Political stability may elude Sri Lanka in transit from violence to constitutionalism

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After a period of extreme tension and violence, law and order was restored to Sri Lanka on 15 July. Calm reigned as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as interim president and preparations for a presidential election on July 20 began. The masses, who had occupied the official residences and offices of the President and Prime Minister, evacuated them at the behest of civil society leaders. The main irritant, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, had fled the country and emailed his resignation from Singapore.

But the question now is: will the calm last? Will the administration under Ranil Wickremesinghe, whether temporary or long-term, be accepted by politicians and agitators? He has been portrayed by them and the media as a “lackey” of the discredited Rajapaksa clan. Will the grumpy politicians in parliament iron out their petty differences and come together to form a multi-party government as the agitators demand? Above all, will the government be able to get the dollars needed to import essential goods, including fuel? Will the distribution system be freed from the clutches of hoarders and profiteers? Sri Lankans keep their fingers crossed on these issues.


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