Col Hariharan’s Sri Lanka Perspectives: Reviewing Outcome of Presidential Elections

The election of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as President with a clear majority of 52.25% votes as against 10.25% more than polled by his younger rival Sajith Premadasa  of the ruling United Nationalist Party (UNP), tells many things. Sinhala majority has voted Rajapaksa clan back to power with a strong mandate; on the flip side, minority community votes mostly in favour did not help Sajith win. With the consolidation of Sinhala majority in favour of President Gotabaya is likely to further delay the ethnic reconciliation process; it was never seriously taken up by both Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sirisena governments, during the last ten years of peace. In other words, ethnic polarization is here to stay.

The Sinhala majority has preferred Gotabaya to lead the state after they saw President Sirisena government’s inept handling of national security resulting in Easter Sunday attacks. Evidently, they consider national security as more important than other issues like structural reforms, ethnic reconciliation and good governance. So we can expect President Gotabaya to remove 19th Amendment to the Constitution as promised in the run up to the election and restore powers of executive presidency.............

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