Mahinda Rajapaksa (File photo)
Mahinda Rajapaksa (File photo)

Sirisena's support to Rajapaksa family will help China's designs in Sri Lanka, says expert

ANI | Updated: Sep 18, 2019 08:57 IST

Geneva [Switzerland], Sept 18 (ANI): Amid growing tussle for power between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the upcoming presidential elections in Sri Lanka may lead to an alliance between SLPP (Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna) and SLFP (Sri Lanka Freedom Party) wherein experts believe that Sirisena's support to Rajapaksa family will help China's designs in Sri Lanka.
Experts have predicted this new alliance between President Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa's family expecting that Maitripala may not seek a second term in view of the unprecedented constitutional crisis last year, when President Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, with Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Wickremesinghe was reinstated in December after the intervention of the Supreme Court, but the government remains deeply divided and Sirisena kept the Prime Minister Wickremesinghe away from the security briefings.
"I always believed that Mahinda Rajapaksa was very clear that he is going to lose the elections in 2015 because he had lost the support of America as well as India. He was a person who was leaning too much towards China. So, China, in fact, did not in a big way pushed the candidature of Mahinda Rajapaksa back in 2015. That I always feel prompted Rajapaksa to have a proxy candidate in the form of Maitripala Srisena", said Dr. Paul Newman, a researcher on Sri Lanka.
He added, "Believing that a proxy candidate would be a real candidate, people voted for him and in that sense, Maithripala Srisena has always remained loyal to Rajapaksa family as well as acted as the proxy to Mahinda Rajapaksa. So, in that sense now again, as the elections are forthcoming in the month of January next year, the possibility is that Maitripala Srisena will not seek a second term but in turn will support the candidature of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the candidate of the Rajapaksa group".
It is believed that Mahinda and Sirisena hatched a conspiracy the night before Sirisena announced his candidature against President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he had partaken in hoppers at the latter's residence.
Mahinda announced the Presidential Election two years ahead of the completion of his term because his popularity was on the decline. The cost of living was steadily climbing, the economy was tanking under the heavy debt burden, despite a pervasive fear of reprisal, people had started talking about corruption, nepotism and the ill-conceived Chinese projects in Hambantota that were weighing down the economy.
Experts believe that China now wants Mahinda Rajapaksa and their family to come to power in Sri Lanka because they have been the people who have been in the forefront supporting not only China's economic ambitions but also political ambitions to control the entire Indian Ocean region.
"So, if any other person is there, the natural tendency is to lean towards India, who is considered as a natural ally. So, that becomes a problem for the Chinese. So, in that sense their candidate has always been Mahinda Rajapaksa," said Dr Paul.
He added, "Not just Sri Lanka if you look at the whole of South Asia we are all undergoing some kind of problem. But, at the end of the day, the orators win not be the intellectuals. So, in that sense you need to carry on a narrative which projects the Sinhalese as people who have lost under the present regime. So, in order to get back the pride of getting back as Sinhala you need to vote for Mahinda Rajapaksa, who siphoned off the LTTE, who suppressed the rights of the Tamils. So, the majority of Sinhala community is going to react to this narrative in the form of voting to the Mahinda Rajapaksa group unknowing that they are in turn supporting China's aspirations also". (ANI)