Sri Lanka stunned as Rajapaksa election gamble fails to pay off

By Oliver Walton

(This blog was oringially posted at – The Conversation)

Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has been defeated in the country’s historic presidential elections. Sri Lankans are shocked at the scale and manner of Rajapaksa’s defeat, which has brought his tenure to an abrupt halt after nine highly controversial years. Continue reading

Contested reconciliation in Sri Lanka

By Oliver Walton

(This is an updated version of a blog that originally appeared on the Insight on Conflict website)

Last month, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution calling on the Sri Lankan government to fulfil its international obligations towards justice and accountability and to address issues of reconciliation. The resolution sent political shockwaves across South Asia, with the DMK (Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam), a political party from Tamil Nadu, pulling out of India’s ruling coalition in protest at India’s failure to push for stronger language. The Sri Lankan government has robustly rejected international pressure for reconciliation and accountability, arguing that intervention of this kind threatens to undermine a nationally-led process. In the aftermath of the resolution, President Mahinda Rajapaksa reasserted his government’s resolute stance against international interference: ‘[t]hese attacks would not subdue us…, nor would they defeat or intimidate us in any way’. Continue reading