Thursday, January 18, 2018 12:44:31 AM

National Unity Government after one year

By Harim Peiris - Sun Aug 21, 5:56 am

Photograph courtesy Ada Derana

August 19th was the first anniversary of the National Unity Government elected after the last general elections and several political issues have dominated the recent news, especially the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) Act and the recent removal by the President as SLFP leader of Joint Opposition SLFP members from their posts as party organizers. Losing their posts were JO stalwarts Kheliya Rambukwella, CB Ratnayake, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Gamini Lokuge, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana and Jagath Balasuriya. Dallas Allaperuma and Bandula Gunawardena have announced their intention to resign, a wise move to do so, before they are also likely removed.

The most underlying feature of the Sirisena / Wickramasinghe Administration is that it is a unique unity experiment between the two major political parties which have alternatively governed this country since independence the United National Party (UNP), led by Prime Minister Wickramasinghe and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) led by President Maithripala Sirisena. What this has done, is pushed the third placed Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to the official opposition position for the first time since 1977 and more importantly created a very broad based government which has over two thirds support in Parliament and consequently able to carry through on a reform agenda, as demonstrated by the unanimous decision of parliament to be a constitutional assembly which will institutionalize and codify all reforms through a constitutional for Sri Lanka.

The German Experience
The practice of the two largest parties in the country and in parliament coming together to form, what might be termed a “grand national coalition” is not an unusual, phenomena in the world and while not common, is also found in other places. The best example would be Germany, where the Christian Democrats of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Social Democratic Party, the two largest parties in that country have been forming grand national coalitions now on several occasions and likely to do so again in federal German elections due next year….

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