Political Column

Democracy at crossroads

"It's a victory for all our MPs and those who backed them," declared a jubilant President Mahinda Rajapaksa when his ministers joined him for the weekly cabinet meeting last Wednesday night. All of them drove to 'Temple Trees', straight from Parliament where more than a two-thirds majority approved the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.
5th Column

Oh, democracy- my heart aches for you!

The year: 2030
The Place: Rajasthan, in the Indian sub-continent

The report: the travel diary of a tourist travelling around the country, accompanied by his local guide. As I board the aircraft of RajAir, I am struck by the hospitality of the smiling stewardesses and their peculiar uniform: a sari with a dark maroon coloured sash worn around it. As I travel the country later, I realize that the maroon coloured sash has become a way of life in this part of the world.

The Economic Analysis
Missing opportunities for economic development
Once again the country has been immersed in a controversial political and constitutional issue. This is in fact the latest in a continuous series of political issues that have been the main focus of the nation since the ending of the war 15 months ago. There is talk about achieving a high rate of economic growth but the focus has not been on the economy. If truth be told, many of the events that have preoccupied the government and people were not merely a distraction but were counter productive to the economy.
Lots of sound, little substance in a farce of a debate
As one government member put it in Parliament last Wednesday, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has achieved two things that for years people were made to believe were unachievable. First he gave leadership to the military defeat of the LTTE. Second he managed to muster a two thirds majority in Parliament under the Proportional Representation (PR) system of elections, to get the necessary numbers to make constitutional changes.
Focus on Rights
Our death chant for democracy
There were passing antics on display this week over the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. One considerably amusing spectacle was the unholy difficulty with which apparent supporters of this perverse amendment stuttered and stammered over their positions or the lack thereof.
Talk at the Cafe Spectator
Talatha's storm in Ranil's coffee cup
UNP's Ratnapura District Parliamentarian Talatha Atukorale, the sister of the late Gamini Atukorale, one-time UNP General Secretary, castigated her leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, for rushing to talk on constitutional amendments with President Rajapaksa.
Column by Lasanda Kurukulasuriya
18th Amendment: Legitimizing a culture of “Hondamai Sir?”
The very short space of time that it took for the 18th Amendment to the Constitution to become law, allowed people little chance to realize what was about to hit them. The public didn’t have the benefit of the broad discussion that should have preceded a ‘game changing’ move of this kind.


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