Takshashila Strategic Assessment: Political Developments in Sri Lanka

By Sudha Ramachandran, Hamsini Hariharan, and Shibani Mehta

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Executive Summary

The victory of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) in the local bodies’ elections in Sri Lanka in February reflects public dissatisfaction with the ruling coalition’s performance. It also indicates that Rajapaksa continues to draw the bulk of the votes of the island’s Sinhalese-Buddhist nationalists. The SLPP’s recent performance has provided a shot in the arm to the Rajapaksa family’s political ambitions. However, the ruling Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe coalition could possibly win the general elections due in 2020, especially if they win the support of the minorities (Tamils and Muslims).

The challenge for the United National Party (UNP) will be to draw a chunk of Sinhalese support and to win the backing of parties representing the minorities. The need to secure the support of the minorities may propel the UNP to move forward on constitutional reform. Important factors to be taken into consideration include the roles that former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the island’s minorities are likely to play in the coming months.


Download the Assessment in PDF [700 KB]