Harim Peiris

Political and Reconciliation perspectives from Sri Lanka

  • June 2013
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Archive for June, 2013

UNP constitutional proposals verses the Rajapakse constitutional amendment

Posted by harimpeiris on June 25, 2013

Both the ruling Rajapakse Administration and the opposition United National Party are busy with their own versions of constitutional reform. The UNP with making constitutional reform proposals for dialogue and discussion, while the Government, was busy using its two third majority to rush through yet another constitutional amendment, this one reducing even further the very limited and truncated devolution of political power existing under the current 13th amendment to the Constitution. Read the rest of this entry »


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Viroda Vipakshaya, General Fonseka and early presidential stakes

Posted by harimpeiris on June 17, 2013

The political opposition in Sri Lanka seems freshly energized if recent events are anything to go by. The UNP has formed some form of a broader opposition coalition through the “Viroda Vipakshaya” and released a draft constitution as a discussion document for public and civil society debate, while the JVP galvanized by the economic issue of the electricity rate hike is seeking to mobilize support. General Fonseka, the united opposition’s presidential candidate in 2010, succeeded in getting his democratic party recognized by the Elections Commission, thereby changing the political opposition landscape at a time when there is considerable speculation in political circles that the proposed 19th amendment to the constitution will not only reduce the powers of the provincial council but also reduce the presidential term from six years to five years and thereby enable presidential elections early next year, with only a loss of one year in the incumbent’s current term. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stripping PC powers and toying with a PSC

Posted by harimpeiris on June 12, 2013

The Rajapakse government has in recent weeks put into high gear its post war Northern or Tamil policy and this policy has been marked by generally trying to reduce the level of devolution that exists in the country under the 13th amendment. What currently exists as devolution is also only a partial implementation of the 13th amendment, since in practice neither police nor land powers have been vested with the provinces since the inception of the Councils. However, not satisfied with a de facto arrangement of reducing the powers of the councils, the Administration desires a de jure reduction of devolution granted under the 13th amendment. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rajapakse Regime must speak with one voice on devolution and reconciliation

Posted by harimpeiris on June 4, 2013

President Mahinda Rajapakse has announced that elections to the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) would be conducted in September this year, ahead of the Commonwealth heads of government meeting (CHOGM) scheduled for November. The media minister, in a post cabinet meeting press conference has confirmed the same.  Prior to the public announcement, political insiders indicate that many private assurances regarding holding the NPC were given to various foreign leaders in return for their political support at crucial times, including to the Japanese and Indian prime ministers, resulting in the former hosting President Rajapakse in Tokyo in style while Sri Lanka’s poor human rights and reconciliation record was being hauled over the coals in Geneva last March and the Indians throwing their considerable political weight behind Sri Lanka hosting the CHOGM, in the face of a spirited attempt by Canada to effect a change, also based on the same human rights and reconciliation issues.


Aside from the political quid pro quos, the Northern Provincial Council and the elections to the same has some serious and significant merits on its own which should figure into government policy making. Read the rest of this entry »

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