By Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka
The Cabinet appointments and those of the State Ministers and Secretaries, ranging in the main from the unexceptionable to the positive, nonetheless leave me analytically pessimistic about the prospects of this regime and the experiment upon which it has embarked. Despite the fact that several of the appointments are good and the rest aren’t too bad—with a few exceptions—the reasons for my pessimism are not those of personality, but of structure and strategic direction.
It has been noticed that the strikingly successful election results of 2019-2020 are very close to the twin results of 2010 under the leadership of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Those results were reversed but not due to the reasons that either the Rajapaksas or their opponents think. The Rajapaksas think they left too many loopholes which they are determined to block by means of constitutional amendments followed by a new Constitution. Their opponents think that it was they, together with civil society and some foreign friends, who “flipped” the 2010 victories. Neither perspective is accurate.
I say this because the failure was predicted to me in 2010 itself, by one of the most intelligent people I have had the privilege of a discussion with, Singapore’s Foreign Minister at that time, Dr. George Yeo, a former Brigadier-General and former Chief-of-Staff of the elite Singapore Air Force, and a diamantine intellect. What he said held true then, and holds truer still of the Gotabaya administration.
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