Suddenly, Sri Lanka Presidential Elections Become a Real Contest

[ NewYork Times ][ Nov 21 20:01 GMT ]

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s health minister quit on Friday to become the opposition candidate in the election set for January, surprising the incumbent with a united and robust challenge to his bid for an unprecedented third term.“This has all the potential of being a real electoral contest now,” said Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, executive director of the Center for Policy Alternatives in Colombo. “The Rajapaksas simply cannot afford to lose power, so it promises to be a hard-fought campaign.” [ full story | comments ]

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Common Candidate: "The entire economy and every aspect of society are controlled by one family." [ more ]



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Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa facing electoral rebellion

[ DW ][ Nov 21 20:07 GMT ]

The unprecedented presidential third term sought by Sri Lanka's leader Mahinda Rajapaska has been challenged. His health minister Mithripala Sirisena has quit, saying he will run as joint opposition candidate. Sirisena, who had also been No. 2 figure in the ruling Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP), quit Sri Lanka's cabinet on Friday, accusing President Rajapaska of moving the country "towards a dictatorship." "After the war victory, the present government started veering in a direction that none of us expected," Sirisena told reporters while accompanied by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. [ full story | comments ]

Presidential election on January 8

[ Nation ][ Nov 21 14:59 GMT ]

The Department of Elections has now confirmed that the declared presidential election will be held on January 8, 2015. According to officials of the department nominations for the presidential race are to be called on December 8. The news follows the unveiling of former Minister of Health and General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Maithripala Sirisena as the common candidate facing off with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the upcoming elections. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lankan minister defects to challenge president

[ AFP ][ Nov 21 14:08 GMT ]

A senior minister quit Sri Lanka's ruling party on Friday (Nov 21) to stand as the main opposition's candidate in upcoming elections as he accused President Mahinda Rajapakse of turning the country into a dictatorship. "I thank the UNP for choosing me as the common opposition candidate," "The country is heading towards a dictatorship," said 63-year-old Sirisena, who also accused the president of nepotism. "The entire economy and every aspect of society are controlled by one family." [ full story | comments ]

I am the Common candidate- Maithripala

[ Daily Mirror ][ Nov 21 11:11 GMT ]

In what appeared to be a major political strategy, the United National Party (UNP) today decided to support SLFP General Secretary and Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena as the common candidate for the upcoming presidential election. Police activities, Law and order have being challenged today.I never thought the UNP or other parties would select me as the common candidate. I couldn’t even impose pictorial warnings on cigarette packets though I’m the Health Minister. Vote for me at the upcoming election. I will abolish the execu [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka president seeks third term, critics want powers curbed

[ Reuters ][ Nov 20 14:53 GMT ]

Sri Lanka's Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Thursday he would seek an unprecedented third term as president, prompting one of his lawmakers to join the opposition with a call to curb the presidency's "draconian powers".His poll ratings have fallen sharply since, however, and critics, including his coalition partners, say Sri Lanka's "executive presidency" -- introduced by a 1978 constitution -- gives him and his family too much power. "I am declaring a secret today. I have signed the proclamation calling for the election, for re-election for the third time ... That is democracy," Rajapaksa said, addressing a gathering shown on state television. [ full story | comments ]

For Mannar Bishop, Joseph Vaz led John Paul II and Francis to Sri Lanka

[ Asia News ][ Nov 19 15:32 GMT ]

John Paul II's visit in 1995 and Francis' visit in 2015 are linked by a "blessed coincidence," embodied by the figure of Fr Joseph Vaz "who brought the Catholic faith to Sri Lanka and proclaimed the Word of God in defiance of persecution under Dutch rule," said Mgr Rayappu Joseph, bishop of Mannar.For Mgr Joseph, Pope Francis' visit is doubly important because he "will be the first pope to set foot in northern Sri Lanka [where the civil war raged until 2009] where he will meet the Tamil population."In the Diocese of Mannar, "Tamils are the majority but the district is also the only one in Sri Lanka where Catholics are the largest group with 32 per cent." [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka releases Indian fishermen on death row

[ Hindu ][ Nov 19 15:20 GMT ]

The Sri Lankan Government on Wednesday released the five Indian fishermen, sentenced to death in a case of alleged drug trafficking. An official told The Hindu that the five fishermen had been released to the care of the Indian High Commission in Colombo, before being sent back to India. It is learnt that they will serve no further jail term in India. The release came after Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa commuted their death penalty. Prison officials said the five fishermen have been handed over to the immigration authorities for further action. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka: Are Indian concerns on Chinese naval presence justified -Analysis

[ Eurasia Review ][ Nov 18 17:58 GMT ]

India is yet to learn from the ‘Cold War’ era, where it took its strategic decisions independent of its neighbours, and seldom took them into confidence – but expected them to leave it all to India. Post-Cold War, the sources of Indian concerns have changed, so have its friends and partners from outside the South Asian region. Yet, there is nothing to suggest that it has taken to winning over neighbours as ‘strategic friends and partners’ in the first instance, before going elsewhere. [ full story | comments ]

International designer brand Tommy Hilfiger to launch in Sri Lanka

[ LBO ][ Nov 18 13:22 GMT ]

International designer brand Tommy Hilfiger will open its first store in Sri Lanka next month marking the first international designer brand to launch in the country.American fashion designer Thomas Jacob Hilfiger is the founder of the lifestyle brand Tommy Hilfiger Corporation. The designer showcases his collection every season at New York Fashion Week and the current FH’14 collection that will be launched in Colombo is inspired from his classic American roots with a signature twist. [ full story | comments ]

Increasing fear Rajapaksa not playing a straight bat

[ Economic Times ][ Nov 18 10:55 GMT ]

Why are India-Sri Lanka relations in such trouble? The recent case of five Indian fishermen who were initially sentenced to death and then released (pending an appeal) for alleged smuggling of contraband is a case in point. The episode is scarcely the root of all problems but different perceptions of it point to a trust deficit. Similarly, the docking of Chinese nuclear-powered submarines and warships in Colombo, too, caused concern. When spoken to by Indian officials, the Sri Lankan defence secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa (brother of the country’s president), is said to have been evasive and to have dissimulated, until irrefutable evidence was presented. This too has broadened the trust gulf. [ full story | comments ]

Maithripala and others sacked

[ Daily Mirror ][ Nov 21 15:16 GMT ]

President Mahinda Rajapaksa today sacked Ministers Maithripala Sirisena, Rajitha Senaratne, Duminda Dissanayake and Deputy Minister M.K.D.S. Gunawardane from their portfolios and cancelled their SLFP membership. [ full story | comments ]

Maithripala's "Reasons" To Leave the Govt: CBK Was The "Chief Architect" Behind The Scene

[ Asian Mirror ][ Nov 21 14:48 GMT ]

Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, who was prevented from contesting at the upcoming presidential election by her close associates due to legal impediments, was the chief architect of the entire process behind making SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena the common candidate of the opposition. Maithripala was offered the PM position of the UPFA government on Wednesday evening in the wake of the claims that he might leave the government. But he raised suspicions over the bona fides of the move and refused to accept the position citing "personal reasons". [ full story | comments ]

Clinging to power in Sri Lanka?

[ Al-Jazeera ][ Nov 21 11:13 GMT ]

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has called early elections as he tries to extend his decade-long rule. Rajapaksa came to power after narrowly winning the 2005 presidential election, and increased his majority in 2010 after being credited with ending the decades-long separatist war against the Tamil Tigers. But Sri Lanka's youngest ever member of parliament has seen his popularity fade. In September, his United People's Freedom Alliance suffered its worst performance in local elections since he took office. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka north assembly calls for release of Tamil detainees

[ PTI ][ Nov 20 14:56 GMT ]

Sri Lanka's Northern Provincial Council today unanimously adopted a resolution calling for urgent action for the release of Tamil political prisoners. The resolution was adopted unanimously to this effect, said Council's Chairman CVK Sivagnanam. The Northern Provincial Council is controlled by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), an amalgam of five Tamil parties. According to the resolution, some of the Tamil political prisoners have spent between 8-15 years in jail and are continued to be held without charges. [ full story | comments ]

While opposition seeks its Presidential common candidate Parties leaving UPFA shakes Government’s Popularity

[ Daily Mirror ][ Nov 20 14:46 GMT ]

For the first time after the war victory, the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) was shaken by the fact that one of its allies left it, making somewhat of a challenge to the unstinted popularity it enjoyed so far at electorates, particularly in the non-urban areas. The opposition looks happy now as they believe the JHU’s move will be the death knell of the government bracing for a presidential election in early January. However, things will unfold after the announcement of the election today as widely expected; making clear what direction all these parties will take in view of the next presidency of the country. [ full story | comments ]

A Chinese naval base for Sri Lanka?

[ News 1 ][ Nov 19 15:27 GMT ]

The Namibian, citing reports in the Chinese media, says that China is planning to establish 18 naval bases in strategic locations that included the port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka. Another one of these naval bases is due to be established in the Walvis Bay in Namibia and this was confirmed to The Namibian newspaper by Namibian Ministry of Defence spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Monica Sheya.The Namibian reports that China plans to build replenishment, berthing and maintenance bases in foreign countries through mutually beneficial and friendly consultations. [ full story | comments ]

TN Delegation Demands Release of 5 Fishermen on Death Row In Lanka

[ PTI ][ Nov 19 11:22 GMT ]

Amid uncertainty over the release of five Indian fishermen facing death sentence in Sri Lanka, a delegation of fishermen from Tamil Nadu today met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and sought Centre's intervention for their "immediate release". The delegation, accompanied by senior BJP leaders from the state and Union Minister State for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan, held talks for nearly 90 minutes and also sought Centre's intervention to release boats, seized by the Lankan authorities."The government is committed to the efforts of bringing back the fishermen," Radhakrishnan told reporters after the meeting here. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka's civil war: Giving voice to the voiceless

[ The Economist ][ Nov 18 14:57 GMT ]

Maya Arulpragasam is a British-born rapper of Sri Lankan heritage, better known as M.I.A. Her background is rather different from that of most people working in the music industry. Her father was heavily involved in the fight to defend the rights of the minority Tamil community in Sri Lanka, and M.I.A. spent her early life in the northern, Tamil-dominated part of Sri Lanka. During the 25-year civil war, which saw fighters struggling to create a Tamil homeland before final defeat in 2009, she returned to Britain with her mother and siblings. M.I.A. can speak to an audience of millions about what she saw. But the accounts of ordinary people caught up in the same horrendous conflict, which killed up to 100,000 people, are not usually heard. [ full story | comments ]

Champika, Udaya resign from ministries

[ Daily Mirror ][ Nov 18 10:56 GMT ]

Science and Technology Minister and JHU General Secretary Patali Champika Ranawaka today said he and Western Provincial Council Minister Udaya Gammanpila would resign from their ministerial positions and remain as JHU representatives of the UPFA. They would continue to function under the UPFA but will take action based on the JHU principals and policies.“We are afraid to none, even to death. Anyone will become selfish when he becomes executive President,” the Thera said. [ full story | comments ]

Interest in resettlement cost life to Nakuleswaran

[ TamilNet ][ Nov 17 19:45 GMT ]

Funeral of assassinated Krishnasamy Nakuleswaran was held on Sunday at his village, Eekam-kudiyiruppu (settlement of sacrifice), at Ve’l’laang-ku’lam in Mannaar. 15 uniformed SL military men were busy taking photographs from different corners at the funeral and 70 of the 200 participants were intelligence operatives on surveillance assignment, residents told TamilNet Sunday. While many people believed that the SL military intelligence had chosen a target to create fear psychosis among the families of Tamil Heroes, the residents of the village were of the opinion that Nakuleswaran’s interest in working for the proper resettlement of his people had cost him his life. [ full story | comments ]

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