Columnists

The emerging crisis of cohabitation

Views - 6205 Thursday, 18 June 2015 00:10

As the Sirisena-UNP cohabitation crosses the six-month mark, the minority Government formed on 9 January faces a struggle for survival against an increasingly assertive SLFP. At the mercy of the presidency once again, the UNP looks set to relive i


Paving the way for Rajapaksa renaissance

Views - 6439 Thursday, 11 June 2015 00:00

Every distraction, legislative or otherwise, that delays a Parliamentary poll invariably plays into Mahinda Rajapaksa’s hands. A polling date set after the UN investigation report is made public – likely in mid-August – could


Freedom Party Blues II

Views - 4892 Thursday, 14 May 2015 01:45

Divided and confused, the SLFP is morphing into President Sirisena’s greatest vexation, with its shifting allegiances towards his predecessor, determination to scuttle his reform agenda and frustration that he has chosen to govern with their


The 'traitor' and the 'patriot'!

Views - 6869 Thursday, 26 February 2015 00:57

With an election looming in two months and an old opponent waiting in the shadows, Ranil Wickremesinghe must fight communal fires in both the North and the South to hold on to the premiership in the parliamentary poll In 2009, some months after th


Sharma hails 100-day plan as ‘innovative’ citizens’ charter

Views - 6045 Thursday, 12 February 2015 01:30

As Head of the Commonwealth, Kamalesh Sharma and his office have borne the biggest brunt of the organisation’s association with Sri Lanka’s previous ruling administration. On his sixth visit to the country in just over two years, Sharma arriv


Freedom: Take III

Views - 8430 Thursday, 5 February 2015 00:00

  Heads of armed forces salute President Maithripala Sirisena as he arrives to preside over the 67th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s independence from British colonial rule yesterday at Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte - Pic by Sudath Silva  


The tale of two CJs

Views - 6109 Thursday, 29 January 2015 00:35

In my country, where the rule of law is the underlying threshold upon which basic liberties exist, I still am the duly-appointed legitimate Chief Justice” – Shirani Bandaranayake, 15 January 2013 Eventually, it all ended the way it began. Th


How do you solve a problem like the Chief Justice?

Views - 4447 Thursday, 22 January 2015 01:39

Two years ago on 15 January, the Rajapaksa Government had to deploy elite police guards, water cannons and barricades to install Mohan Peiris in the Chief Justice’s chair at Hulftsdorp. As police prevented lawyers and journalists from entering thro


When democracy stood upon a razor’s edge

Views - 37145 Saturday, 17 January 2015 03:31

By all accounts, Asia’s oldest democracy stood at grave risk one week ago. The courage of a few public servants and military chiefs, who decided at the eleventh hour that the time was right to speak truth to power, may have saved the day. Without t


Mahinda vs. Maithri: Frenzied contest races to final week

Views - 8762 Thursday, 1 January 2015 00:00

A few months ago, President Mahinda Rajapaksa quipped that faced with a lack of opposition, his Government had to step into play the role. Supremely confident of victory, he sought re-election two years ahead of schedule. How does he come to be fi


The Piper and his broken charm!

Views - 4643 Thursday, 11 December 2014 01:10

With ruling party members still threatening to exit and the opposition campaign gaining momentum, can the Rajapaksa campaign continue to sing the same old tune? The 8 January 2015 presidential election is a feeding frenzy for international conspirat


“Momentum against executive presidency is unstoppable” - CBK

Views - 5781 Thursday, 4 December 2014 00:55

Love her or hate her, ex-President Chandrika Kumaratunga is a force to reckon with. Coming out of a nine-year retirement last month, the former Head of State has joined forces with a broad opposition movement attempting to abolish and reform the pres


Mahinda Rajapaksa vs. The Rest

Views - 11357 Thursday, 27 November 2014 00:01

Saturn has made its mischief and the January presidential contest now looks poised to become a hard-fought battle President Mahinda Rajapaksa smiles while attending the 18th SAARC Summit It all began with the stars. It was


Let the games begin...

Views - 3249 Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:54

“..And may the odds be ever in your favour” Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games ‘At the stroke of the midnight hour’ on 20 November, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who turned 69 years old on Tuesday was tipped to finally rubber-stamp and re


Sri Lanka and the C’wealth: Reading between the lines

Views - 3583 Thursday, 30 October 2014 00:10

“This erosion of democracy and fundamental freedoms is no longer only Sri Lanka’s crisis. The fate and future credibility of the Commonwealth is inextricably bound to the actions of its Chair in office...It is your crisis too.” Mangala Samaraw


Incumbent edge

Views - 2298 Thursday, 23 October 2014 00:00

The incumbent advantage usually lasts only 12 years. Not anymore. With the passing of the 18th Amendment, the incumbent President has a crucial head start in any electoral contest, potentially forever   Battle lines will be drawn this


Written in the stars!

Views - 3948 Thursday, 16 October 2014 00:23

His popularity may be slightly dented. His electoral invincibility is finally shaken. The minority communities appear to have deserted him en masse. Even his nationalist allies are threatening to work towards his defeat. But to the polls President


‘Man of the match’

Views - 11626 Thursday, 25 September 2014 00:10

Never before has a winning party licked its wounds so defensively. Never before has a losing side been so jubilant in defeat. The Uva provincial election will be epoch-making in more ways than one. But for bringing his party back with a fighting chan


Battling the ghosts of Aluthgama

Views - 6214 Thursday, 11 September 2014 01:05

In the lead-up to crucial UN Human Rights Council Sessions in March next year, the Government is in overdrive to win over the new top Envoy on Human Rights Prince Zeid, and retain the support of the Islamic bloc in Geneva, despite the long shadows ca


Echo chamber symphonies

Views - 8714 Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00

With repeated reassurances by side players in the international arena, it is no wonder the Government was  surprised by the TNA’s visit to New Delhi and its audience with the Indian Premier    The TNA delegation with Prime Minister


Throwing spokes in the wheel

Views - 3003 Thursday, 21 August 2014 00:02

An impending alliance between the feuding Ranil and Sajith factions may offer hope of unity within the main opposition United National Party, but will it torpedo burgeoning hopes of a common Opposition platform to contest the 2015 presidential poll?


All that glistens!

Views - 8425 Thursday, 14 August 2014 00:51

Do better roads and a spruced up capital city compensate for lousy prioritisation, corruption and repression in post-war Sri Lanka? Under the glass deck at the entrance to Independence Arcade on Bauddhaloka Mawatha, hundreds of ornamental fish swi


Uva: A high stakes game

Views - 2903 Thursday, 7 August 2014 00:44

Uva-Wellassa, the ‘land of one hundred thousand paddy fields,’ will go to the polls to elect its provincial representatives for the sixth time about six weeks from now. The border between Sri Lanka’s beautiful central hills region and its dry z


Civil society: The greatest bugbear, the greatest hope?

Views - 3139 Thursday, 31 July 2014 00:01

 Mahinda Rajapakse knows the power and impact of civil society because he worked with us – Dr. Nimalka Fernando, lawyer and activist     The young Parliamentarian from Hambantota was trying to board a plane bound for


Changing course!

Views - 5935 Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:10

Is the sudden announcement of a local war crimes inquiry including expertise from top foreign prosecutors intended to mount a legal defence for the Government against the UN investigation or will it be a parallel process against international moves u


Electoral stakes and reconciliation non-starters

Views - 2837 Thursday, 17 July 2014 00:00

With presidential elections in the offing and the incumbent setting his eyes on an unprecedented third term in office, the prospect of reconciliation and a final political solution to resolve Sri Lanka’s ethnic question looks as remote as ever


The great South African secret

Views - 2295 Thursday, 10 July 2014 00:00

Is South Africa involved in Sri Lanka to facilitate a political settlement to the ethnic problem or isn’t it? As it grapples with trying to showcase an internal credible process internationally and reining in its angry political allies at home, the


Aluthgama: A game without winners

Views - 4456 Thursday, 3 July 2014 00:40

As sporadic attacks against the Muslim community continue two weeks after the Aluthgama riots and instigators of the vicious religious violence roam free, fingers are still pointed against the Government for inaction and complicity. Politically


Striking the match

Views - 4645 Thursday, 26 June 2014 00:14

Hardline monks did not riot or burn in Aluthgama and Beruwala last Sunday night. They just struck the match upon their platforms and watched the towns burn “They hold harthals now even for small, small incidents. When the LTTE was killing all


The anatomy of an investigation

Views - 2477 Friday, 13 June 2014 01:00

With less than a month before the UN investigation is officially launched, the Government is still grappling with how to respond to one of its most existential crises After months of stony silence on the subject, President Mahinda Rajapaksa fin


Today's Columnists

Bringing beedi into tax net can yield Rs. 40 b in revenue

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Last week, the Financial Times quoted an AFP article that stated Sri Lanka will start regulating the toddy industry to boost tax revenues from the informal sector. This same principle should be applied to the beedi trade, which has also grown unabate


Grade 5 Scholarship examination and the future of the country

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

The Grade 5 scholarship examination results have been released recently. Although this is known as the “Mothers’ exam,” the mentality of the children can be well articulated when children come from the examination halls after the exams. Today w


Need for tax reforms: Government should not lose it this time but go for them early

Monday, 23 October 2017

In the first economic policy statement, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe made a number of pledges related to taxes and tax reforms. One was that the Government would review whether the tax concessions given to investors have really delivered the e


Lessons from Geneva

Saturday, 21 October 2017

‘Mission Impossible – Geneva’ is an inspiring account of developments at the Human Rights Council in Geneva when Dayan Jayatilleka was our Permanent Representative there. It is written by his wife Sanja, which provides for fascinating insights


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