Sri Lanka: Clash between Government and opposition

In Sri Lanka, President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government has been at loggerheads with the opposition for its continued postponement of local elections. Opposition parties are now openly accusing the President of establishing a dictatorship. The main opposition Samgai Jana Balawegaya (SJB) has even accused Wickremesinghe of following in the footsteps of former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. Idi Amin was the president of Uganda in the 1970s who brutally repressed his opponents.

SJB MP Harsha Rajkaruna addressed the reporters on Friday. He said that there has been a complete silence on the elections to local bodies and provincial councils and the whole country is being run in a dictatorial manner. He said- ‘Elections of provincial councils are not being conducted. Now they are not even being discussed. To run the provinces, the central government has appointed its special people as governors. The same person runs the whole province. Rajkaruna alleged that the government has also ignored the court’s decision in this matter.

Meanwhile, the United National Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has said that if President Wickremesinghe wants to build a consensus in the country, he should immediately form a national government. UNFA General Secretary Thilanga Samuthipala has said that if Wickremesinghe is not infatuated with power, he can get the support of other parties on important issues. In the present situation, no party will oppose the proposal of the national government. But the issues on which there is no consensus will be opposed.

The UPF is largely the party of former President Maithripala Sirisena. She was in power in the first decade of this century. But later most of the top leaders of this party broke away from it and formed the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), which came to power in the last election. Wickremesinghe became the President with the support of the LSPP. Wickremesinghe became President in July 2022. Since then, he has been appealing for building a consensus on important issues in the country.

Apart from local and provincial elections, the issue of privatization of public sector enterprises has also become a bone of contention between the government and the opposition. SJB has complained that transparency is not being maintained in the privatization process. A tender process is not being followed in this. The party has alleged that deals are being done under cover in the name of implementing economic reforms and restructuring public establishments.

Harsha Rajakaruna alleged on Friday that 14 acres of land in Colombo Port were given to a Chinese company without any tender process. He alleged that the government has also already decided that Sri Lanka Telecom and Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation will be handed over to a private company.

GovernmentoppositionRanil WickremesingheSri LankaSri Lanka: Clash between Government and opposition