Feature

The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) urges Tamil people from the North-East and throughout Sri Lanka to freely exercise their franchise at the November 16 Presidential Election, giving careful consideration to the political formations and agendas of the major contenders.

After playing a decisive role in the political change of 2015 and experiencing disappointments on the new government’s performance, a sense of cynicism has set in among the Tamil people. The refusal by all major Presidential contestants to engage with Tamil political leaders based on their collective positions is also disappointing, the GTF pointed out.

"All those negative sentiments however should not lead to political apathy and despondency. It is important that Tamil people take active part in this election, instead of giving into flawed thinking such as 'sending a message to the international community’ through ineffective voting strategies. Also important is that Tamil people should use their vote wisely for a candidate who has a realistic chance of winning. Any wasted vote could lead to the election of a candidate not to their liking," the GTF said in a statement.

The GTF further said;
"The present government during its early years offered hope by initiating democratic reforms. There was also the promise to deal with wartime accountability and formulate a new constitution to accommodate Tamil political aspirations. However, progress on most fronts came to a halt during the last two years. There were even notable reversals, demonstrating the weaknesses of Sri Lanka’s reform processes and the vulnerability of its key institutions.


In this context, the upcoming Presidential Election raises genuine doubts about whether Sri Lanka will restart and broaden its reform and accommodative agenda or change course, perhaps for the worse.

Sajith Premadasa’s election manifesto is progressive on furthering democratic reforms, which includes key Tamil considerations such as: continuation of the constitutional reform process, power-sharing and reconciliation commitments, and respecting international treaties and resolutions. Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s manifesto, on the other hand, has strong national security focus, but no serious commitment to expand the fledgling democratic space.

A more democratic Sri Lanka that is respectful of human rights is a worthy goal to achieve for all its citizens. Though on its own it does not allay the fears and apprehensions of the minority communities, particularly the Tamils, such democratic framework offers more space and opportunities for furthering their interests. All these considerations need to be in the Tamil people’s mind when making their choice at the upcoming election.

We are also conscious of the appalling human rights, governance and rule of law record when Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the Defence Secretary – wanton violence and enforced disappearances, threats to media personnel, and intimidation and violence against Tamil, Muslim and Christian communities. Return to such an era, coupled with isolationist international policies, is the nightmarish scenario feared under a Rajapaksa Presidency.

Whether Sri Lanka should continue determinately to advance the stalled reform process, or follow a different political agenda, possibly losing recent democratic gains and perhaps even entering an era of authoritarianism, are matters the electorate must weigh carefully at this presidential election.

Most importantly, all eligible Tamil voters should cast their votes and be part of the democratic process of determining the country’s future political direction."

Feature

It has now been reported that it was Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero who had continuously pressured President Maithripala Sirisena to grant a pardon to the 34 year old Don Shramantha Jude Anthony Jayamaha who was sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty in the heinous Royal Park killing in Rajagiriya.

Feature

The United National Front (UNF) says that regardless of the technical details on whether Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa is a US citizen or not, New Democratic Front (NDF) presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa would work to defeat him at the presidential election.
While Gotabaya Rajapaksa's US citizenship has once again become a topic of discussion, UNF Ministers Ajith P. Perera and Sujeewa Senasinghe held a press briefing yesterday to discuss Premadasa's election campaign.
"Sajith does not care about Gotabaya's citizenship issue since he will be defeating him before the people's court. We will not try to defeat Gotabaya on a technical issue when there's a public election at hand. Sajith believes that steps should not be taken to resort to such actions," Perera said.
However, Perera went on to say that Rajapaksa is not a US citizen and only a Sri Lankan citizen could contest the presidential election according to Clause 31 of the Constitution.
"Gotabaya took citizenship in America and gave up his citizenship in Sri Lanka. In order to occupy a state position he needs to be a Sri Lankan citizen. The process he followed to get citizenship in Sri Lanka after his brother became President in 2005 is fraudulent," he explained.
 

Meanwhile, Senasinghe told the media that the Rajapaksas were engaged in a double act by trying to use nationalism and extremism to secure political power. 

"Mahindananda has said that Gotabaya's votes stand at 10 percent and has promised to build a Muslim school near the Dalada Maligawa if his vote base is lifted to 25 percent. On the other hand, promises have been made to Hisbullah that as separate Muslim administrative body would be set up in Kattankudy," he claimed.

    

Feature

Ahimsa Wickrematunge, who is the daughter of slain Editor of The Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunge, says she fears the repercussions if Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa wins the presidential election.

Show more post