best thing that the UNP can do at this stage is to give their assent to go for fresh Parliamentary elections.’ »

Tamil National Alliance in a Quandary Over Its Future Course of Action After the Coalition Government it Supported Falls Through.

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s first ever Northern Provincial Council completed its five-year term last week. About 25 years after the erstwhile North-Eastern Council lapsed, people living in the Tamil-majority areas had propelled their preferred political representatives to power in September 2013, sensing new hope post-war. Just as the Tamil National Alliance’s (TNA) first brush with governance ended recently, the island’s northern Tamil polity found itself further fragmented.

A day after completing his tenure, outgoing Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran launched the Thamizh Makkal Kootani, parting ways with the TNA. The new political formation, he said, would uphold the fundamentals of Tamil nationalism.

Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance in a Quandary Over Its Future Course of Action After the Coalition Government it Supported Falls Through.’ »

Namal Rajapaksa MP Tells “New York Times” Confidently “Of Course we have more than 130 Seats in Parliament”

By Dharisha Bastians and Maria Abi-Habib

President Mathripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka on Saturday suspended Parliament for two weeks as he sought to shore up support for unseating the country’s prime minister, escalating a political crisis.

Mr. Sirisena suspended Parliament after ousting Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday, a move many lawmakers and government ministers denounced as unconstitutional. Mr. Sirisena swore in as prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, a popular former president who was accused of human rights abuses and corruption during a decade in power.

Mr. Wickremesinghe struck a defiant tone, claiming he was still prime minister. “Convene Parliament, and I will prove it,” he said.

By Saturday afternoon, many lawmakers were vowing to stick by Mr. Wickremesinghe, demanding that a formal count be taken in Parliament to determine who held a majority in the house. That’s when Mr. Sirisena announced that he was suspending Parliament. He also dismissed the leaders of several government institutions, replacing them with loyalists.

Continue reading ‘Namal Rajapaksa MP Tells “New York Times” Confidently “Of Course we have more than 130 Seats in Parliament”’ »

President Sirisena Prorogues Parliament Until Nov 16th to Enable Newly Appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to Garner a Majority in Parliament Through Horse Trading; Talks on with several Tamil and Muslim MP’s and a UNP Faction Led by Ravi Karunanayake.

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has ordered that Parliament should be prorogued with effect from October 27th 2018 to November 15th 2018.

Deputy General Secretary of Parliament Neil Iddawala confirmed to the media that Parliament has been prorogued based on the instructions of the President.

The office of the Speaker has announced that Parliament will reconvene on the 16th of November.

Earlier Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had stated he had the majority of MP’s in Parliament and had wanted Parliament to meet on Sunday October 28th so that a vote could be taken.

Wickremesinghe was confident of demonstrating his majority on the floor of the House if an early vote was taken because of the support of the United National Front MP’s along with those of the TNA.

President Sirisena has now checkmated Ranil by proroguing Parliament. The proroguing will also affect the presentation of the Budget scheduled for early November.

Sirisena’s move will also prevent the UNP from presenting an impeachment motion in Parliament against the President. Only a minimum 0f 75 MP’s is needed to submit an impeachment motion.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Prorogues Parliament Until Nov 16th to Enable Newly Appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to Garner a Majority in Parliament Through Horse Trading; Talks on with several Tamil and Muslim MP’s and a UNP Faction Led by Ravi Karunanayake.’ »

Crucial Vote to Determine Whether Newly Appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Or Ousted Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe Has a Majority in Parliament Likely to be Taken on Nov 16th

By P.K.Balachandran

The appointment of former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the country’s Prime Minister replacing Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday, was sudden but not surprising.

Given the highly fractured relationship between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe for the past year or two, and the mounting inner party pressure on the President to sack Wickremesinghe and appoint Rajapaksa in his place, Friday’s development was always in the realm of possibility.

But the timing of the President’s action was not anticipated.

There was mounting pressure on Sirisena from his colleagues in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to link up with Rajapaksa overlooking past animosity; oust Wickremesinghe, and cut off links with his United National Paty (UNP).

It was argued that Rajapaksa was after all a veteran of the SLFP; that he had left the SLFP only after Sirisena betrayed him and joined UNP to defeat him the January 8, 2015 Presidential election.

After founding the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), Rajapaksa had proved that he was the most popular leader in the country through the February 10, 2018 local body elections.

Sirisen and Rajapaksa had been meeting, though not under the glare of publicity. What was transpiring between the two, was only in the realm of speculation.

They had met very recently over dinner in former Minister S.B.Dissanayake’s house. The fact that both denied the known fact, fueled speculation that something significant was afoot. But no one knew for sure what exactly it was.

Continue reading ‘Crucial Vote to Determine Whether Newly Appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Or Ousted Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe Has a Majority in Parliament Likely to be Taken on Nov 16th’ »

A Statement, a Rejection and a Press Conference Led to President Sirisena Removing Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister and Replacing Him With Mahinda Rajapaksa.

By

Meera Srinivasan

At least three recent developments appear to have incrementally led to President Maithripala Sirisena’s sudden decision on Friday, to sack Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replace him with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

According to top political sources in Colombo it was “a statement”, “a rejection” and “a press conference” that escalated tensions to the brim.

While Sri Lankans knew how fragile their national unity government was, three years since it ascended to power, few expected the fallout to manifest at this time and in this manner. A Rajapaksa-Sirisena regrouping has been on the cards and local media widely reported that they met recently, to discuss an alliance.

All the same, there was no certainty about their coming together, given the complex dynamic between the duo since 2015, when Mr. Sirisena defected from Mr. Rajapaksa’s government and dislodged him. As they joined hands to claim power on Friday, apparently challenging constitutional and parliamentary logic, it was a jolt to many, including some of Mr. Sirisena’s own supporters.

How did the said three factors contribute to the current political crisis?

Continue reading ‘A Statement, a Rejection and a Press Conference Led to President Sirisena Removing Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister and Replacing Him With Mahinda Rajapaksa.’ »

Sri Lanka Podu Janaperamuna Unionists “Take Over” Daily News,Silumina and Dinamina Editorial Departments at Lake House After Mahinda Rajapaksa Is Sworn in as Prime Minister; Mobs Attack Rupavahini ,ITN and Take Over Newsrooms. .

By Marianne David

State-owned Lake House newspapers Daily News, Dinamina and Silumina Editorials were taken over by Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) unions last night, Daily FT learns.

A highly-placed source linked to Lake House told Daily FT that page one of today’s Daily News had been changed by Mahinda Rajapaksa loyalists.No violence had been reported during what was termed as the “unofficial takeover” of Lake House.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Podu Janaperamuna Unionists “Take Over” Daily News,Silumina and Dinamina Editorial Departments at Lake House After Mahinda Rajapaksa Is Sworn in as Prime Minister; Mobs Attack Rupavahini ,ITN and Take Over Newsrooms. .’ »

Sirisena’s descent from the heroic standard-bearer of high idealism to a despised villain of the lowest form of low politics has been truly Miltonian.

By

Dr.Asanga Welikala

There were three dramatic announcements on the evening of Friday 26th October 2018 from the Presidential Secretariat, which occurred in the following order: (a) the announcement of the withdrawal of the UPFA from the government; (b) the swearing-in of Mahinda Rajapaksa before President Maithripala Sirisena as the Prime Minister; and (c) the announcement that the President has informed Ranil Wickremesinghe in writing that he has been removed from the office of Prime Minister under Article 42(4).

Even if the legality of the procedure and the clarity and meaning of the relevant constitutional provisions can be debated, the fact that the event was planned in complete secrecy, with no consultation of Parliament or giving the serving Prime Minister and Cabinet the courtesy of even a short prior intimation before the course of action was made public, that it was suddenly carried out on a Friday evening, and that it has taken the country by total surprise, point to some extremely questionable motives.

Continue reading ‘Sirisena’s descent from the heroic standard-bearer of high idealism to a despised villain of the lowest form of low politics has been truly Miltonian.’ »

Narendra Modi Govt in New Delhi is carefully Weighing Its Options About Current Political Situation in Sri Lanka Without Rushing in Hastily.

By

Suhasini Haidar

Hours after the dramatic turn of events in Colombo, that saw Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena withdraw support from the government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and swear in former President Mahinda Rajapaksa instead, the Modi government appears to be weighing its options cautiously, for a number of reasons.

New Delhi and the Ministry of External Affairs chose not to jump the gun on developments in the Sri Lankan capital, allowing them to play out their hand, especially given the fact that two separate Prime Ministers now lay claim to the official residence at Temple Trees. A final result will only follow a show of strength in parliament.

Continue reading ‘Narendra Modi Govt in New Delhi is carefully Weighing Its Options About Current Political Situation in Sri Lanka Without Rushing in Hastily.’ »

TNA Spokesperson MA Sumanthiran MP Says Recent Turn of Events is an “Attack on the Idea of a National Govt”.

By

Meera Srinivasan

The Opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA), an amalgam of parties representing Sri Lanka’s northern Tamils, has expressed disappointment at the recent turn of events, terming it an “attack on the idea of a national government”.

Speaking to The Hindu on Saturday, TNA spokesman and Jaffna district parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran said: “The TNA’s position has always been that the coalition should remain for its full term and perhaps even beyond.”

Continue reading ‘TNA Spokesperson MA Sumanthiran MP Says Recent Turn of Events is an “Attack on the Idea of a National Govt”.’ »

Defiant Ranil Wickremesinghe Says ” I am Still the Prime Minister. I Have The Majority of the House and I Will Continue to Function as the Prime Minister”.

By Chathuri Dissanayake

A defiant Ranil Wickremesinghe held steadfast to his position as Prime Minister yesterday, following President Maithripala Sirisena’s arbitrary move to swear in Mahinda Rajapaksa as Premier, throwing the country into a constitutional crisis.

In a snap move, Sirisena removed his party from the Coalition Government he had formed with Wickremesinghe three years ago and swore in Rajapaksa as Prime Minister last evening. Heavy security was in force Friday night at the Presidential Secretariat with yellow barricades blocking the entrance and large number of armed Police and Army personnel.

Meanwhile, addressing reporters at Temple Trees, Wickremesinghe asserted: “I am still the Prime Minister.”

Continue reading ‘Defiant Ranil Wickremesinghe Says ” I am Still the Prime Minister. I Have The Majority of the House and I Will Continue to Function as the Prime Minister”.’ »

Grinning Mahinda Shakes Maithripala’s Hand While Being Sworn in as Prime Minister as Erstwhile Arch Rivals Join Together to Oust Ranil as Premier.


By Maria Abi-Habib in Islamabad and Dharisha Bastians in Colombo

Sri Lanka plunged into a constitutional crisis Friday after the president ousted the prime minister, a move that took the nation by surprise and was denounced as illegal by some government ministers.

Sri Lankans were glued to their television sets Friday after President Maithripala Sirisena dismissed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa, a popular former leader who was accused of human rights abuses, brazen nepotism and excessively close ties to China when he had governed the country.

The swearing-in ceremony, broadcast live, was a moment of high political drama for Sri Lanka, with Mr. Rajapaksa grinning as he shook Mr. Sirisena’s hand.

The men were former political allies until the president broke away from Mr. Rajapaksa’s party to unseat him in 2015.

Continue reading ‘Grinning Mahinda Shakes Maithripala’s Hand While Being Sworn in as Prime Minister as Erstwhile Arch Rivals Join Together to Oust Ranil as Premier.’ »

President Maithripala Sirisena Creates Constitutional Crisis By Removing Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister and Appointing Mahinda Rajapaksa in his Place as Premier.

Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena said he had sworn in ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister and while his former coalition partner Ranil Wickremesinghe insisted he was still in office, throwing the country into a constitutional crisis.

President Sirisena said a letter had been delivered to Wickremesinghe saying he had been removed with immediate effect, as he was the person who appointed him under Article 42 (4).

Wickremesinghe had written back saying under Article 46 he is still the constitutionally appointed Prime Minister.

Continue reading ‘President Maithripala Sirisena Creates Constitutional Crisis By Removing Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister and Appointing Mahinda Rajapaksa in his Place as Premier.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Says He Remains as Prime Minister Under 40(2) of Constitution Unless and Until Removed by Parliament

by Zacki Jabar

Ranil Wickremesinghe insisted last night that he was still the Prime Minister even as Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as Prime Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena.

Addresssing the media at Temple Trees, Wickremesinghe said that in terms of 40 ( 2 ) of the Constitution, he was still the Prime Minister and would function in that position, until he was removed by Parliament. ” The No – Confidence Motion brought against me on April 4 ,this year was defeated convincingly . So if anyone wants to oust me, he should go back to Parliament and show his majority in the House. Until such time I remain the Prime Minister.”

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Says He Remains as Prime Minister Under 40(2) of Constitution Unless and Until Removed by Parliament’ »

Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sworn in as Prime Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena While UPFA Quits UNP Led Coalition Govt

by Norman Palihawadana and Shamindra Ferdinando

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was yesterday sworn in as Prime Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena.

Newly elected Prime Minister Rajapaksa told The Island last night that the new government was faced with daunting challenges but it would overcome them all.

Rajapaksa said that action would be taken to hold long overdue Provincial Council polls and national polls in due course. Presidential polls are is scheduled for 2019 and parliamentary polls for 2020.

Rajapaksa assured that the new government would address public grievances.

The new PM was sworn in at the Presidential Secretariat at 7.20 pm soon after the UPFA had informed Speaker Karu Jayasuriya of its decision to quit the UNP-led National Unity Government.

Continue reading ‘Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sworn in as Prime Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena While UPFA Quits UNP Led Coalition Govt’ »

DIG Nalaka Silva Arrested and Remanded For Alleged Plot to Kill his Former Deputy SSP Prasanna Alwis and not Over Alleged Plot to Assassinate President Sirisena.

Sri Lanka’s police Thursday arrested Deputy Inspector-General Nalaka Silva in connection with a plot to kill his former deputy, Senior Superintendent Prasanna Alwis, official sources said.

Silva’s arrest and subsequent remanding in custody till November 7 had nothing to do with the alleged plot to assassinate President Maithripala Sirisena, but his suspected plan to attack his number two at the Terrorism Investigation Department.

Continue reading ‘DIG Nalaka Silva Arrested and Remanded For Alleged Plot to Kill his Former Deputy SSP Prasanna Alwis and not Over Alleged Plot to Assassinate President Sirisena.’ »

President Sirisena Who Nominated Deepani Wijesundara and Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena as Single Candidates to Constitutional Council as Supreme Court and Appeal Court Judges Adds More Nominees to Avoid Protests From Civil Socierty and Possible Confrontation With CC.

Sri Lanka’s Constitutional Council Thursday averted a major crisis in the judiciary by avoiding controversy and instead recognising integrity and honesty in filling top slots in superior courts.

The Council applied high standards of probity and rectitude in considering the nominees for the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal sent in by President Maithripala Sirisena.

President Sirisena last week nominated a single candidate each for the two superior courts, Deepani Wijesundera for the Supreme Court and Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena for the Court of Appeal.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Who Nominated Deepani Wijesundara and Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena as Single Candidates to Constitutional Council as Supreme Court and Appeal Court Judges Adds More Nominees to Avoid Protests From Civil Socierty and Possible Confrontation With CC.’ »

President Sirisena Determined to Develop Colombo Port East Container Terminal by Sri Lanka Ports Authority Alone and Will Not Give in to Combined Pressure by India and UNP Says POrts Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

President Maihripala Sirisena has reiterated that the development of the East Container Terminal (ECTA) of the Colombo Port would be handled exclusively by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).

Ports and Shipping Minister and SLFP spokesman Mahinda Samarasinghe yesterday explained President Sirisena’s stand, at the weekly media briefing at the SLFP office on T.B. Jayah Mawatha.

Samarasinghe said the Cabinet would finalise the matter on Tuesday (Oct.30). Responding to media queries, Samarasinghe ruled out the possibility of the President giving in to combined pressure from India and the UNP.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Determined to Develop Colombo Port East Container Terminal by Sri Lanka Ports Authority Alone and Will Not Give in to Combined Pressure by India and UNP Says POrts Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe.’ »

Former Terrorism Investigation Division Director DIG Nalaka de Silva Arrested After 4 Days of Interrogation and Remanded Until November 7th by Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne

By

Shavini Madhara

The former Director of the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) Deputy Inspector General of Police Nalaka de Silva was remanded until November 7 by Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne yesterday evening.

The Criminal Investigation Department arrested Nalaka de Silva yesterday following interrogations. The former Director of the TID was questioned by the CID on four separate days previously.

Nalaka de Silva has been allegedly accused of plotting to assassinate SSP Prasanna Alwis, the President and a former Defence Secretary.

Anti Corruption Movement Operations Director Namal Kumara earlier revealed that the former director of Terrorist Investigation Division DIG Nalaka de Silva discussed with him an alleged plot to kill some political leaders.

Criminal Investigations Department officials on October 23 informed Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne that the voice recordings of telephone conversations between former Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) DIG Nalaka Silva and Anti Corruption Movement Operations Director Namal Kumara matched.

The CID informed the Fort Magistrate based on the Government Analyst’s report that 123 out of 124 voice samples of both Nalaka Silva and Namal Kumara matched.

On that occasion investigators cited that some data of Namal Kumara’s mobile phone has been deleted and they cannot be retrieved as the department does not have the necessary technology .

They said that Namal Kumara’s mobile phone would be sent to Hong Kong to retrieve the deleted data.

Investigators also disclosed that Namal Kumara had served in the Sri Lanka Air Force and later joined the Sri Lanka Army without being discharged from the Air Force. The CID told court that Namal Kumara had later served at the Avante Garde Security Service too and an investigation is being carried out into Namal Kumara.

The Law and Order Ministry, which acted immediately following revelations of the alleged plot, had recommended the National Police Commission to send Mr.de Silva on compulsory leave.

Later, the NPC approved the recommendation of the minister.

Courtesy:Daily News

CV Wigneswaran Launches New Political Movement Called “Thamizh Makkal Koottani” (Tamil Peoples Alliance) in Jaffna Under his Leadership to Challenge the “Thamizh Thesiya Kootamaippu” (Tamil National Alliance) Led by R.Sampanthan.

By
Meera Srinivasan

Parting ways with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), C.V. Wigneswaran, who served as the first Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, on Wednesday launched a new political formation called the Thamizh Makkal Kootani (TMK).

The kootani or alliance, he said in a public address, would uphold the fundamentals of Tamil nationalism, take up war-time accountability, and push for a political solution both through domestic and international mechanisms.

Continue reading ‘CV Wigneswaran Launches New Political Movement Called “Thamizh Makkal Koottani” (Tamil Peoples Alliance) in Jaffna Under his Leadership to Challenge the “Thamizh Thesiya Kootamaippu” (Tamil National Alliance) Led by R.Sampanthan.’ »

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa Says He Does Not Believe any Cabinet Minister Has Links With India’s Research and Analysis Wing(RAW) as Alleged by Cabinet Minister Mahinda Amaraweera.

By

Aneesha Manage and Chandrasena Gamage

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today said that he didn’t believe that the Cabinet Ministers would have any links with the RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) of India.

Responding to journalists after visiting the Henakaduwa Temple at Tangalle, Mr Rajapaksa, however, said the act of one of the Ministers working for the RAW would amount to treason.

Continue reading ‘Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa Says He Does Not Believe any Cabinet Minister Has Links With India’s Research and Analysis Wing(RAW) as Alleged by Cabinet Minister Mahinda Amaraweera.’ »

NPC opposition Leader S.Thavarajah Slams “Arm chair Politics” of CV Wigneswaran for Failure of Northern Provincial Council While Chief Minister Blames Govt and TNA Leadership for NPC’s Perceived Failure.

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran on Tuesday slammed the Colombo government and his own Tamil leadership, holding them responsible for the perceived failure of the Northern Provincial Council to deliver on its promises to the war-affected Tamils.

Speaking at the last sitting of the Council — which was elected to power in September 2013 in a historic, post-war election — Mr. Wigneswaran cited continuing militarisation, recent military-backed Sinhalese settlements in the Tamil-majority province, the emergence of Buddhist shrines, and the inadequacy of funds as signs of the Centre’s reluctance to devolve any power to the Tamil minority. Economic development, he said, can never be a substitute of the people’s rights, urging the Tamils to be wary of such promises.

Continue reading ‘NPC opposition Leader S.Thavarajah Slams “Arm chair Politics” of CV Wigneswaran for Failure of Northern Provincial Council While Chief Minister Blames Govt and TNA Leadership for NPC’s Perceived Failure.’ »

Jubilant After Johnston Fernando’s Acquittal Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Says He Never Doubted the Independence of the Judiciary in the Country.


By

Zahrah Imtiaz and Kamal Jayamanne

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, jubilant after MP Johnston Fernando’s acquittal, said he never doubted the independence of the Judiciary in the country.

He was speaking at a media briefing held at his home in Wijerama Mawatha, joined by JO MPs, Johnston Fernando, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Wimal Weerawansa, Prof G.L. Peiris and Namal Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘Jubilant After Johnston Fernando’s Acquittal Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Says He Never Doubted the Independence of the Judiciary in the Country.’ »

Sri Lankan Police will Obtain Technical Expertise From Chinese Multi-national Huawei to Recover Data From Phone Owned By Assassination Plot Informant Namal Kumara to help Investigations.

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lankan authorities will seek Chinese assistance to tap evidence pertaining to an “assassination plot” said to be targeting President Maithripala Sirisena.

On Tuesday, Sri Lankan police won permission from a magistrate court here to approach Chinese multinational Huawei for technical expertise to recover data from a phone manufactured by it.

The phone belongs to Namal Kumara, a police informant, who in September claimed to be aware of an assassination plot aimed at President Sirisena and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Police will Obtain Technical Expertise From Chinese Multi-national Huawei to Recover Data From Phone Owned By Assassination Plot Informant Namal Kumara to help Investigations.’ »

While Doing Away With Some Bad Features of Old Prevention of Terrorism act the New Counter Terrorism Act has some Undesirable Which May Lead to Equally Draconian Enforcement.


By Dr. Nirmala Chandrahasan

The Act as in the expression ‘a Curates’ Egg’ is good in parts and bad in parts. While the proposed new Counter Terrorism Act repeals the earlier Prevention of Terrorism Act and does away with some of its bad features, it introduces some new features which are not desirable and which in fact may lead to equally draconian enforcement.

Before we examine the Act it is necessary to ask the question whether a counter terrorism act is required at all, in the context that the country is free from terrorism and the normal laws of the land if applied judiciously could cover any incipient attempt at terrorism. There is also the ICCPR Act which has been used in respect of suspected terrorist activity from foreign sources.

In a period when reconciliation efforts are underway is it necessary to muddy the waters with another draconian counter terrorist law which will breed suspicion and fear among the citizenry and give the Police and armed forces personnel powers which are inconsistent with constitutional provisions and are not necessary in today’s context.

It will also give Governments / incumbent regimes power to stifle dissent even trade union or student agitation and label them as terrorist activity under the very wide and vague definition of terrorism set out in the proposed Act.

Continue reading ‘While Doing Away With Some Bad Features of Old Prevention of Terrorism act the New Counter Terrorism Act has some Undesirable Which May Lead to Equally Draconian Enforcement.’ »

CID Tells Court That Namal Kumara the Complainant against Ex-TID Director Nalaka de Silva was a Former Employee of Avant Garde Security Services Headed by Nissanka Senadhipathy.

By

T. Farook Thajudeen

CID today informed the Fort Chief Magistrate that the Government Analyst had identified 123 voice cuts as those of ex-DIG Nalaka de Silva from the 124 recordings sent to the Government Analyst.

He had also detected the voice cuts to be tampered by attaching a software device to the complainants mobile phone.

The CID said efforts made by them to rectify the deletions had failed.

Meanwhile, the mobile phone manufacturer in Hong Kong had assured the CID that they re-marry the deleted parts of the recordings and as such the CID sought Court permission to send the mobile phone to Hong Kong for examination.

Continue reading ‘CID Tells Court That Namal Kumara the Complainant against Ex-TID Director Nalaka de Silva was a Former Employee of Avant Garde Security Services Headed by Nissanka Senadhipathy.’ »

Popular Travel Guide “Lonely Planet” Officially Names Sri Lanka as the No 1 Country to Travel To In 2019.

By Charumini de Silva

Popular travel guide Lonely Planet yesterday officially named Sri Lanka the number one country to travel to in 2019, citing a growing number of activities, better accessibility, the rise of new hotels and trending wellness tourism as key reasons for the island to be chosen for the top spot in the annual ‘Best in Travel 2019’ publication.

“Our number one country to visit in 2019 is Sri Lanka. The country is decidedly having its moment in the equatorial sun,” Lonely Planet Vice President Andrew Hinshelwood told journalists in Colombo.

He said there were a number of reasons why Sri Lanka stood out during the selection process.

Continue reading ‘Popular Travel Guide “Lonely Planet” Officially Names Sri Lanka as the No 1 Country to Travel To In 2019.’ »

All Ceylon Makkal Congress Complains to Police About Alleged Plot to Assassinate Its Leader and Cabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.

All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) has lodged a complaint with the police headquarters about an alleged plot to kill its leader Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen. ACMC MP Ameer Ali and party secretary S. Subairdeen had made the complaint on Monday, party sources said.

Speaking to the press after their visit to the police headquarters, MP Ameer Ali said that official action should be taken on alleged plot to assassinate Minister Bathiudeen.
Continue reading ‘All Ceylon Makkal Congress Complains to Police About Alleged Plot to Assassinate Its Leader and Cabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.’ »

Indian National Detained Over Alleged Assassination Plot Is Referred to Judicial Medical Officer After He Tells Court That Indian Govt Is Trying to Kill him with Support of Sri Lankan CID.

CID officials said that the Indian national Mersily Thomas held on Detention order was referred to a mental and orthopedic clinic. The orthopedic doctors had recommended him to undergo surgery on his hand but he had refused to do so.

The detained Indian National informed the Magistrate that the Indian Government was trying to kill him with the support of Criminal Investigations Department officers.

The detained Indian national stated that the CID officials provide poisonous food for him to eat.

Continue reading ‘Indian National Detained Over Alleged Assassination Plot Is Referred to Judicial Medical Officer After He Tells Court That Indian Govt Is Trying to Kill him with Support of Sri Lankan CID.’ »

Popular Sri Lankan Singer A.E. Manoharan Failed To Shine In India As Film Actor “Ceylon Manohar”

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Anthonypillai Emmanuel Manoharan known to the world at large as A. E. Manoharan was a multi-faceted personality possessing many talents. He was a singer, musician, broadcaster and stage and screen actor but it was his singing that brought him great honour.

AE Manoharan

Manoharan, who passed away on 23 January this year at the age of 73, was an ebullient singer with a flamboyant appearance. Manoharan made his name as a rocking singer of popular musical numbers mostly in the Baila music genre. He was proficient in Tamil, Sinhala and English and could sing in all three languages and was hailed as the “Thamizh Poppisaich Chakkaravarthi” (Emperor of Tamil Pop Music) of Sri Lanka.
Continue reading ‘Popular Sri Lankan Singer A.E. Manoharan Failed To Shine In India As Film Actor “Ceylon Manohar”’ »

How News Reports About Explosive Cabinet Meeting in Colombo Almost Caused an “Inter -State Conflict “Between India and Sri Lanka.

By

The “Sunday Observer” Political Editor

Each week on Tuesday, Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers meets, with President Maithripala Sirisena presiding. With a fragile coalition primarily of arch political rivals in the governing seat, Cabinet meetings have been controversial and heated affairs for the better part of nearly four years.

Yet last week’s fateful meeting was the first of its kind to cause major consternation away from these shores – and across the Palk Strait. As one senior presidential aide put it, a report about the explosive meeting appearing in the Indian press the day after the meeting, nearly caused an ‘inter-state conflict’.

The Hindu newspaper published the report that President Sirisena had claimed at the Cabinet meeting that an Indian spy agency was plotting his assassination in its front page on Wednesday (17). The Hindu’s report was sourced to ‘multiple sources in Government – across political parties.” A report about the outburst was previously published locally, in the news and economics website EconomyNext.

The next day, a flurry of denials followed. The first came from the Cabinet Secretary, claiming that the contents of the news items were ‘completely false.’ Before noon on Wednesday, Cabinet Spokesman Minister Rajitha Senaratne issued a stoic denial of the report, doubling down several times and refusing to be swayed by multi-pronged questions about the alleged statement by the President. Hours later, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a denial, claiming the news reports were ‘baseless and false’.

The Presidential Media Division released its own denial, acknowledging that the alleged assassination plot had been discussed at Cabinet, but denying that the President had mentioned any involvement of Indian intelligence in the plot. The PMD statement said Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandu had called on President Sirisena, and “matters had been clarified and bilateral relations assured.” The Hindu newspaper, and its management continues to stand steadfastly by its report which it said had been ‘meticulously fact-checked’ before publication.

Continue reading ‘How News Reports About Explosive Cabinet Meeting in Colombo Almost Caused an “Inter -State Conflict “Between India and Sri Lanka.’ »

Media Communique Issued by Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s Office on Modi -Wickremesinghe Talks Indicative of Deep Divisions Between Lankan President and Premier.

By Suhasini Haidar in New Delhi With inputs from Meera Srinivasan in Colombo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday discussed the progress of a number of pending development projects, with the former expressing “concern” over delays, said a press release issued by the Sri Lankan PM’s office.

“Mr. Narendra Modi has expressed his concern over the implementation of Indo-Sri Lanka joint development projects in accordance with the MoU signed between India and Sri Lanka in 2017 … Mr. Modi said he was not satisfied with the response he had received from the Sri Lankan government to his overtures,” said the release in Sinhala. India’s completed projects in Sri Lanka have been largely in the housing sector, and according to the release, Mr. Modi, during the meeting, agreed to finance another 10,000 homes for tea estate workers.

Continue reading ‘Media Communique Issued by Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s Office on Modi -Wickremesinghe Talks Indicative of Deep Divisions Between Lankan President and Premier.’ »

Indian Prime Minister Modi Complains to Sri Lankan Premier Wickremesinghe About Lankan Govt Constantly Delaying India Aided Development Projects in the Island

Sri Lanka has got a fresh complaint from India – this time over delaying its development projects, only days after the giant neighbour sought clarification from President Maithripala Sirisena over serious allegations reportedly made against New Delhi that Colombo has staunchly denied.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed bitter disappointment and regret about the Sri Lankan Government constantly delaying Indian development projects in the island, and urged Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to pick up the pace, during talks between the two leaders in New Delhi yesterday.

The concerns were raised while the Government was still reeling from doing diplomatic damage control with India over remarks at the Cabinet meeting last Tuesday (16). In an unprecedentedly candid media release about the bilateral talks held at Hyderabad House in New Delhi last afternoon, the Prime Minister’s Office said the Indian Prime Minister had expressed serious disappointment on Sri Lanka’s delays in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding signed on Economic Cooperation in April 2017.

Continue reading ‘Indian Prime Minister Modi Complains to Sri Lankan Premier Wickremesinghe About Lankan Govt Constantly Delaying India Aided Development Projects in the Island’ »

Sri Lankan Army Will Withdraw UN Peace Keeping Force Commander in Mali Lt. Col Kalana Amunupure as Requested by the UN but Will Appeal for Re-instatement if Cleared of War Crimes Charges.

By Asiri Fernando

The Sri Lanka Army will comply with a United Nations request to withdraw the Commanding Officer of its peacekeeping contingent in Mali but will appeal the decision and, if the Lieutenant Colonel is cleared of charges, seek his reinstatement, Military Spokesman Sumith Atapattu said.

The UN on Friday requested the Sri Lanka Government to immediately repatriate the Commander of its UN peacekeeping force in Mali, following a review of his human rights background. Foreign media named him as Lt Col Kalana Amunupure.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Army Will Withdraw UN Peace Keeping Force Commander in Mali Lt. Col Kalana Amunupure as Requested by the UN but Will Appeal for Re-instatement if Cleared of War Crimes Charges.’ »

MUSINGS FROM MOSCOW: Ten Political Science Questions On Today’s world

By

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

1. Given that not every nationalist-populist movement is Alt Right, how can any serious, responsible commentator anywhere, confuse the distinction between the ‘Alt-Right’ and the ‘nationalist-populist’ and conflate the two?

2. Given that not everything ‘national’ is nationalist, how can any thinking person confuse ‘nationalist populist’ with ‘national populist’?

3. How can any responsible person not know that in the world today the viable choice is often within nationalist populism rather than outside it, and that what is outside nationalist populism today is elitist neo-liberalism, which is a major cause and accelerant of nationalist populism and its Alt Right version?

Continue reading ‘MUSINGS FROM MOSCOW: Ten Political Science Questions On Today’s world’ »

“Raw, Raw, Raw – Dilliye” – President Sirisena Dishing Out RAW Delights To Cabinet Is RAW Reality of Crooked Politics

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

This seems a real raw situation. It now looks like the word RAW was never heard at the last Cabinet meeting.

What on earth was the media doing? Surely it could have sought the information on the RAW facts from the Right to Information!

Looks like President Sirisena had nothing to say there about RAW – the Research and Analysis Wing of the Indian Intelligence Institution. Why should he? Is it because Mahinda has said it earlier?

Knowing that what takes place at Cabinet meetings is full of secrecy (as we are told), we can never know the truth about what goes on there. The raw reality is that the media gets its news from the spirits that hover all over the Cabinet room.

Continue reading ‘“Raw, Raw, Raw – Dilliye” – President Sirisena Dishing Out RAW Delights To Cabinet Is RAW Reality of Crooked Politics’ »

Media Reports About President Sirisena Telling Cabinet of a Plot by Indian Intelligence to Assassinate him Reveals Deepening Conflict Between Coalition Govt Partners UNP and SLFP Faction.

By K. Ratnayake

Media reports that Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena told his cabinet on Tuesday that “Indian intelligence” was plotting to assassinate him have created a political furore in Colombo and New Delhi.

Sirisena has denied making the remarks. The response to the alleged comments, however, has revealed deepening conflicts between the coalition government’s ruling partners—Sirisena’s faction of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP).

The controversy over Sirisena’s alleged remarks comes as the government is increasingly wracked by mounting economic problems and social opposition to its widely unpopular austerity measures. Above all, the government’s deepening crisis is bound up with the geopolitical rivalry between India and the US on the one hand and China on the other.

Continue reading ‘Media Reports About President Sirisena Telling Cabinet of a Plot by Indian Intelligence to Assassinate him Reveals Deepening Conflict Between Coalition Govt Partners UNP and SLFP Faction.’ »

Cabinet Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe Wants a “No Holds Barred” Inquiry Against Fellow Cabinet Minister or Ministers Responsible Attempt To Create “Rift” Between President Sirisena and India Over Alleged RAW Assassination Plot

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Ports and Shipping Minister and SLFP spokesman Mahinda Samarasinghe yesterday alleged a deliberate attempt by a member or some members of the Cabinet to cause unprecedented rift between President Maithripala Sirisena and India.

Samarasinghe said there was absolutely no basis for reports which quoted unidentified sources as having said that President Sirisena had accused the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of planning to assassinate him.

Samarasinghe said there was a determined bid to undermine Indo-Lanka relations and sabotage personal friendship between President Sirisena and Indian leader Modi.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe Wants a “No Holds Barred” Inquiry Against Fellow Cabinet Minister or Ministers Responsible Attempt To Create “Rift” Between President Sirisena and India Over Alleged RAW Assassination Plot’ »

Armed Forces Occupy Civilian Owned Lands In North and East For Commercial Exploitation Rather Than National Security States Human Rights Watch in New Report.

(Summary of Report Released by Human Rights Watch About Occupation of Civilian Owned Lands in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka by the Armed Services titled “Why Can’t We Go Home?”)

On April 29, 2017, the Sri Lankan navy high command announced it would release 100 acres of land that security forces had been occupying in the Mullikulam area since 2007 to the original owners. For the displaced residents of this coastal village in Mannar on Sri Lanka’s northwest coast, the news came as a huge relief. More than one year later, however, as of August 2018, no land has been released and the people remain displaced, undergoing severe hardship living in semi-permanent shelters with limited livelihood options. Lamented Francis Croos, a village elder, “Now there is no war. It’s now peacetime. So why can’t we go back home?”

Military occupation of public and private property is a cruel legacy of the nearly three-decade civil war in Sri Lanka that ended in May 2009. Over the years, many Sri Lankans, particularly in the embattled north and the east, were displaced because of the conflict, often several times over.

Government forces occupied territory to set up military camps, or bases, for operations, and demarcated certain areas as High Security Zones (HSZs), thwarting their return. Over the course of the war, the separatist forces of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had de-facto administrative control over large areas covering several districts and were also involved in forcibly displacing people, including a mass eviction of the Muslim community. Those displaced due to the conflict faced loss of their homes and livelihood, poor living conditions, including in squalid conditions at displacement camps.

By the end of the war, the military was in control of vast swaths of land, including the areas previously held by the defeated LTTE. While the administration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa took some steps to release land back to original owners, the military retained control over large areas and made use of it for both military and non-military purposes. The military consolidated its position and control, including shifting from de facto occupation to legal acquisition. It not only established barracks, but has used the land for agriculture, tourism, and other commercial ventures.

Continue reading ‘Armed Forces Occupy Civilian Owned Lands In North and East For Commercial Exploitation Rather Than National Security States Human Rights Watch in New Report.’ »

Wimal Weerawansa Says Indian National Suspected of Being Involved in Assassination Plot is an Operative of the Indian Espionage Agency Research and Analysis Wing, Named Rajendrakumar Bearing RAW ID Card No – RB317217/VJ.

By

Kalathma Jayawardhane

The Joint Opposition (JO) today said the Indian national, who claimed of a plot to assassinate President Maithripala Sirisena, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family members, was identified as an India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) member bearing the RAW identity card number of RB317217/VJ.

JO member MP Wimal Weerawansa told a news conference that they had investigated on this issue and had found out that the Indian national who was arrested in Sri Lanka was named Rajendra Kumar and he was working for the RAW.

Continue reading ‘Wimal Weerawansa Says Indian National Suspected of Being Involved in Assassination Plot is an Operative of the Indian Espionage Agency Research and Analysis Wing, Named Rajendrakumar Bearing RAW ID Card No – RB317217/VJ.’ »

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Seeks Unscheduled Meeting with Indian Defence Authorities To Discuss Alleged RAW Plot to Assassinate President Maithripala Sirisena.

By

Yohan Perera

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would have a discussion with the Indian authorities on the alleged plot to assassinate President Maithripala Sirisena, a Spokesman from the Prime Minister’s office said yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Seeks Unscheduled Meeting with Indian Defence Authorities To Discuss Alleged RAW Plot to Assassinate President Maithripala Sirisena.’ »

Sri Lankan President Sirisena Telephones Indian Prime Minister Modi Denying he had Accused Indian Espionage Agency RAW of Plotting to Assassinate Him.

By
Suhasini Haidar & Meera Srinivasan


W
orried about the fallout of reports emanating from a Cabinet meet, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena telephoned Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday evening to clear the air over the contention that he had blamed India’s intelligence agency R&AW for an alleged assassination plot targeting him.

“Mr. Sirisena said his words had been misquoted and distorted, and he denied having said that Indian agencies would be involved in the case in any manner,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told The Hindu after the telephone conversation, which lasted about 20 minutes.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi appreciated his prompt action in clarifying the issue and initiating the call,” Mr. Kumar added, saying that the leaders assured each other of their friendship and the importance of India-Sri Lanka ties.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan President Sirisena Telephones Indian Prime Minister Modi Denying he had Accused Indian Espionage Agency RAW of Plotting to Assassinate Him.’ »

President Sirisena,Presidents Media Division, Foreign Ministry and Cabinet Spokesman Engage In Urgent Damage Control Exercises To Prevent Diplomatic Disaster With India.

By a Special Correspondent

President Maithripala Sirisena spoke with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last night after bombshell revelations in the local and international media that President Sirisena had accused the Indian intelligence agency, RAW, of plotting his assassination, followed by a spate of denials by high level Government authorities came close to sparking a major diplomatic incident.

The Daily FT yesterday exclusively reported The Hindu story titled ‘President Sirisena alleges that RAW is plotting his assassination’.

Yesterday’s telephone conversation was preceded by Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh making an official call on President Sirisena last morning when “matters were clarified and bilateral relations reassured”, the President’s Office said in a media release.

The PMD statement about the phone call made no reference to the President’s denial of his remarks as reported in the media. However, Modi’s Office issued a statement last night, saying President Sirisena had telephoned Prime Minister Modi and “categorically rejected the reports in sections of media about him alluding to the involvement of India in any manner whatsoever in an alleged plot to assassinate the President and former Defence Secretary of Sri Lanka”.

President Sirisena also apprised the Indian Premier about urgent steps taken by him personally and the Government of Sri Lanka to publicly reject these reports, the Indian PMO said.

“He mentioned that the mischievous and malafide reports were utterly baseless and false and seemed intended to create misunderstanding between the two leaders as well as damage cordial relations between the two friendly neighbours,” Premier Modi’s Office said.

Prime Minister Modi appreciated the prompt steps taken by President Sirisena and his Government to “firmly refute malicious reports and publicly clarifying the matters”, the release by Modi’s Office said.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena,Presidents Media Division, Foreign Ministry and Cabinet Spokesman Engage In Urgent Damage Control Exercises To Prevent Diplomatic Disaster With India.’ »

Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu Meets President Sirisena Directly to Seek Clarification About His Allegations of an Assassination Plot Involving an Indian Espionage Agency.

India has sought clarifications from Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena over his reported remarks that India’s external intelligence agency was plotting to assassinate him, officials said.

Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu called on Sirisena on Wednesday, a day after reports of his claim that the Research and Analysis Wing, India’s foreign spy outfit, had planned an assassination.

“The High Commissioner of India called on the President this morning and during the meeting, all matters were clarified and bilateral relations were reassured,” the President’s Media Division said in a statement.

It said the President, at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, had not mentioned any involvement of an Indian intelligence service in the alleged plot to assassinate him.

Continue reading ‘Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu Meets President Sirisena Directly to Seek Clarification About His Allegations of an Assassination Plot Involving an Indian Espionage Agency.’ »

President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe In Heated Argument In Cabinet Meeting Over Alleged Assassination Plot by RAW and Giving East Port Terminal to India

Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena shocked his cabinet Tuesday by accusing neighbouring India of plotting to assassinate him on the eve of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to New Delhi, a ministerial source said.

A visibly upset Sirisena accused his senior coalition partner, the United National Party (UNP), of not taking an alleged conspiracy to kill him as well as former secretary to the ministry of defence, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, seriously.

“The President said that RAW (India’s external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing) was behind the plot,” a minister, who declined to be named, said.

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Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe in Heated Argument During Cabinet Meeting Involving Mahinda Samarasinghe and Malik Samarawickrama Also.

By

Kelum Bandara

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe are reported to have had a showdown at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting over the proposal to develop the East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port as an Indian investment.

At the meeting, Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe submitted a Cabinet memorandum on developing the terminal by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).

However, the Prime Minister, backed by Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama, insisted that it should be on the basis of an Indian investment.

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Kurunegala High Court Acquits Ex-Minister Johnston Fernando and Two Others of All Charges Pertaining to Alleged Misappropriation of Rs. 5.2 Million SATHOSA Funds

Former Minister Johnston Fernando, his private secretary Sakeer Mohamed and former Sathosa Chairman Nalin Fernando, who were remanded on September 3 in connection with the misappropriation of SATHOSA funds worth Rs. 5.2 million in 2013, were acquitted of all charges by the Kurunegala High Court today.

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SLFP “Group of 15 MP’s” Send Letter to Central Committee Demanding Party Leaves Present Govt and Forms New Govt Led by SLFP.

By

Chaminda Perera

Kurunegala District Parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekera said the SLFP Central Committee which met last night in Colombo did not discuss the forming of a new government led by the SLFP.

He said that the SLFP Central Committee had received a letter sent by the SLFP 15 Group demanding that the party leave the Unity Government and form a coalition government led by the SLFP.

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Death Of An Unforgettable Outstanding Uncle : Prof. A.J.Fernando

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

I woke this morning in Moscow with the news from my cousin Shehan de Tissera that one of the cleverest and perhaps the most outstanding member, and almost certainly the highest achiever of my family had died in Canada– my mother Lakshmi Sylvia’s younger brother, my Athula maama. He indubitably rose to the highest possible level in his profession, globally: Professor Athula Fernando (or Prof AJ Fernando as he was internationally known), former Dean of the School of Medical Rehabilitation, University of Manitoba, was President of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) 1991-1995.

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Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena Speaking at His Cabinet Meeting Accuses Indian Espionage Agency RAW of Plotting his Assassination

By

Meera Srinivasan

In a move that might seriously impair Indo-Lanka relations, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday accused India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of plotting his assassination.

Mr. Sirisena, who was speaking at the weekly Cabinet meeting, told Ministers that the Indian intelligence agency was “trying to kill” him, but that “Prime Minister Narendra Modi may not be aware of the plan,” The Hindu has learnt from sources present at the discussion.

“We were just shocked when he said it,” a source said, requesting anonymity.

When contacted for verification, a senior officer at the President’s media unit said: “We will verify this and revert.” However, there has been no response till the time of going to print.

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