In what could be termed as a suspense thriller that prevailed in the Sri Lankan politics for the past few days, the conclusion has come with the parliament voting against the Mahinda Rajapaksa government. A total of 225 members supported the no-confidence motion against the former president, who was unconstitutionally made the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka by president Sirisena on October 26.
Though Rajapaksa lost the confidence motion, it does not mean that the sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has won the battle. The ball is still in the court of President Maithripala Sirisena as he has the discretionary powers of selecting the next Prime Minister.
Initially, both Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe have formed a coalition government in 2015 with the aspiration of reversing the damage caused by Rajapaksa to the Sri Lankan society. However, with time the two leaders have sided apart with deep mistrust. This lead to Rajapaksa making inroads to the seat of Prime Minister, making use of the loops holes in the law. But, the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka called the decree of President Sirisena as unconstitutional while fixing the date for Mahinda Rajapaksa to prove confidence in the parliament.
Well before Rajapaksa’s appointment as the Prime Minister, the Buddhist leader did not have the majority in the parliament. However, the duo of Sirisena and Rajapaksa gave themselves enough time to woo other legislators by adjourning the parliament, which the Supreme Court has called unconstitutional. Something similar has happened in the Karnataka state legislative assembly in the recent time, when the Karnataka Governor called BJP to form the government despite the opposition coalition came forward with a majority.
What could have happened if Rajapaksa formed the government?
Mahinda Rajapaksa always favoured his Chinese neighbour more than India, which meant that the ties between India and Sri Lankan could have deteriorated if he became the Prime Minister.
Also, during his reign as the President of Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa lead one of the worst wars against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam which saw numerous human rights violations with cases of widespread torture and sexual violence. Even until today, thousands of disappeared Tamils were yet to be found with the UN Human Rights Council still investigating into the issues with little support from the Island nation. If Rajapaksa rose back to power, it blatantly puts an end to all the restoration process.
Not to mention, under his regime between 2004 to 2014 there were several cases of abuse against Tamils and Muslim minorities by Buddhist militants. Such cases may further increase under Rajapaksa’s rule. In the end, ‘it is the power of democracy’ that won the game with the help of the Supreme Court in Sri Lanka.
Immediately after Speaker Karu Jayasuriya officially announced the failure of the Rajapaksa government to garner support of the parliament, several thousands of activists marched on the streets with support for sacked former Prime Minister Wickremesinghe.