7th January 2015

TNA’s Decision And The Tamil Vote

7th January 2015 // 0 Comments

The decision of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to fully support the Joint Opposition Candidate Maithripala Sirisena against incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the January 8 Presidential election has irked sections of the Tamil Diaspora and its fellow travelers in the Northern Province. Media nets run by the pro-LTTE extremists such as Tamilnet have lambasted TNA leaders R. Sampanthan, M.A. Sumanthiran, Mavai Senathirajah, Selvam Adaikalanathan, Sivasakthi Anandan and R. Sidharthan for their decision to come out openly in support to one of the candidates, when ideally, they should have asked for a boycott of the election on the grounds that neither Rajapaksa nor Maithripala will meet the Tamils’ demand for the right to self determination (read a separate Eelam) and an international investigation into charges […]

Sri Lanka winner must address Tamil issue: BJP

7th January 2015 // 0 Comments

New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) The winner of the Sri Lankan presidential election Thursday must first address the Tamil issue, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Vijay Jolly said Wednesday. “Whoever wins in Sri Lanka should first address the Tamil issue,” he said, wishing “all the best” to both President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena. He said a peaceful, free and fair election was necessary for democracy in Sri Lanka. “The devolution of powers, re-starting dialogue with Tamil National Alliance leaders and settlement of all pending Tamil issues is necessary for lasting peace in Sri Lanka,” Jolly said in a statement. –Indo-Asian news Service

Spectre of Tamil Tigers looms as Sri Lanka goes to polls

7th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Colombo: Nearly six years after Sri Lanka’s army destroyed the Tamil Tigers, their ghost is haunting a bitterly fought presidential election as the embattled incumbent seeks to boost his share of the vote. The Tamil Tigers terrorised Sri Lanka for decades with their trademark suicide bombings and high-profile assassinations before suffering a spectacular defeat in May 2009, ending a civil war that had claimed 100,000 lives. President Mahinda Rajapakse took credit for the no-holds-barred military offensive that all but wiped out the rebels, and won a landslide re-election victory the following year. But as the post-war gloss begins to wear off, the president has hinted darkly at a Tiger resurgence if he is not returned to power when the country goes to the polls on […]

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 election could change everything… and nothing – Channel 4.

7th January 2015 // 0 Comments

On Thursday, Sri Lanka goes to the polls in an extraordinary presidential election which could change everything but, perversely, change nothing, writes Callum Macrae. Above left: presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena. Above right: presidential incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa The incumbent, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is engaged in a desperate fight for his political life in an election which just a few months ago seemed to be his for the taking. It should all have been so different. Rajapaksa, previously prime minister of Sri Lanka, became president in 2005 in an election in which he won just over 50 per cent of the votes. But within a couple of years of taking power he embarked on a process which was conventionally deemed impossible. He set out to militarily defeat […]

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, […]

Finale Sri-Lankan Presidential Elections: Slogans, Projections and Predictions

7th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Finale Sri-Lankan Presidential Elections: Slogans, Projections and Predictions Dr. Siri Gamage, University of New England, Australia in his election projection from past elections in 2005 and 2010 and recent local polls in Badulla district concludes that the common candidate Maithripala Sirisena will be able to garner a 5-10% increase in the vote percentages in a majority of districts. That will deliver a victory for him and his coalition in the 2015 Presidential election. Dr Jude Fernando, political analyst states “Even if the election fails to be free and fair, the good news is that, in recent times we have evidence from many parts of the world (e.g. Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Belarus, Egypt) where popular uprisings against election fraud led to the demise […]

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 […]

How North views the polls

7th January 2015 // 0 Comments

TNA campaign crew attacked by Government ally In Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, an anti-Rajapaksa wave Exercise your franchise at Jan 8, prez poll – GTF tells Tamil electorate Every vote will have an impact and there will be more surprises as election day approaches. “TNA Will Not Accept Positions In Maithri Govt; But Will Support Advisory Council” TNA extending its fullest support to the evolution of a just and reasonable solution within the framework of a united and undivided Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka: Rajapaksa’s Eelam Delusion Pro-LTTE groups call for polls boycott – Tigers want Mahinda to return to power by forcing the Northerners not to vote, as they did in 2005 How North views the polls By Mirudhula Thambiah Voters in the Northern Province […]

China’s Indian Ocean Influence at Risk in Sri Lanka Election

7th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Of all the world leaders watching the outcome of Sri Lanka’s presidential elections tomorrow, Chinese President Xi Jinping has the most at stake. China has poured money into the island nation off India’s southern coastline over the past decade to become its largest investor, top government lender and second-biggest trading partner. Chinese submarines docked twice in Colombo last year, triggering protests from India. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has shifted Sri Lanka toward China since taking power in 2005, finds himself in a precarious position. Although few reliable opinion polls are available, risk assessor Eurasia Group says he’ll probably be unseated by top opponent Maithripala Sirisena, who has promised a more balanced foreign policy. VIDEO: 10 Years Later: Remembering the Indian Ocean Tsunami “China would be […]

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?