The Sri Lankan Crisis and the Raja Pakse Family: Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Raja Pakse and his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa are part of a strong political family. It is the largest family in South Asia and perhaps the most arrogant family. It is as a result of this attitude of his family that today Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya has to hide from his own people. On Saturday, there were rumors that he had left the country by navy ship or ship. Or hid in a military camp to escape public outrage?
He has not been seen in public since being ousted from parliament on Tuesday (July 5th). In Colombo, when protesters seized the Dutch-made Rashtrapati Bhavan, once used by colonial governors, they were already on the run. Here, protesters bathed in the swimming pool, ate in the kitchen and took selfies on the old expensive four-poster bed. Gotabaya’s brother, Mahinda Raja Pakse, was also not heard when the former president was removed as prime minister on May 9, exactly two months ago, a day after the violence.
Gotabaya could not gauge the public outrage from Raja Pak.
Since March, when anti-government protesters began to challenge Gotabaya with slogans such as “Go Gota Ghar”. Even after that, Gotabaya remained determined to step down. His reasoning behind this was that he was elected by 69.2 lakh (6.92 million) people, which clearly proves a majority of 52.25%. Importantly, Sri Lanka has an executive presidential system and elections are held through direct elections. Because of this, Gotabaya has repeatedly called for a five-year term.
He became president in 2019. But in the meantime, he has clearly failed to understand the public’s anger at the government’s mismanagement of the economy. In this case, he was only seen in the role of K. Deviang. Gotabaya thought he would be able to take advantage of his image as the country’s “savior” from terrorism, but his fortunes turned upside down. It is noteworthy that during the military defeat of the LTTE in 2009, he was the Defense Minister in the government of his brother Mahinda Raja Pakse.
Is this the political end of the president?
Gotabhaya Raja Pakse may have relied too heavily on his military strategic plans against the LTTE, feeling that the Sri Lankan people would sideline him and support him, or he thought his Praise will give him the opportunity to help the country with the beauty of the capital. We can help him escape, but he may not have thought that a common man needs more bread, clothes and a house than this. Here he was eaten rotten and democracy went out of control.
Tax cuts and the sudden and wrong way of ordering farmers to do organic farming turned out to be a disaster for them. The coronavirus did the right thing. The country’s tourism industry was badly damaged after the Easter bombings. Due to which the economic crisis increased here.
Public outrage against the president’s decree was seen written on the wall when people began to take to the streets on March 31 and hundreds of protesters stormed his private residence in Marihana Pangiriota, a Colombo suburb. Demands for his resignation intensified on the streets of Sri Lanka. So Gotabaya could have chosen to resign at any time during the last four months, but instead he asked his brothers Mahinda, Basil and Chamal to resign.
However, the popular demand for Gotabaya’s resignation was not met. Intending to appease the protesters, he brought Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister, but his condition was reversed and his decision angered the people. As a result, Gotabaya had to flee as a dictator pushed by the people instead of a democratic “majority elected” leader. It is noteworthy that he declared himself a leader elected by a majority.
The story of Raja Pakse’s rise to power
The history of Sri Lanka has largely been the history of the rise of Raja Pakse in the first two decades of the new century. His stunning comeback in 2018-19 after a humiliating electoral defeat four years ago (in 2015) speaks volumes about the undefeated attitude of a political family. Which is probably the largest and most shameless kinship family in South Asia.
Mahinda Raja Pakse’s rise to power began in 2004, when he was made Prime Minister under the presidency of Chandrika Kumaratanga Bandaranaike, although Bandaranaike later called the decision his biggest mistake. Mahinda remained invincible after coming to power. He won the 2005 presidential election, and then decided to launch a full-scale war against the LTTE in the north and east.
Meanwhile, his brother Gotabhaya, who has previously served in the Sri Lankan Army, played a key role as defense minister. Victory over the LTTE strengthened Raja Pakse’s grip on power. In Sinhalese South, both Mahinda and Gotabaya brothers were taken as Messiahs in the eyes of the majority Sinhalese-Buddhist community to save them from the terror of the LTTE.
That is why Mahinda won a second term as president and amended the constitution to lift the two-term ban. He was convinced that he would be president for life.
As Mahinda’s defense secretary, Gotabaya became a parallel powerhouse, creating an effect by spreading fear. He gave his office a royal look. His throne-like throne was set up like a king and was set aside. Dozens of people critical of the government were abducted under its auspices, and some were later unaccounted for.
During his tenure, Lasantha Wickramatonj, editor of the Sunday Leader, was assassinated in 2009. Cartoonist Pragath Ekneligoda, who went missing in 2010, has not been seen since. This was the time when Raja Pakse gave freedom to the Buddhist extremist group Budu Bala Sena to rule and this group carried out many incidents of violence against Muslims.
His youngest brother, Basel, was the Minister in charge of economic development, controlling all investment in Sri Lanka. The eldest brother Chamal was the speaker. At that time, an estimated 40 kings were in each other’s offices. He controlled most of the government’s finances. It was difficult for him to capture every place like this.
At the international level, Mahinda’s proximity to China was beginning to bother New Delhi. When this regional giant began interfering with India’s South Asian neighbors. The United States was also concerned about China’s growing claims in the Indian Ocean region.
There were also concerns that Raja Pakse’s government was not moving forward with reconciliation with the Tamil community after the war and resolving complaints of rights violations during the war. He demanded that India listen to the political demands of the Tamils. Which was also rejected.
The situation in Sri Lanka after 2015
Mahinda had begun to take voters lightly and his political arrogance was growing. As a result, he lost the 2015 presidential election. Mahinda’s defeat in the presidential and parliamentary elections was humiliating, but the two brothers sided with each other. In Sri Lanka, Paramona Podojana was the source of Raja Pakse’s return to power.
When the Sri Sena Vikram Singh government was overwhelmed by its own contradictions. Its biggest failure was to prevent IS terrorist attacks on Easter 2019. Raja Pakse took advantage of this. Later this year, Gotabaya Raja Pakse was considered as the presidential candidate, however, Gotabaya had to relinquish his US citizenship in order to qualify for the presidency. The people there feared that terrorism would return to Sri Lanka.
Gotabaya was offered the post because the previous government had reinstated a two-term ban on the presidency and prevented Mahinda from contesting the 2019 presidential election. However, he defeated the SLPP by a landslide in the parliamentary elections and became the Prime Minister.
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