A new start for Sri Lanka

President Sirisena offers hope. Now he must deliver

The World Today
2 minute READ

Charu Lata Hogg

Associate Fellow, Asia-Pacific Programme

In a nail-biting election on January 8 2015, the Sri Lankan public voted out of power its president of two decades who was credited with smashing the Tamil Tigers.

There were many firsts for Sri Lanka in this election: it was the first time an incumbent president had sought a third term; it was the first time a rainbow coalition of political forces ranging from the far-Right to the extreme-Left ran against him; and it was the first time Sri Lankans voted against corruption and for better governance. At the heart of this change was the desire for democracy and a change from the dynastic authoritarianism of Mahinda Rajapakse.

The new president, Maithripala Sirisena, must now deliver the democracy that was pledged in his election campaign. He promised to transfer most of the executive powers to parliament and allow independent commissions to run public services, the police, the judiciary and the elections department.

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