Updated: Jul 29
Sri Lanka Part 2: Will the New Gov't and Galle Face Agree or Not? Vultures Circling.
(Part 1 Here). (This post was updated w/ results of July 20th Parliamentary-Presidential election results).
May 9, 2022, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had not been the only one blamed by the public for Sri Lanka's many troubles, was forced to resign as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, which is the second leadership position with President 1st and Speak of Parliament 3rd. May 9th was a violent day in Sri Lanka, that had been undergoing protests since March. Black Monday, May 9, was also when some say the West enacted a Coup d'etat pointing to violent agitators stirring some of the protesters to violence, including deaths and destruction, climaxing with Mahinda's resignation. After the resignation of PM Mahinda's on May 9th, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (note: the two are brothers) on May 12th appointed Ranil Wickremesinghe of the United National Party (UNP).
(Galle Face; tent on fire during May 9th, Black Monday protests)
A little background on Ranil's positioning into Parliament. Nobody of Ranil's political party was voted into the parliament in the last elections held in 2020. The UNP and Ranil Wickremesinghe had become so unpopular in the country prior to the 2020 elections 54 UNP members renounced Wickremesinghe and left the UNP to secure their election in 2020. Through a mechanism called National List, the UNP managed to win an argument the UNP should hold one parliamentary seat. The UNP without public elections on June 23, 2021 observed one of their members, Ranil Wickremesinghe, sworn into parliament. Ranil, an unelected parliament member sworn in on June 23, '21, was appointed to the second highest leadership position - Prime Minister - by President Gotabaya on May 12, '22 to replace resigned Prime Minister Mahinda. On July 13 (two days ago), Ranil was appointed by then fleeing President Gotabaya to Acting-President to then unelectedly hold the highest leadership office in Sri Lanka. Ranil was unelected 3 times to reach the highest political position, and some in Sri Lanka are unhappy of his current elevation. As of this morning, July 15th, Ranil was appointed Interim President.
Ranil, aside from being Prime Minister and Acting-President now Interium President, also continues to be Sri Lanka's Minister of Finance sworn in on May 25. While Acting-President, two major actions have so far been prioritized by him, which as Interim President no signs, thus far, indicate he will waver from these actions. First, on July 13th, when he was appointed Acting-President, he declared a state of emergency and ordered the military and police to do whatever is necessary to restore order, which includes the public desist on destruction of gov't property and other violent acts. He said there is a fascist threat to democracy in Sri Lanka and warned against any politicians supporting the extremists. Earlier in the week on July 11th, he used similar language to describe protesters who had set his house on fire:
"...after his private house was set on fire by anti-government protesters on Saturday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday said only people with a "Hitler-like mindset" torch buildings."
Initially, there was some controversy about Ranil's emergency declaration, but the military and police formally declared their support of the Constitution and Acting-President Ranil. The military and police also stated all violence, including destruction of property must desist or "face the consequences". At the appointment of Ranil as Acting-President, some protestors (maybe all?) called for him to step down. A July 13th interview of Ram Manikkalingam, who currently lives in the Netherlands, is former advisor to former Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga (1994-2005), and has a relationship with the Tamil Tigers, sheds some light on the situation:
Note Ram called for Acting-President Ranil to step down. Here is another, earlier interview on July 9th with Ram highlighting what some are discussing in Ram's political circle:
Ram did not consider Ranil in anything long term. What Ram did mention in the interview were two ideal candidates for President are in circulation, at least in his circles, for the new government: (a) leader of the Opposition Party Sajith Premadasa, and
(b) Tamil National Alliance party leader M.A. Sumanthiran, which clearly Ram favors the latter. I wrote about M.A. in Part 1 and how the Tamil Tigers were used as a proxy by the U.S. to manipulate Sri Lanka's gov't; M.A. is Pro-Western. M.A.'s position is the whole parliament must be dissolved (known by the slogan "225" for the number of seats) and calls for an election now. Tamil today is exploited by the West's use of identity politics (Part 1 defined) to pressure Lanka under the guise of human rights, which can be a manipulative instrument.
Here is an example: note the Tamil Guardian calls Presidential candidate a "racist"; the only arguments I found in the article were political, except the claim the candidate is Sinha Le, which does provide contextual meaning to the fuller article. A Sri Lankan newspaper printed how Sinha Le propaganda shows up on the streets and the paper calls for a law against hate speech. The article answered the meaning of what some believe is Sinha Le. Another article also written by a Sri Lankan differs and stated: to claim a person who is Sinha Le is a racist person is "unkind" and "ignorant". Maybe there is racism in Sri Lanka, but as I wrote in Part 1 the danger of identity politics is it's exploitation and fomentation of real racial, ethnic, and gender tensions, even to violence, only for political gains not out of any heartfelt intention to actually rid racism.
In the interview in the second video above, Ram spoke about these two ideal candidates, but also about how the fleeing and resigned President Gotabaya should have worked with the IMF 2-3 years ago, which leads into Ranil's second prioritized action while Acting-President now Interim President thus far, the first was his declared state of emergency.
The second concerns how Ranil is also Minister of Finance; as I mentioned, he was sworn into that office on May 25. The IMF had a routine annual meeting in March with Sri Lanka, that the IMF holds with every partner country. Yet, in April, the IMF started holding meetings at Sri Lanka's request for help. At Ranil's appointment the meetings with IMF delegations continued in May, June, and talks resumed in July but now have been "interrupted" by the unrest the IMF stated on the 14th of July. Head of Sri Lanka's Central Bank is Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe. He warned on July 14th Sri Lanka will shut down if talks with the IMF are unable to continue due to the nation's unrest and the talks are "depended on having a stable administration". Both the IMF and Governor Nandalal on the same day warned there must be a stable government, not simply a desisting of street unrest, but the government itself must transition to a new government without any hiccups. Acting- President Ranil, who held several meetings and talks with the IMF and is favorable to IMF intervention, took action on the 13th, as I said above, by ordering the military and police to restore stability. Yet, there are some who perceive, as Ram's interview noted, Ranil as an administrative instability toward a new gov't while Acting-President, and the same sentiment may continue while he is Interim President. British Siobhain McDonagh MP in British Parliament spoke on July 13 concerning Sri Lana, which was also covered by media outlet Tamil Guardian in Lanka. In her oratory, she remarked on Ranil's Declaration of Emergency, "an IMF bailout is essential", and called for the human rights "particularly for the Tamil community" to be observed (here are 5 key demands by the Tamils):
There is both foreign and domestic pressure for Ranil to step-down, and I see some currents making the paddle downstream a little easier for Pro-West M.A. Sumanthiran to be a leading figure in Lanka.
Parliament will convene Saturday, July 16th, to begin the process of choosing a new leader. July 19th is when nominations are to be given, and July 20th is when the new President is planned to be elected by Parliament. These first steps are toward a new government, which Constitutional changes are on the table. The protesters of Galle Face have been dissatisfied with Ranil remaining in power, but the protesters have removed themselves from government buildings as an act of peace in light of the July 13th emergency declaration.
A very significant question though is: What is Galle Face?
(Galle Face is an open space park in Colombo comprised mainly of green grass)
Galle Face is a geographic location. It is a park in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo where protesters have been gathering. It is adjacent to the Presidential Secretariat building, which is the building protesters stormed on July 9th. Since April 9th some protesters had started camping and living at Galle Face. The recent wave of protests started in March, though precursors, for example March 2021 government sugar scam, then teacher strikes, the fertilizer debacle, etc. had earlier already fomented public distrust and then add the fiery amber of the inflationary economic downward-spiral and much was ripe for the recent protests in March. The recent protests have been country-wide, but Galle Face has occasionally provided a name for the nation-wide protests with another popular name being Aragalaya ("struggle" or "uprising"). The green of Galle Face swelled off & on with people, especially in the evenings and nights from what I found, and had been described as a carnival atmosphere. Many interests were put in place to keep - well - interest so the protesters would continue to hang-around to support the Aragalaya. Here is a video tour (I do not know who the man is that gave it; I just found it on Youtube), note: library, cinema, face painting, camps, one man had a little garden, etc:
Here is a short summary of an article's conclusion dated July 14th written by a Sri Lankan: In the coming weeks & months, two contradictions with fatal consequences are what Lankan's may have to face: (1) succession to new gov't will involve a clash between the radical sect. of protests and the opposition party alongside infighting, backroom deals, and corrupt coalitions; (2) possibility of open confrontation between a new gov't which may keep old interests alive and Galle Face. The second contradiction, if it happens, according to the writer, typically leads to violence.
One last consideration. Sri Lanka is strategically important for the Pivot to Asia. Ranil worked with the Obama administration on the Pivot and now Biden has reconstituted the Pivot to Asia as the West pits itself against Russia and China. Here is a read if you want to know more about the Western military outpost on Diego Garcia island in the Indian Ocean and it's relationship with Sri Lanka along with some other Western activates in Sri Lanka.
Western vultures are circling Sri Lanka after Western leopards have wounded their Sri Lanka axis deer. The Sri Lankan domestic corruption and Western predatory actions have decimated a people possibly into a submission that welcomes further WEF gnawings such as it's July 5th circular economy suggestions for Sri Lanka. Will the New Gov't and Galle Face Agree or Not? Vultures Circling. (Update below)
Update: Only July 20th Parliament elected Ranil Wickremesinghe President of Sri Lanka. Ranil has been given the highest political office without being elected by the people into various political positions to get to this office a total of 4 different times as follows (3 of these times was already covered above): (1) On June 23, 2021, Ranil, without a vote by the people, was given a seat in Parliament. (2) On May 9th, the day some say the Coup took place, PM Mahinda was forced to resign. On May 12th, Ranil was installed, without a people's vote, as PM by then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. (3) On July 13th, then President Gotabaya, who fled the country, granted PM Ranil to be Acting-President, and when Gotabaya resigned Ranil was sworn in as Interim President, without a people's vote, on July 15th until July 20th Parliament vote. (4) On July 20th, Ranil Wickremesinghe was voted in by Parliament, again not a people's vote, President of Sri Lanka. Some controversy had already started as Galle Face had viewed Ranil as a continuation of the corrupt leadership.