President Rajapaksa Puts Soldiers in Charge of Everything

Sri Lanka Lurches Further Away From Liberal Democracy as President Rajapaksa Puts Soldiers in Charge of Everything Thereby Creating “Normalisation” of Military Influence in the Civilian Sphere- The Economist

BEFORE THE presidential election he won last November, Gotabaya Rajapaksa laid out for Banyan his vision for Sri Lanka. It was a sunlit upland of peaceful, inclusive “knowledge-based” development. All the political bickering of recent years, “Gota” promised, would be swept aside by his programme of brisk, technocratic proficiency. His years as an army officer would ensure that.

A military timbre to the former lieutenant-colonel’s rule was always on the cards. Mr Rajapaksa’s campaign dwelt on the need for a “disciplined society”. Viyathmaga, a social movement with political ambitions that backed him, counted many former officers among its leaders. The president’s personal network is rooted not just in his family (his elder brother, Mahinda, now prime minister, was himself president from 2005 to 2015). Go

ta commands the loyalty of past and present soldiers, a band of brothers from his time fighting a horrific, long-running civil war against Tamil insurgents, first as an officer and latterly as the powerful secretary of defence under Mahinda.

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