Rajapaksa’s dream shattered: Democracy remains the priority in Sri Lanka
By Shree Shubham
| Thursday, August 20, 2015 - 17:10
COLOMBO: Second chance of former President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa got shattered when the results for Sri Lanka General Election were announced on August 17, 2015.
The citizens of Sri Lanka have shown the value of democracy and power of voting in democratic form of governance. By getting only 95 seats, Rajapakse's United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) lost its dream to hold the supreme power. Blaming India for his defeat in the presidential election is also nullified by this result.(Also Read: Sri Lanka entering in new era of politics)
However, Rajapaksa has not possessed the capacity to wipe off the impression extended from his two-term administration — that of a pioneer who was tyrant, heading a degenerate, harsh and thuggish government that was controlled by a plot, the majority of them individuals from the President's family.
Before the results were announced, Rajapaksa told AFP that he was conceding, his fantasy of becoming the PM has faded away. He said he would rather turn into an opposition lawmaker in the wake of winning his individual seat.
Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) on the other hand came up with 106 seats in the 225 member legislature. The UNP dramatically multiplied its numbers in the 225-Parliament from 40 to 106 at the General Election, barely short of majority 113. Although, Wickremesinghe is confident about forming a stable government. He said, "I invite all of you to join hands, Let us together build a civilised society, build a consensual government and create a new country."
The result is a triumph for President Maithripala Sirisena, who beat his previous partner Rajapaksa in a presidential decision in January and called an early parliamentary vote to secure his ground stronger to bring the change which he has promised to Sri Lanka.
Impact of election results
• More economic clarity and policy is expected. Economy will grow at much faster rate as the governance would be stable.
• Foreign investors are happy and willing to invest. As any investor would look for pro- business, pro-growth policies and consistency. As UNP had already supported Sirisena in the Presidential election, it’s but obvious that there would be no room for antagonism between Sirisena and Ranil.
• Project of China for making Chinese artificial island will be affected as it has already been stopped on 6th March, 2015 by the President Sirisena on the charge of corruption and environmental issues. This was the largest FDI in Sri Lanka. Many other such projects will be also checked and investigated.
• Foreign policy would be reshaped, and Sri Lanka would be closer towards its old friends.
• Changes which Sirisena wanted could easily be made. Like some constitutional amendments, giving more power to provinces and Prime Minister which Rajapaksa had curtailed drastically.
How India will be benefited?
Rajapaksa government was pro China and gave due advantages while sidelining India on every ground. He did not even take much time to criticise India and Indian intelligence agency R&AW after his defeat in presidential election in January, 2015. Present combination of Sirisena and Ranil seems to be more neutral and balanced towards its foreign policies, particularly with India.
Relation with its two nearest neighbours, Maldives and Sri Lanka in Indian Ocean is of great concern and India wishes to get more stable and democratic government at both places. Increased influence of China in Maldives worries India. So, having friendly government in Sri Lanka has become important.
India will anticipate that Wickremesinghe will move rapidly on a political arrangement on the Tamil issue as he is seen as a votary of closer business ties with India.
Comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) between India and Sri Lanka has been in controversy. It was initiated in 2005 and concluded in July 2008, after thirteen rounds of talks. On many issues, Sri Lanka was not ready to move on. Though, Wickremesinghe had spoken on this at the Sri Lanka Business Forum, emphasising on finalising the CEPA.
Ranil's term in office might go for extensive talks on a proposed land bridge between India and Sri Lanka.
Sirisena had supported Indian approach of establishing democracy in Maldives. So, Sirisena-Ranil combination going to boost up the tie between India and Sri Lanka.