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Showing posts from 2012
The Impeachment and the Independence of Judiciary Sumanasiri Liyanage
Many are trying to interpret the attempt by the UPFA members of the Parliament to impeach the Chief Justice as a blow for the independence of judiciary, a highly valued element of democracy. Judiciary if operates independently, is posited as the last bastion of democracy in which people can seek justice when the two branches of the government, the legislature and the executive, wittingly or unwittingly, take unjust decisions affecting the citizens. Since the impeachment motion was presented to the Speaker of the Parliament, almost all have argued that it has been an attempt to scotch the independence of judiciary as some of the determinations of the Supreme Court affected adversely some of the bills the UPFA government wanted to pass quickly. It has also been mentioned that powerful politicians were unhappy over some of the decisions of the Judiciary Service Commission. The Secretary of the JSC was attacked by an uni…
Systems are Collapsing!! So What? Perspective of the Left
Sumanasiri Liyanage
My friends who have or previously had links with the Marxist left are greatly perturbed these days by the series of events that were unleashed in the recent past and that seem to have reached a climax with the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice. It is quite natural that these developments have put liberals off balance. Unfortunately, the left in Sri Lanka are at present in the same boat. What is resonated in their minds appears to be that ‘the whole system is collapsing’; ‘the system has begun to collapse’. This state of mind is clearly reflected not only in their writings and public statements but also in private conversations. I share their reading of the situation, i.e, systems have begun to collapse; but I am not disturbed by the situation. On the contrary, I am quite happy over the fact that the system has begun to collapse. Is not this a situation we in the left have been waiting for? Did not w…
Deconstructing Development Sumanasiri Liyanage
The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.
~Albert Camus
The Minister for Economic Development in presenting Divineguma Bill to the Parliament tried to portray the government’s effort to economic development as a ‘second war’, the first was the one waged against ‘terrorism’ i.e. the LTTE insurgency. The phrase ‘the war for development’ or ‘the developmental war’ sounds paradoxical. ‘Development’ is generally depicted as something ‘good’ while ‘war’ is portrayed as something essentially bad. Immanuel Wallerstein once remarked: “There is perhaps no social objective that can find as nearly unanimous acceptance today as that of economic development. I doubt that there has been a single government anywhere in the last 30 years that has not asserted it was pursuing this objective, at least for its own country. Everywhere in the world today, what divides left and right, however defined, is not whether or not to de…
The 13th Amendment: UPFA Government is Heading for its First Defeat in the Parlaiment Sumanasiri Liyanage
The virtual repeal of the 17th Amendment as a necessary corollary of the enactment of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka, the chauvinist forces in the South began to raise the possibility of further amendment to the constitution by using the two-third majority that the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) have in the Parliament. Their clear target has been the 13th Amendment that introduced in 1987 for the first time in independent Sri Lanka a devolved system of government to make the government structure more democratic and decentralized many flaws of the new system notwithstanding. With the decision of the Supreme Court on the Divineguma Bill and the new issue on if the decision of the Provincial Governor can be considered as the decision of the Provincial Council, we witness today a reemergence of the debate on the place and future of the 13th Amendment in the…
6 per cent GDP on education: from a fantasy to a real program. Sumanasiri Liyanage

Of the four trade union actions, the Federation of University Teachers’ Association (FUTA) has been so far engaged in in its about three decades of history, the one that came to conclusion last week was the first that ended with no tangible material results. On the other hand, the last trade union action was of great significance for two reasons. First, it was the first strike action by the university teachers. FUTA had resorted to different activity frame as in previous three occasions, namely resigning from voluntary positions that the university teachers held in normal situation. Secondly, extending its 2011 strategy of taking the issue of education reforms beyond the boundaries of the university and to the general masses, FUTA this time highlighted more general issues of education reforms than the specific demands of its members. Hence FUTA was able to generate a broader discussion on the educational …
Northern Province Election and the PSC Sumanasiri Liyanage


Giving an interview to an Indian national newspaper based in Chennai, The Hindu, appears to have become a perennial practice of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. In this interview, (http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3624948.ece) he has revealed that “We want to hold elections in September 2013. We are working towards it [the elections] in a systematic manner.” President Rajapaksa who has great liking for elections at whatever level and who has initiated recently preponing three provincial elections including the election of the war-ravaged Eastern Province has tried time and again since May 2009 to postpone the elections to the Northern PC giving multiple excuses. Of course one may easily find adequate reasons for the postponement of election in an area where a ‘dirty’ war was fought for nearly 30 years. Nonetheless, one of the principal measures that has been suggested to take to move in the direction of normalizatio…

International Politics

India’s Vote at the UNHRC: What went wrong? Sumanasiri Liyanage One may justifiably argue that India’s vote in favor of the US Resolution against Sri Lanka happened to be the main reason behind its adoption in Geneva. India has been regarded as the undeclared moral leader of the Global South so that the countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America usually take into note what position India holds on important global and regional issues. I am sure that India’s vote surprised Sri Lankan delegates in Geneva and India’s explanation why It had decided to vote in favor of the US Resolution has not been clear and Indian Prime Minister’s letter to the President Mahinda Rajapaksa was apologetic, and not explanatory. If one reminds what the Indian External Affairs Minister said at a press conference after ending his recent visit to Sri Lanka, it was hardly to see any indication that India had an intention to take such a decision in March 2012. He was not critical at all over the lack of a time fram…