Friday, August 17, 2018 08:39:49 PM

Democratic Decay: Examining Sri Lanka under the Rajapaksa Government

By Dinithi de Alwis - Mon Jul 30, 3:55 am

Featured image from the Sunday Leader

The phenomenon of democratic decay has gained attention around the world by various different academics, especially in light of countries such as Poland, Hungary and the United States. Scholars such as Tom Daly, have understood ‘democratic decay’ as an overarching umbrella term for the general decline in the quality of democracy of younger and long-established democracies, which do not qualify as full democratic breakdowns. I believe that this framework is an important way to analyse how post-war, Rajapaksa executed a hybrid-playbook narrative, consisting of both legal changes and explicit manipulations of practice to deliberately undermine democratic institutions. This particular time frame illuminates how in comparison to any other period in Sri Lanka, the Rajapaksa regime, exacerbated decay.

In terms of the existing literature on democratic decay, very little is written on Sri Lanka. In fact, there is a general lack of research regarding democracy in Sri Lanka. Although Sri Lanka is not explicitly mentioned, its democratic decline can be understood through the rubrics of ‘abusive constitutionalism’ provided by David Landau and ‘autocratic legalism’ proposed by Kim Lane Scheppele.

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