SPECIAL NEWS

Sri Lanka’s Tamils say they will back president’s challenger Maithiri

7th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Colombo, Sri Lanka: The retired postal worker knows who he’s voting against in Thursday’s presidential election. Like most ethnic Tamils on this island nation, he cannot even imagine voting for the current president, Mahinda Rajapakse, a man who solidified his power base by crushing a brutal Tamil insurgency and then largely ignored Tamil demands to heal the wounds of the decades-long civil war. So 67-year-old Santhiyapillai Pathmarajan plans to cast his ballot for the president’s former friend and health minister, Maithripala Sirisena, who defected from the ruling party just a few weeks ago and has created a formidable political opposition. But he’s not happy about it. “We will see what a new leader will do,” said Pathmarajan, who lives in Jaffna, in the northern Tamil […]

Sri Lanka’s political outlook shaky, whoever wins knife-edge election

7th January 2015 // 0 Comments

By Shihar Aneez and John Chalmers COLOMBO (Reuters) – In a measure of how far Thursday’s presidential election in Sri Lanka has become a knife-edge contest, diplomats here have been checking the rules in case of a dead heat: according to a 1981 act, the rival candidates would draw lots to settle on a winner. Until very recently, few would have predicted such uncertainty, not least President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who called the election two years early, confident that – despite his waning popularity – he could win an unprecedented third term. The worry for investors is that the political and policy outlook will remain shaky even after a victor has been declared. “Whoever loses … will be presented with an opportunity to regroup in the […]

Sri Lanka election set to be closest and most significant in decades

7th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is seeking third term as president, faces coalition of parties rallying behind former ally Voters in Sri Lanka will go to the polls on Thursday in one of the tightest and most significant presidential elections in the island nation for decades. Mahinda Rajapaksa, already the longest-serving ruler in the region, will seek a third term that would allow him to consolidate what critics say is an increasingly authoritarian and dynastic rule. But the 69-year-old politician’s decision to call early elections in the hope of an easy victory over a fragmented opposition now looks questionable with a broad coalition of parties rallying behind his former associate turned rival, Maithripala Sirisena. “It is very unpredictable. It could be very, very close,” said Alan Keenan, […]

Next President must embrace race relations, media freedom

7th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Next President must embrace race relations, media freedom – Wickrema Insurance Ombudsman Dr. Wickrema Weerasooria, a celebrated lawyer, legal academic and author of some twenty legal texts, who served in several senior public-sector positions and was also Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Australia and New Zealand, states that regardless of who wins next Thursday’s presidential election, race relations and media freedom must be given priority in the next government’s agenda. I have followed Sri Lankan politics closely for the past 45 years and also held public office during much of that time. As you know, I have also had a very close association with the law and with legal issues. In these contexts, looking back, I feel that two vital issues we need to address […]

CMEV concerned over possible military intervention in voting

7th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Election watchdogs fear possible intervention by the military may disturb a peaceful voting process. The Center for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) stressed they are ‘seriously concerned’ about how the Army could or would influence the outcome of the election and voting on election day. CMEV Co-Convener Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu said they are worried about a list going around with regard to various polling divisions in the country being divided up and responsibility for them being given to ex-service people. “What this exactly entails is our concern,” he noted, in an interview with the Daily FT. Following are excerpts: Q: We are just a day ahead of the 2015 presidential election. How would you describe the present situation?  A: This is a short campaign. Incidents of […]

North: CMEV blames army for ‘discouraging voters’

7th January 2015 // 0 Comments

By Shamindra Ferdinando The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) yesterday asserted that the voter turnout in the Northern Province, particularly Jaffna peninsula, at January 8, 2015 presidential election could be low due to heavy military presence there. CMEV spokesperson Dr. Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu and its chief coordinator D.M. Dissanayaka accused the government of instilling fear among the electorate by deploying the army in the guise of providing security. They predicted post-war military presence in the Northern Province could be detrimental to the electoral process. They addressed the media at the Colombo Hilton Residence. Among those present were several representatives from Colombo based diplomatic mis Dr. Saravanamuttu emphasised that there shouldn’t be any obstacle to the electoral process. Dissanayake alleged that the northern army had been […]

Inside Story – Is Sri Lanka’s Mahinda Rajapaksa in trouble?

7th January 2015 // 0 Comments

  He may have expected to easily secure a third term in office. But now Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa faces a real and unprecedented challenge, after his former health minister, Mithripala Sirisena, decided to run against him in Thursday’s vote. Rajapaksa also stands accused of corruption, nepotism and human rights violations during his country’s long civil war. So, will Sri Lankans still give him a third term in office?  

Presidential Election 2015: Projection of Probable Results

6th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Further to the initial forecast I made in my previous article (Groundviews, 1st January 2015), in this article I make several projections about the possible result in the forthcoming presidential election based on previous election results. I primarily use percentages from the 2010 Presidential election result, 2005 Presidential election result and the 2014 Uva Provincial Council result, in particular the result of the Badulla district, for this purpose. As can be seen from the Table 1, MR received more than 50 percent of votes in all provinces except in the Northern province in 2010 elections. In the 2005 Presidential elections, he received more than 50 percent in 11 districts (see Column I, Table 2). Given the fact that 2010 Presidential election marks the pinnacle of […]

Opposition speak out ahead of crucial vote

6th January 2015 // 0 Comments

I will personally ensure security of Mahinda Rajapaksa and family: Maithripala ‘On 9 Jan military will only follow our orders, their hearts with us’: Rathana Thero ‘We are not crazy to seek to divide Sri Lanka’: CBK ‘I have paid my debts to my motherland’: Sarath Fonseka ‘KP sent explosives for LTTE to bomb Dalada Maligawa’: Champika Govt.-Tamilnet-Ananthi plot to enforce 2005 style boycott of poll in North: Rajitha By Dharisha Bastians In a final show of strength on the last day of campaigning, common opposition leaders rallied together to counter ruling party claims that the alliance was in league with the LTTE. Opposition common candidate Maithripala Sirisena charged that while the Government was attempting to stick LTTE labels on the common alliance, it was the […]

No leave to vote Over 200,000 Tamil plantation youth affected

6th January 2015 // 0 Comments

No leave to vote Over 200,000 plantation youth affected By Mirudhula Thambiah Most of the plantation youth, working in various parts of the country, are not allowed to exercise their voting rights at the upcoming Presidential Election, as their employers show reluctance to grant them leave. Savumia Youth Foundation Chairman, S. P. Anthony Muthu told Ceylon Today that the same problem erupted during past Uva Provincial Council Elections, as many youths working in Colombo and in various other places, were not granted leave thus, they were unable to vote. He said, more than 200,000 persons from the plantation sector are working in shops and hotels in Colombo, Dambulla, Matara, and in the North and East. They should be given a chance to cast their votes […]

Sri Lanka’s President Rajapaksa, third time not so lucky?

6th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum Two years before an election was due, President Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka has called an early poll for 8 January, seeking an unprecedented third term in office made possible by his revision of the constitution. So far the Sri Lankan president has had a charmed political life, winning 58 per cent of the vote at the last poll in 2010 on the back of overwhelming support for ending nearly thirty years of civil war in the Tamil separatist north and east a year earlier. Talk of war crimes and the massacre of many thousands of Tamils was brushed aside as treacherous and damaging to the country and held no sway in the south or among ordinary Buddhists, who […]

Royal British horse a game changer in Sri Lankan presidential polls

6th January 2015 // 0 Comments

The supreme leader has changed the face of Sri Lanka. A war of 30 years has been put to an end, the world’s finest cars are speeding on newly built expressways, theeconomy is spurting at a handsome 7 per cent, tourism is booming at an unheard of 22 per cent — and yet the peasants of the country are obsessed with one silly horse. The horse imported from the royal stables of Buckingham for millions of rupees has become symbolic of the plunder and private excesses of incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa, as he gets battle-ready for a third term, when the island nation goes to polls on January 8. The horse was reportedly shipped in by MR’s youngest of the three ‘princes’ as a gift […]

Every vote will have an impact and there will be more surprises as election day approaches.

5th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka’s mostly closely contested presidential election will be held in four days. The campaign leading to the poll has had many twists and turns, right from the inception when incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena announced he would be running for office. With less than a hundred hours before voting begins, political observers, opinion polls and astrologers have but one thing in common with the average voter: their choices are equally divided. As a result, the remaining days may yet be crucial in the final outcome. In two previous polls, the final days were decisive. A bomb blast on the last day of the 1999 campaign swung a close contest in favor of Chandrika Kumaratunga. In 2005, an election day boycott decreed […]

“TNA Will Not Accept Positions In Maithri Govt; But Will Support Advisory Council”

5th January 2015 // 0 Comments

The Tamil National Alliance today indicated that it would not accept ministerial portfolios under Maithripala Sirisena’s government; but assured to play an active role in the process of making constitutional changes. TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran, speaking to media, said the party was yet to make a decision on the role it should play in the new government which would be formed after Maithripala Sirisena’s ascension to power. “Until the party makes a decision on the matter, I would like to give my personal opinion. We should not be part of the government although we support Maithripala Sirisena’s candidature at the presidential election,” Sumanthiran said. “However,” Sumanthiran said, “we will join the advisory council which will be set up under the 100 day programme.” The TNA […]

Racist Bishop’s support to President Mahinda.

5th January 2015 // 0 Comments

The Anglican Bishop of Kurunegala, the Reverend Shantha Francis, a strong supporter of Mahinda Rajapaksha government  has offered to resign saying that  he has been threatened by the Tamil diaspora.  Bishop said that he had been threatened because he openly speaks against the LTTE supporters living overseas and supported the President Rajapaksha and the killing of the minority Tamils and Muslims. The Bishop says he is unable to continue with his work as a Bishop and so has informed the Church of Ceylon that he is keen to step down, this is seen as a political support to President Rajapaksha before election. His drama of accusing the Tamil Diospara who are calling for equal rights to the minority before the election is to get the […]

6-year-old child wounded in SL military assault on civilians in Ki’linochchi

5th January 2015 // 0 Comments

A 6-year-old child was rushed to Ki’linochchi hospital at serious condition on Sunday when SL military soldiers at Paarathi-puram assaulted the Tamil civilians who were protesting against SL military violence on a tailor shop where a 46-year-old man from Paarathi-puram was brutally assaulted by a Sinhala soldier. The SL soldiers attacked the public when the public had gathered in front of the SL military camp demanding the arrest of SL soldier who went amok on the tailor shop. But, the SL military, which has been suppressing and exploiting the poverty-stricken resettled villagers, chose to assault the public in front of the military base. The wounded child was identified as Shatheeskumar Shathusiha. Earlier, a soldier of the occupying Sri Lanka Army, which was waging Rajapaksa propaganda, […]

Concerns Over Troops Withdrawl

4th January 2015 // 0 Comments

There have been concerns over the idea of troops withdrawal from the North if the opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena comes to power. Some claimed that the Tamil parties extended their support to the common opposition candidate based on a promise to withdraw troops from the North. However, the election manifesto of the the opposition common candidate Maithripala Sirisena does not include any such policy or addressing concerns related to Tamil national issue. He had also clearly stated in a rally that he would not withdraw army from the North that would threaten the national security. Upon that statement, some questioned as to why Tamil political parties extended their support. Speaking to The Sunday Leader several politicians including a few politicians from minority political parties expressed […]

‘Surveying’ The Ground For Victory

4th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka is four days away from it seventh presidential election and it is clear that it would be the closest and tightest presidential contest in the country’s electoral history. Both candidates, namely President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena have expressed full confidence over the victory of the presidential election and the ‘election heat’ has already reached its zenith. Just a week away from the election, two of Sri Lanka’s prominent state universities released survey results on the possible outcome of the presidential election. One survey was conducted by the University of Colombo and the other by the University of Kelaniya. According to the two survey reports, the winner of the race will obtain a percentage of 53%. However, according to the University […]

”I have ‘NO’ Files on any one” says Confused Mahinda

4th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Interviewed by the “Sunday Island” and other weekend newspapers at “Temple Trees” last Wednesday shows that the President Mahinda is Confused and not telling the truth He has no idea of what’s in HIS Manifesto He required his Secretary Weerathunga and Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal to answer the questions. ”What Independent Commissions? When did we have Independent Commissions in Sri Lanka?” asks President. President Defends ”Cross overs of MP’s” President Defends ”building mansions and developing his family at the expense of the country” President with 2/3 majority says that reason for the delay in implementing his promised ‘Political reforms’ was because of the opposition. ”I have no files on anyone” (Was trying to blackmail the MP’s?) says President. Jaffna Votes is not a big deal, Opposition candidate got […]

TNA extending its fullest support to the evolution of a just and reasonable solution within the framework of a united and undivided Sri Lanka.

4th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Major parties and civic action groups rally behind Maithripala, while crossovers continue MR confident of victory, says good governance means good results Opposition expresses concern over ‘computer jilmart’ and police powers being given to armed forces The month long campaign for Thursday’s presidential poll ends at midnight tomorrow (Monday) and the main contenders are equally confident of victory. “It is likely my victory this time would be with a larger majority than in 2010,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa told the Sunday Times. He said, “People know I have an impeccable record of conduct and results. This has led to a large number of undecided voters to shift towards me.” Equally confident is his rival and former Cabinet colleague Maithripala Sirisena who heads the main Opposition coalition, […]

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