17 May, 2022


When The Crisis Deepens …

By Jayadeva Uyangoda

Prof. Jayadeva Uyangoda

Sri Lanka’s politico-constitutional crisis has begun to show signs of deteriorating into an open struggle for state power, ensuing extra-parliamentary causes of action for its resolution. This path to potential violence and total retreat from democracy needs to be prevented forthwith. 

Yet, at the moment there does not seem to be political space available or conditions conducive for such a peaceful end to the crisis. 

Only the enlightened self-interest dawned on the main protagonists to the conflict can avert a confrontation with destructive political consequences. For them, particularly for Sri Lanka’s President and the two competing Prime Ministers, the time has come for exploring peaceful alternatives to the present deadlock, which is now moving in the direction of a dangerously volatile phase.

Paradoxically, parliament seems to be the new arena of contestation between the two sides. At the same time, and paradoxically, parliament is likely to be used not as a forum for mature debate and discussion for conflict resolution, but as an arena for, to borrow a phrase from George Orwell, ‘a war minus the shooting.’

This power struggle has been brewing for quite some time. What was initially a three-cornered one seems to have suddenly taken the form of a two-cornered, bipolar, power struggle. 

The events amidst the rain and darkness on the evening of October 26 and the days that followed, have led to crystallization with utmost clarity, that Sri Lanka’s power elites have now drawn the battle lines clearly. Most worryingly, employing extra-parliamentary means to settle this ever-sharpening dispute for state power might even be viewed as an unavoidable political necessity, arising from political realism.

That provides the context for the possibility of parliament becoming the arena for extra-parliamentary solutions to the crisis. This is precisely the possibility that needs to be immediately averted.

The current status of the conflict shows that the resources, both institutional and intellectual available to the two camps of politicians, are fast becoming inadequate to settle the escalating conflict peacefully. Actually, now it is a political conflict that is fast moving beyond the limits of political capacity of the professional politicians and their advisors.  

The conflict is now too serious to be left to politicians alone for its resolution.

This increasingly dangerous political situation calls for politico-moral intervention by religious and community leaders, respected elders, civil society movements, and concerned citizens. 

Their moral intervention has great immediacy. It has to be, literally, today or tomorrow, before the convening of parliament on the 14th.

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Latest comments

  • 5

    Best option is army take over the government for some time and until Sri Lanka calls for general election to clean up politics.
    Secondly; Sri Lanka needs to set some some qualification for those who stand for election .50% Mps are without GCSE?
    Is it acceptable in this modern world.?
    How long this conflict goes?
    Now is right time to send these three heads home .
    M&S; MR and Ranil ..
    For the personal interest of these 3 people entire country has to suffer ?
    Is it good ?
    Is it justice ?
    I think temporarily with permission of all parties ; army must take over government before these idiots fight in the parliament?
    I predict; a big fight in parliament ( God forbids)..
    Then political revenge will start.
    Why High level Buddhist monks and priests do not advise them in this crucial time ?
    They too act now before it becomes ugly ..
    Time is running out

    • 4

      The solution is in plain sight – simple and straight forward. But this fellow Uyangoda feels important prattig about his “trauma” because of a political “crisis”, and his silly platitude solutions!

      Dissolve parliament that is a “Cesspit of corruption and horse-trading:.
      hold General Elections after amending the law to ensure No crossing the floor and switching parties next time i.e. NO horsetrading.
      An age limit of 65 for anyone to contest.
      Time for Younger Generation which is less corrupt to take over.

      • 1

        “Dissolve parliament that is a “Cesspit of corruption and horse-trading”

        This is a good idea, but:

        You need two thirds to dissolve Parliament.

        Professor Uyangoda, I have my own view as follows:

        If either party gains a majority, the other side will become the opposition and will have enough time to criticize the government and gain popular support for the 2020 elections. This should be the way, either side should, and will, I think peacefully give up power – pending, of course, the opinion of the Supreme Court.

        What must be done is to give each party the confidence that each will have a good chance of winning the Parliamentary and / or Presidential election 2020.
        Anyone knows which comes first?

        The main problem with the UNP is that, unlike the UNP government of JR and Mr. Premadasa, who were at war with terrorism ( and the JVP) this government has a different way of looking at things, to some it seems very unpatriotic.

        • 2

          In a nutshell, Karu who is also a party jumper is creating a big mess.
          Sri Lanka is like Malaysia now, where Mahathir Mohamed who had sacked Anwar Ibrahim and put him in prison on sodomy charges, joined forces with Ibrahim to stop the corruption Najib from looting Malaysia further.. This is what the Sirisena-MR alliance is all about.
          It is time for Bondscam Ranil and his Royal mafia who looted the people and destroyed the highest financial institution, and crashing the rupee, on instructions of his foreign handlers –MCC, IMF etc. so they can buy Lankan assets cheap with strong $$ and planning to asset strip and sell Lanka’s lands, marine resources, energy security and transport infrastructure to India, US, Japan, China, to get out.
          India was to get Colombo east terminal, Trinco oil tanks, Mattala aiport. If these are for sale they should be advertized in a global tender process given Lanka’s strategic location in Indian Ocean trade and undersea cable routes..

    • 8

      “calls for politico-moral intervention by religious”

      Like the rotten politicians ……….. the rotten “religious leaders” are knee-deep in their own power struggles within their own respective religious hierarchical setups ……… for their own power/survival ……… which has nothing to do with the “originators” of the respective religions ……… but just naked greed. Leave them alone.

      Economic sanctions ……….. and a total travel-ban on the coup-plotters ………. will stop this nonsense pronto

      If Sirisena/Mahinda wins …….. they are not going to be able to guide the country through the looming economic headwinds ………… let alone the sanctions if they are imposed

      Then the people themselves will chase away Sirisena/Mahinda ………. It’s hard to stomach Mahinda’s “charisma” ………or sustain the love for your favourite pol ………. on an empty stomach

      Then …..like the trends-forecaster Gerald Celente always says …… as a last resort our leaders will take us to war for us to forget our economic woes/hardships ……… my guess is (I hope it does not come to pass and saner minds prevail …….. but Lankan history has a habit of repeating) ……… they will get the BBS to attack the Tamils instead of the Muslim (to flame “patriotic” fires they need a bigger bang than the Muslims) à la 1983

      That’s when India will step-in to partition the country. ……..It’ll take only a few days; if not one

      I am putting this all out here …….. in the hope that the idiots who are engaged in this nonsense out of stupid greed for power ……. will see the perils/danger well in advance

      I hope!

    • 5

      If the military take over now, they will taste power. They will take over again…… and again in the future….may be permanently. The military and the monks should be kept out of this mess.

      • 3

        If the military takes over…
        We should remember what happened in Pakistan.

    • 1

      Elect me your next President and I will use draconian measures to put the country right. Doubt with our failing culture of every one over there that it would easy or even possible. One could observe the indiscipline on our roads where it clearly demonstrate our people are undisciplined and expect low standards. This would never happen in UK.
      Bring the colonials back I say.We messed up the good country that was left by them in 1948.

  • 15

    Prof. Uyangoda, with all due respect to you, sir, let’s leave the ‘religious leaders’ out of it. That’s a recipe for disaster.

    This is a situation that calls for moral intervention en masse by patriotic Sri Lankans who have remained silent so far.

    • 8

      Yes, please let us leave religious leaders out of this. It will only make an already bad situation even worse.

    • 4


      As an educated man, why do you think religious leaders are in a position to advise politicians on running the country? Are they qualified in some divine way?

      It is my understanding that religious leaders are expected to provide spiritual guidance with the expectation of making us better people in society, irrespective of our faith, which, incidentally, is a personal choice. If I am right, I believe they have failed, particularly, the Buddhist monks, who seem to be totally oblivious to the teachings of Buddha. A country can be governed based on religious teachings but leave monks & priests out of politics. That’s not their job.

    • 2

      Sharmini S

      I totally agree with you about the religions and politics. This should be the ultimate aim for Sri Lanka to eschew religious influences in politics. However, as it stands now, we need to face the reality! Buddhism is convoluted with politics in SL; the politicians are manipulating the situation. I am sure Prof. Uyangoda would have contemplated on this issue and unfortunately, no remedy to the current predicament will be forthcoming without the Buddhist Leaders! Even the downfall of MR in 2015 would not have come about without the efforts of Sobitha Thero (not sure about the spelling).

    • 1

      Well said Sharmini, it is the religious leaders mainly the Buddhist Monks(Elle Gunawansa, Muruththettuwe Ananda, Galabota Gnanissara and members of Asgiri chapter, etc.) who are behind this political coup which has brought the country into this precarious situation.

  • 2

    Dr Uyangoda, This so-called “Sri Lanka’s politico-constitutional crisis” crisis does not exist outside your mental construct. It an imaginary fear in your mind.
    [edited out]
    The rest of Sri Lanka does not feel the we are in a crisis. THe crowd at Battaramulla proved it. Didn’t they?

  • 5

    This is a man made calamity. when we do not elect some sound people in politics this could happen. MS came to power with promises that we abolish this executive power. Now he is using same power to undermine democracy. He promised that we would not stand for second term. Now, he is greedy for power. He is not an angel. once he tasted power his ego does not let him leave powers. that is the fact, No point in hiding it. It is a human nature. It will come to any one. Sorry to say, basic teaching of Buddhism is to free man’s desire from ego, greed, power, money. and all worldly attraction. If he is sincere Buddhist he would keep his word..
    Same to All MR and Ranil .. These are power greedy people. They do not care about future of Sri Lanka but they care about their interest…
    It is good to see this chaos so that people will know who are real Sri Lankan politicians.
    I think sincere People are JVP alone today.
    Vote JVP if you want to see A CLEAN SRI LANKA.

  • 6

    This is nothing but a power struggle between two sets of opportunistic politicians to gain power and fill their pockets with money. The money, of course, comes from the public coffer.

    Neither faction has the interests of the country, or the people in their minds.

    “This increasingly dangerous political situation calls for politico-moral intervention by religious and community leaders, …” Do we have any? The religious ones are equally opportunistic and racist. For 71 years the same old thing is going on.

  • 1

    We must be grateful that the President has decided to call Parliament on the 14th. This has been reduced to a parliamentary majority issue, it all depends on the parties of the UNP Coalition to cross over to the other side. It is all in their hands now.

    The Parliament is the best place for this to be settled, and as an added bonus, the President has said he will not stay one hour more in RW becomes PM again.

    So what more do you want?

    • 3

      FYI., there will be no vote count on 14th and it was mentioned very clearly.

      Ma-Ra is trying to take time to buy few other MPs.

      anyway., This country can go in one direction from now on and its Down to the gutters !

  • 0

    Uyan — re your citing the need now for politici/moral intervention, let me tell you something that has happened to a Daily Mirror news item I sent out by email at 3 mins to midnight last night & WhatsApp just before & after midnight.

    A report appeared in the Mirror at 9. 51 last night with lots of photos about hundreds of Buddhist monks going in procession to or from the New Town Hall yesterday & calling upon the President to observe the Constitution & reconvene Parliament.

    I sent the news item to a number of friends by email just before midnight. That message has been received by at least one person by now (to my knowledge) with the attached report appearing just as it was in the Mirror late last night.

    However, the copy of the same report which was attached to the WhatsApp messages (which went out just before & just after midnight) has changed to an Island article in today’s paper about the possible crossing over of 5 TNA MPs to the “new govt”. The website address I attached is unchanged but it brings up a different item.

    On checking today’s Mirror online I find that the item about the monks is no longer there.
    Cont. /….

  • 0

    Continuing my previous post.

    I also googled “sanga samaluwa” this morning. The first Daily Mirror site it brought up had today’s paper. No sign of yesterday’s report of the sanga samaluwa.

    How is it possible that clicking on the Mirror web reference in the attachments sent last night on WhatsApp open today on an Island report?

    Have the monk said the report was incorrect & asked for its withdrawal, or has the editor been “prevailed upon”, or has the site been interfered with externally?

    I am still waiting to find out if the news about the alleged “moral intervention” by the monks is in today’s hard copy of the Daily Mirror.

  • 0

    Further to my earlier comment re the substitution of an Island web address & news item (of 7/11) for a Daily Mirror one (of 6/11), on messages sent out on WhatsApp late last night, I have been informed that the original article about the Buddhist monks, accompanied by several photos & pasted near the top of last night’s Daily Mirror (so that it stood out just below the first item), has appeared in today’s printed paper. Apparently there is a small photo on the front page & an article on page 4. I wonder if the photo shows the monks in procession or the one of them tying a pirit nool on Sajith.

  • 1

    Yes, A Mass Movement.

    A mass movement to take the leadership and to mobilize the masses for a peaceful revolution
    Let us be careful not to allow the corrupt politicians, religious leaders and NGOs to hijack

  • 2

    Crisis ??? What crisis???? I hear Lankans are going about their business as if nothing has happened.Country on a stand still.One trying to get rid of a elected government by force. Two groups of parliamentarians running the country. Gas and $ hitting the roof. Political uncertainty threatening the stability , economics and future. US has put all aide at hold, Japan has suspended the mega project, EU threatening to cancel benefits. Western countries issuing travel warning to their citizens. Private Corporate have postponed all financial plans for next year. And still our retarded Lankans remain ignorant questioning What Crisis??????

  • 0

    Recently I caught up with an acquaintance who is a government employee. He had taken his family to down south for a brief stay (unauthorized payed leave???). According to him, the office is at present
    is empty and so he decided to take a quick break with pay. On his return one of his superior asked about his absence and he promptly told (lied) him that he got a call from MR, s SLPP local party office and had to attend urgent party work. That was the last he heard from that superior. He further justified to me stating most of his colleagues are doing the same and anyway there is not much to do now a days because of the stand still. My reply to him JEYAWEWA.

  • 1

    prof, well said. pl. note in their vigorous persuit of power, our leaders are inviting the intervention of foreign powers, this was the way it happened earlier that IPKF came. we are heading towards international intervention which is despicable. fate should be transformed by rational thinking.

  • 0

    The following is the text of an open letter sent in by Dr. Devanesan Nesiah, a retired civil servant who has who has served the country since 1959. In 2017, he was awarded with the National Honours by President Sirisena.
    His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena,
    Sri Lanka.Your Excellency,I write as a loyal citizen of Sri Lanka and a proud recipient of the great titular honour of ‘Deshamanya’ that Your Excellency saw fit to confer on me in March of 2017. My children, grandchildren, other relatives and close friends gathered from three continents in celebrating the award and the Presidential recognition of my services to our great nation.
    I barely knew you earlier but my family, friends and I were greatly elated when you were elected President. That elation and hope, Your Excellency, has given way to disappointment over your very blatant flouting of our seventy-year-old democracy, in recent weeks.
    As a loyal and patriotic Sri Lankan but I see no alternative to regretfully return the ‘Deshamanya’ medal and certificate that you awarded me. I am currently overseas and will make arrangements to return the medal and certificate to your office, when I come back to Sri Lanka.
    Your Excellency, my decision isn’t one that I’ve taken lightly, or in haste. To always act in accordance with my principles is a burden that I’ve embraced with pride for nearly 60 years, since I first enrolled as a cadet in the Ceylon Civil Service. My long career in the civil service, was often stymied under both UNP and SLFP regimes for my refusal to compromise my values.
    Since I can no longer take pride in the title of ‘Deshamanya’ that you’ve conferred on me, I have no option but to return my treasured medal and certificate.

  • 1

    ” This increasingly dangerous political situation calls for politico-moral intervention by religious and community leaders, respected elders, civil society movements, and concerned citizens. “
    Professor Uyangoda,
    You did not limit which religion or what should be their morality. You probably leaving it to the reader to guess it as “Appropriate” for this circumstance.

    You are professional. So even if you feels helpless on this circumstances, that is not the path to go.

    This could have come from many(opportunistic politicians) but should not have come you. Targeting Sinhala Buddhist Supremacy and pushing towards it only had allured country into this dictatorship.

    Yesterday, the Buddhist monks paraded said that they were not in support of Ranil. They want to see the democracy restored. As citizens of the country and their voice on that was reasonable, there is nothing to comment.
    But Church and goverment cannot share the bed. They have to stay divorced.

  • 0

    UYANGODA: You know how respectully Ranil behaved when the Bond Scam for investigation into the CIABOC. Instead of answering the questions, he opted to reply to a qiestionnaire prepared by his employee. Once the CIABOC report accused him of wrong doing, he di dnot quit. HE silent sent Arjun Mahendran home, allowed RAVI the liar to change. You would have heard from different sides how Stubborn and autocratic Ranil is. DOES THE PRESIDENT HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO REMOVE RANIL AS HE WAS NOT DYSFUNCTIONAL. I say, your analysis is very wrong. President shoul dnot budge into Ranil. there should not be elections because the parliament is a crazy place. WHAT YOU SAY DOE SNOT BELONG TO A PROF.

  • 0

    In my opinion. ALL the Political Parties who are organizing these “RALLIES” inconveniencing the public to settle a Political Issue have very “Profitably” and “Surreptitiously” adopted the “Technique” that was introduced by Velupillai Piribahakaran – the LTTE Supremeo, viz – “THE HUMAN SHIELD”. The President of the country brought about this situation acting in a very high handed manner. He should, properly speaking must put his decision for approval before the Legislature, which is the Supreme Authority of the country. Before that WHY all these “Road Shows” ? If “HE” and all other Political Leaders think that these types of decisions have to be settled by “Road Shows”, let all the PEOPLE be brought to the streets and go for a “FREE FOR ALL” business. Is that what these Politicians want? KALING: You mentioned : “Those (MPs) who JUMP from one side to other must be made to lose their seats”. This was in the “Original” of the 19th Amedment and who dropped it? Do you know, it was done by the PM, Ranil W. He must now be cursing himself for the damage he did. Good for him.

  • 0

    With no malice towards you: Calling upon our Religious Leaders to resolve this issue would end up as an exercise in falling from the frying pan into the fire!

  • 1

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  • 0

    I was watching test cricket in Galle. Didn’t see or feel any crisis…………….

    Uyangoda and their ilk are facing the threat of loosing power. They need a crisis. If Uyangoda and the like minded value people’s sovereignty, then they can canvas with their buddies, Ranil, Mangala, Chandrika to agree for a general election and allow the voter (who is more wiser than these so called intellectuals) to decide for them and the country. Problem solved…………Are they afraid of people and their choice?

  • 0

    If he advocating religious leaders to advise and help us to develop the country, then his advise could be useless.
    We must have likes of honest business leaders to be in a makeshift cabinet whose experience is vital. But one must involve the correct type of business people not roughs who are running their business using illegal stolen money they are not through the mill hardworking lot but money launderers.
    I admire our private companies working extra hard to survive in the corrupt setup set by the none caring politicians with so may obstacles put against us, the hard working tax payers.
    Run a business in the island and find out the absurd obstacles one meet and one politician boasted that being a politician have no such obstacles They seem to thrive on our misery. It is so horrible a bank like Commercial; bank have given a loan to a political scoundrel on a house own by my friend in Colombo on a bogus deed and the bank want to recover their money by actioning their house and my friend sought an injunction in courts to stop the auction.MR knows about this from 2008 and never stopped these cruel people invading innocent peoples’ properties. .

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