Sri Lanka's long constitutional moment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Constitutional change in Sri Lanka has been a vexed issue and one mired in party politics for many years now. Particularly intractable difficulties have surfaced over whether the country should jettison the semi-presidential form of government, introduced in 1978, in favour of a Westminster model under which the prime minister would enjoy greater powers. The recent presidential and parliamentary elections, which saw a decisive shift in the popular mood, have brought the debate over constitutional reform into sharp focus and have already led to a number of important initiatives by the new government headed by President Maithripala Sirisena. This article assesses the implications of those initiatives and examines the key challenges that remain to be addressed. It argues that the ‘constitutional moment’ created by the combined outcome of the two recent elections has the potential for further, far-reaching reform.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-562
JournalThe Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs
Volume104
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2015

Keywords

  • Sri Lanka
  • Maithripala Sirisena
  • Ranil Wickremesinghe
  • Mahinda Rajapaksa
  • Sri Lanka Freedom Party
  • United National Party
  • Nineteenth Amendment
  • clientelism
  • Jathika Hela Urumaya
  • United People’s Freedom Alliance
  • Tamil National Alliance, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
  • presidential/parliamentary form of government
  • devolution

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