What's New :
TARGET PT 2022: Batch will be started from 6th December, 2021
GS PAPER-2 (New Batch will be started from 06th December, 2021)
IAS Foundation 2023-24: New Batch will be started from 14th December, 2021

Political crisis in Sri Lanka

  • Category
    World Affairs
  • Published
    28th Dec, 2018
  • India has welcomed resolution of the political crisis in Sri Lanka.
  • United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the prime minister of Sri Lanka, ending a 51-day power tussle in the island nation that had crippled the government.

Issue

Context:

  • India has welcomed resolution of the political crisis in Sri Lanka.
  • United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the prime minister of Sri Lanka, ending a 51-day power tussle in the island nation that had crippled the government.
  • The UNP leader had refused to step down asserting that his sacking was illegal. His re-appointment comes a day after former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was installed as Prime Minister by President Sirisena, after two crucial Supreme Court decisions made his efforts to cling to premiership unacceptable.

Background:

  • The presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa, from 2005 to 2015 was an increasingly authoritarian regime characterised by the diminishing human rights, nepotism, weakening of government institutions, slow progress of national reconciliation in the aftermath of the Sri Lankan Civil War, and close ties to China.
  • In response to the degrading democracy in the country, the United National Party (UNP), along with several other parties and civil organisations, signed a Memorandum of Understanding and decided to field Maithripala Sirisena, as the Common Candidate for the 2015 Presidential Election. Sirisena, a former health minister under Rajapaksa, pledged to appoint UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister if he were to win the election.
  • A national unity government was formed, which passed the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka on 28 April 2015, stipulating that the prime minister should remain in office for as long as his cabinet functions, unless he resigns or ceases to be a member of parliament.

India’s stand:

  • India remains committed to taking forward its people-oriented development projects in Sri Lanka.
  • The Indian statement refrains from using the term ‘constitutional crisis’, clearly indicating that it does not want to be seen as taking any position on the ‘political situation’ in Sri Lanka.
  • This is a deviation from New Delhi’s tough statements on the Maldivian situation.

Outcomes of Political Crisis:

Political

  • The turmoil angered many Sri Lankans and weakened both the President and Rajapaksa ahead of the polls.
  • The crisis saw a central role for the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. Its significance was huge in restoring constitutional governance for democracy in the country.

Economic:

  • The fragile Sri Lankan economy was badly hurt during the political upheaval with the steep loss in value in its currency, downgrading of its economy and loss in tourist revenue.
  • In the wake of the political crisis and doubts about the future of democracy, the United States and Japanese governments froze more than a billion US dollars’ worth of development aid.
  • The European Union also warned that if it did not stick to commitments on national reconciliation, it could withdraw duty-free concessions for Sri Lankan exports.
  • Credit rating agency Moody's released a statement downgrading the Sri Lankan Government's foreign currency issuer and senior unsecured ratings to B2 from B1 and changed the outlook to stable from negative.

Social:

  • President Sirisena's betrayal of the 2015 mandate, which opened a democratic space for Sri Lankans, shook and angered many citizens who spontaneously mobilised to defend constitutional governance, democracy, and freedom.
  • The crisis saw the resilience of Sri Lanka’s democracy among its citizens amid multiple setbacks.
  • Activism, participation and resistance was particularly large among young voters, whose political weapons were the use of political humour shared through social media.
You must be logged in to get greater insights.
X
Enquire Now