Jehan Perera Colombo TelegraphThe discussions that President Ranil Wickremesinghe has commenced with the Tamil parties in the north and east are being seen as a possible precursor to elections in those two provinces. The talks are scheduled over three days. The president has an interest in holding some form of elections as the government’s moral legitimacy has been undermined by its refusal to conduct the local government elections on schedule. The president would be conscious that the manner of his election, by parliament and not by the people, creates an issue of moral legitimacy that needs to be addressed. The grounds for the repeated postponement of local government elections, that the money is either unavailable or better spent elsewhere, is clearly unacceptable from a democratic or rule of law perspective. Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa’s offer to pass a constitutional amendment to have early presidential elections reflects this sentiment.

Jehan Perera Colombo TelegraphThe government has withdrawn its draft Anti-Terrorism law (ATA), but only temporarily. Minister of Justice Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has said that he has decided to provide more time for proposals for reform to be submitted to it. There have been a very large number of statements and protests made against the draft law from a wide swathe of society including the Bar Association, civil society organisations, trade unions and highest ranking religious clergy. The main cause of opposition to it has been its sweeping over-breadth which will enable the government to suppress public protests that are recognised as being democratic and legitimate the world over. When the reality of economic restructuring caused by the economic collapse strikes its likely targets who are the middle and working classes the agitation against the government is bound to grow. It appears that the government is preparing its security arsenal to meet the exigencies of public protests. The ATA will be one of its chief weapons.

Jehan Perera Colombo TelegraphThe government appears to be bent on creating a mood swing in anticipation of elections in the belief that better off people are key opinion formers. The second round of reducing the prices of a variety of fuels (2 percent for ordinary petrol to 29 percent for super diesel used by luxury vehicles) is an indication that the government is seeking to improve its support base amongst the better off sections of the population. So far the government has resisted calls for local government elections, which are overdue, to be held. It would be aware that at the local level, people are suffering enormous price hikes, such as over 200 percent in the cost of their children’s school text books, let alone their electricity bills which have gone up by more than 300 percent. However, obtaining the people’s mandate through elections is a source of legitimacy. It enables a government to justify its existence and take decisions on behalf of the people.

Jehan Perera Colombo TelegraphSlowly but surely the ruling party is beginning to reassert itself. An indication is the removal of Prof GL Peiris from the chairmanship of the ruling party and replacing him with a Buddhist monk which gives a clear indication that the party intends to stay true to its nationalist roots. In the aftermath of the economic collapse last year Prof Peiris has been one of the few members from the SLPP to have adopted a reformist role. He was also one of the few members of the SLPP to vote for a reformist party member, Dullas Alahapperuma, to become the president of the country at the parliamentary election for the president. Unlike President Ranil Wickremesinghe who came in from the opposition, Dullas Alahapperuma would have had a bigger base of reformist support from within the ruling party which could have been used as leverage for a change in the system that had led to the collapse of the economy.

Jehan Perera Colombo TelegraphThe government has decided to present its proposed Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) to parliament for debate on April 25. The decision to delay calling for a vote on it, and using the government’s majority not to bulldoze its decision is to be welcomed. The government needs to reconsider its present formulation as it would impact on the democratic space and rights available to political parties, trade unions and civic activists. In any legal reform, the fundamental rights and protection of citizens need to be guaranteed. The power of the people is shared with the government for their benefit as per the constitution. The ATA fails to achieve both these objectives. The draft ATA presented by the government has several features that are worse than the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) that it is intended to replace.

Jehan Perera Colombo TelegraphPresident Ranil Wickremesinghe’s stock is rising high in the higher echelons of society where there is virtual unanimity that the president’s handling of the economic crisis has been masterful. The president’s achievement is seen in his restoration of order out of the chaos of the Aragalaya period and by getting the IMF to grant its biggest ever loan to the country. The message is going out that the president is the best man for the job and that there is no alternative to him. Shortly after the IMF loan came through the government reduced the price of petrol and diesel by a significant amount and also brought down the price of several other essential commodities.

Jehan Perera Colombo TelegraphA year after the protest movement took off into a mammoth public display of the popular desire for change, it appears to be no more. What appears on the streets on and off is a pale imitation of the mighty force of people rich and poor, from north and south, who occupied the main roads of downtown Colombo for more than three months. The government under President Ranil Wickremesinghe is leaving no room for the people to get on the streets again. This has been through a combination of both efficient and repressive policies that exceed those of the predecessor government.

Jehan Perera Colombo TelegraphThe unraveling of the economy at the beginning of 2022 had its immediate impact on the political sphere. Large numbers of people mobilized in protest until it became an ocean that swept through the capital city and entered the seats of power. A year later the economic crisis gives indications of being under control. A bail out agreement with the IMF appears to be only days away and the weak rupee has strengthened against the dollar. The government under President Ranil Wickremesinghe has shown itself to be tenacious. But there are three areas in which it needs to rethink its approach if its success is to be sustainable.

Jehan Perera Colombo TelegraphThe economy is beginning to give indications of macro stability which President Ranil Wickremesinghe has made his primary objective. The most visible of these is the appreciation of the rupee against the dollar and other international currencies which signals a shift from the previous trend of depreciation. Over the past year the cost of the dollar rose by as much as 80 percent in the official exchange rate and even more on the black market. The current appreciation of the rupee is attributed to the rise in foreign exchange earnings including the upswing in tourism. But it is still contingent upon import controls and also non-repayment of foreign debt due to the declaration of bankruptcy.

Jehan Perera Colombo TelegraphGovernment supporters appear to be satisfied at the masterful manner by which they believe they have had the local government elections postponed. They deny there was to be an election to be postponed at all. They find fault with the Election Commission for not having minutes of the meeting they had to decide on the date, and for not having a quorum among their five members for that meeting—although all five signed a letter declaring March 9 to be the date of the election. There is also the second argument that the country has no money to set aside for elections. The government has set aside other areas as essential services for which scarce government money is available but holding the local government elections is not one of those. The government has been arguing that the country simply cannot afford an election at this time as it is bankrupt.

Jehan Perera Colombo TelegraphThe local government elections are unlikely to take place as scheduled on March 9. This is on account of the government printer declining to print ballot papers without prior payment by the Election Commission. The Election Commission is on record saying that due to this delay in the printing of ballot papers, and the difficulty of completing the postal voting on time, the elections may need to be postponed. This unexpected turn of events throws the country’s democratic process into jeopardy. It follows a government decision not to permit credit purchases by government departments. A long prevalent practice of the government printer undertaking the printing of ballot papers without payment in advance has been put into abeyance.

Jehan Perera Colombo TelegraphThere was Solomon-like wisdom in the Supreme Court’s decision with regard to the local government election cases that came before it. The first case it took up was brought before it by opposition parties who are concerned that the government is doing its utmost to prevent those elections. The Election Commission has been under severe pressure from the government to call off or postpone those elections. One of the key opposition leaders Prof G L Peiris has outlined the multiple ways in which the government has made its attempts, including the unacceptable one of claiming not to have enough money to hold elections. But the Election Commission has stood firm and declared March 9 to be the date of the elections and set the election process in motion. In its judgment the Supreme Court stated that the Election Commission had undertaken to conduct those elections, and as they were the proper authority, there was no need for the court to intervene further.

Jehan Perera Colombo TelegraphThe government celebrated the 75th Anniversary of its independence from colonial rule under tight security. President Ranil Wickremesinghe did not even deliver a speech on the occasion. He had an excellent written speech, but chose not to deliver it for reasons not known. The speech was circulated later. The exclusion of the general public from the parade grounds was another notable feature of the Independence Day event. Under normal circumstances, Galle Face green where the celebration took place, is packed with people who come to enjoy the sea, the fresh air and the vast expanse of greenery. The spectacle of a military parade and an air show provided an occasion that people would not have wished to miss if they had been given the chance to attend it. But the government was clearly insecure and wanted to make sure it controlled the situation, which accounted for large security deployments.

Jehan Perera Colombo TelegraphThe government’s proposal to set up a truth and reconciliation mechanism to deal with the unresolved human rights issues of the war will get a boost in the aftermath of last week’s unexpected developments that will directly affect three former presidents of Sri Lanka hitherto thought to be untouchable by virtue of their power, prestige and legal immunities. The first was the Canadian government’s notice that former presidents Mahinda and Gotabaya Rajapaksa would be subjected to targeted sanctions for human rights violations committed during their periods of office. Any economic assets they may have in Canada will be liable to be frozen. They will also be subjected to travel bans to Canada. Previously limited travel sanctions had been imposed against military officers accused of human rights violations most notably by the United States.

கலாநிதி ஜெகான் பெரேரா
நீர்ச்சறுக்கல் விளையாட்டில் ஈடுபடுபவர்கள் கடல் அலைகளைக் கையாளும் ஆற்றல் கொண்டவர்களாக இருக்கவேண்டும்.அலை எந்தளவுக்கு பெரியதாக இருக்கிறதோ அந்தளவுக்கு அவர்கள் உயரத்துக்கு செல்வார்கள். அலையில் இருந்து தப்பிக்க முயற்சிப்பவர்கள் அதன் கீழே மூழ்கிவிடுவார்கள். எதிரணி அரசியல் கட்சிகளினால் உருவாக்கப்படுகின்ற உள்ளூராட்சி தேர்தல்களுக்கான கோரிக்கை அலையை ஜனாதிபதி ரணில் விக்கிரமசிங்க கையாளுவார் என்றே தோன்றியது.சட்டப்படி இந்த தேர்தல்கள் எதிர்வரும் மார்ச் மாதமளவில் நடத்தப்படவேண்டியவையாக இருக்கின்றன.

Jehan Perera Colombo Telegraphදිය මත ලිස්සා යන්නවුන් ගනුදෙනු කරන්නේ රළ සමගය. තරංගය විශාල වන තරමට ඔවුහු ඉහළට ගමන් කරති. රළ මගහැරීමට උත්සාහ කරන්නෝ රැල්ලට යට වෙති. විපක්‍ෂයේ දේශපාලන පක්‍ෂ විසින් නිර්මාණය කරන පළාත් පාලන මැතිවරණය කැඳවන එම රැල්ල මතින් රනිල් වික‍්‍රමසිංහ ජනාධිපතිවරයා ලිස්සා යෑමට නියමිත බව පෙනෙන්නට තිබිණි. මේ වසරේ මාර්තු මාසය වන විට නීත්‍යානුකූලව මැතිවරණය පැවැත්වීමට නියමිතය. ඡන්දදායකයන් ආණ්ඩු පක්ෂය කෙරෙහි දක්වන පහතට වැටුණු ගෞරවය ඉදිරි මැතිවරණවලින් පෙන්නුම් කිරීමට ඉඩ තිබේ. එමගින්, ඔවුන් සමඟ ගනුදෙනු කිරීමේදී ජනාධිපතිවරයාගේ හස්තය ශක්තිමත් කළ හැකි අතර, රට නැවත ගොඩනැගීමට අවශ්‍ය ක්‍රියාමාර්ගවලට එළඹීමට ඔවුන්ට බල කළ හැකිය. ඇත්ත වශයෙන්ම, ජනාධිපතිවරයා කල්තියා ප්‍රකාශ කළේ තමා මැතිවරණවලදී තම දේශපාලන පක්ෂය වෙනුවෙන් පවා ප්‍රචාරක කටයුතුවල නොදෙන බවත්, ජාතික ආර්ථිකයට පණ දීම තමාගේ ජනවරම වූ බැවින් පක්ෂ දේශපාලනික කටයුතුවලින් ඉවත්ව සිටින බවත්ය.

About us

The National Peace Council (NPC) was established as an independent and impartial national non-government organization