Why do Sri Lankan voters elect and re-elect corrupt and discredited politicians? This topic has been much talked about and commented on in newspapers and social media ever since Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in a rare moment of self-realisation, asked this question from the voters of Sri Lanka. Why indeed?
Two years before the president posed this question in November 2019, I asked myself the very same question when to my disbelief and dismay, 6.9 million voters elected Gotabaya Rajapaksa as executive president. For the purposes of this essay I consider President Rajapaksa to have been a politician since 2005 when, as a political appointee to the post of Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, he wielded more power than any other politician except his older sibling, the then executive president.