On Jan. 8, two years ahead of schedule, Sri Lanka will hold a presidential election that could help restore democracy by scrapping the country’s authoritarian presidency and replacing it with a strong parliament. Real change, however, seems unlikely While the political opposition has campaigned on a platform of good governance and rule of law, it has also systematically undermined pluralism and minority rights, as well as justice and accountability for past crimes. Both the opposition parties and the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance of President Mahinda Rajapaksa — in power since Nov. 2005 — have effectively shut Sri Lanka’s Tamil and Muslim minorities out of the upcoming election. Restoring democracy, it seems, will take the support of the international community. [ full story |By J. S. Tissainayagam| Or jdslanka.org
A Tamil youth from Ka’luthaa-va’lai in Batticaloa district, who questioned ex-paramilitary operative and former chief minister of Eastern Provincial Council Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan at a pro-Rajapaksa campaign meeting at Ka’luthaava’lai on Thursday, was brutally assaulted after the youth questioned Pillayan on his merits. “We know the genocidal record of Rajapaksa, what is your record,” the 23-year-old youth had questioned the former EPC chief minister at the meeting where Chandrakanthan was eulogising SL president Mahinda Rajapaksa. The youth, Anthonipillay Atputharasa, has been admitted at the Teaching Hospital of Batticaloa in a serious condition, news sources in Ka’luthaa-va’lai told TamilNet. Full story >>
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