The Lanka Academic

JUNE 24, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 79

Headline Summary
F R E E      C L A S S I F I E D S
T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
JVP holds key for Chandrika Govt.
The Hindu (International), Monday, June 25, 2001. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), a radical political group that led two armed insurgencies against the Sri Lankan state but transformed itself into a parliamentary party, now holds the key for the shaky Chandrika Kumaratunga Government. The JVP's 10 MPs could make or break the People's Alliance (PA) Government, which has been reduced to a minority in Parliament after a walkout by seven MPs of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) last week. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 18:51:30 EDT 2001

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JVP looks at long term prospects
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 2.35 PM SLT,Sunday June 24, 2001. By deciding to let its parliamentary group decide on what should be done as regards the no-confidence motion,the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) seems to be looking at its long term prospects in the context of the developing political situation in Sri Lanka.

The move gives it time,because the no-trust motion is expected to come up for debate and voting only in mid-July.By then,hopefully,the political air will clear,the parliamentary alignment patterns may be more distinct,and the JVP will be in a better position to take a rational view.

The JVP's role is critical because of the current parliamentary arithmatic,which enables it to make or un-make a government.The fate of the no-trust vote will depend on whether or not the JVP abstains,whether or not it votes for or against the motion.The Peoples' Alliance (PA) will win if the JVP votes against the motion or abstains from voting.The PA will lose if the JVP votes for the motion.

But no matter which political combination wins,the political situation will continue to be unstable.The winner's majority will continue to be wafer thin.The government will perforce have to put off all major political and economic decisions.There will be confusion."The country will be gridlocked," as anaylst Dayan Jayatilleka put it.

Such a situation will be ideal for the growth of the JVP which thrives on mass alienation from the mainstream political parties and the existing political system.In fact, the JVP is growing.According to a recent survey by the University of Colombo, the JVP's support base had gone up from 12% to 17% between the last parliamentary elections and April this year, while the bases of the PA and UNP had marginally declined.

Allowing the PA to continue to be in power by abstaining from voting,may not be bad for the JVP.The PA government's poor performance,its acquiescence to the IMF's harsh conditionalities and its threat to privatise education are bound to alienate the people from it by the time the next elections come.Allowing the UNP to come to power may have some benefits but there are costs too.The UNP's pro-West,pro-private sector,pro-minorities policies are expected to contribute to its alienation from the masses.But its emphasis on economic revival and job generation might appeal to the youth hungry for jobs.This may weaken the JVP's vote bank of unemployed educated youth, says Jayatilleka.

While journalist-activist Victor Ivan believes that the JVP will vote against the government,Jayatilleka feels that it will play safe by abstaining.Abstaining would enable it to reap the benefits of political confusion without getting identified with any maintream political grouping, Jayatilleka reasoned.

Editor's Note Comments and feed back on the above article may be submitted by using the Letters to the Editor feature on the frontpage.
Published: Sun Jun 24 04:35:31 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka's Leftist Party Makes No Decision on No-confidnece Vote  - Nothern Light

JVP dithering deepens crisis in Sri Lanka
Times of India, june 25. Sri Lanka's Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has put off their decision on whether they would support an opposition sponsored no-confidence motion against the government, dragging the country's political uncertainty further.Both the opposition and the government were eagerly waiting to hear the outcome of the JVP meeting as the future of the no-confidence motion lies with the party. If the JVP votes with the opposition, it will undoubtedly ensure the fall of the government More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 14:52:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Marxists call the shots as Sri Lanka coalition battles for survival
Yahoo Asia, Sunday, June 24 8:51 PM SGT . Sri Lanka's beleaguered government plunged into deeper crisis Sunday as a leftist king-maker party demanded sweeping democratic reforms in exchange for crucial support. The Marxist JVP, or People's Liberation Front, which could play a decisive role in a vote of no-confidence against the government, said it had no doubt that President Chandrika Kumaratunga's regime should be toppled. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 11:48:31 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Sri Lanka's leftist party defers decision on no-faith vote  - India Abroad

Parties back Chandrika on Tamil peace
The Hindustan Times, june 25. SRI LANKAN President Chandrika Kumaratunga got assurances of bipartisan support to revive talks with Tamil separatists on Sunday as she held talks with an opposition trying to topple her government. Ranil Wickremesinghe, leader of the main opposition United National Party (UNP), said his meeting with the president focu-ssed solely on stalled Norwegian efforts to relaunch talks and end three decades of ethnic violence. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 22:07:27 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Sri Lankan parties united on Tamil peace despite political crisis  -

Sri Lanka offers truce to revive Norway peace bid, Jun 24 2001 16:51 IST. Sri Lanka is set to offer a truce and to lift economic sanctions against Tamil rebels in a fresh bid to break an impasse in the Norwegian-sponsored peace process, political sources said Sunday.President Chandrika Kumaratunga sounded out opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at an hour long closed-door meeting Sunday on the possibility of lifting a ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the sources said. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 11:50:42 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Marxists keep Sri Lanka guessing on no-faith vote
MSNBC, Jun 24 2001 09:39 IST. Sri Lanka's Marxist former rebels have still to decide how to cast their decisive votes in an opposition bid to topple President Chandrika Kumaratunga's minority government, party officials said on Sunday. ''The decision on how to vote on the no-confidence motion will be made at the last minute by the parliamentary group, taking into consideration all relevant factors,'' said a senior JVP official who did not want to de identified.Like the JVP, Muslim Congress leader Rauf Hakeem who crossed the floor with six other lawmakers after he was sacked as trade minister by Kumaratunga, has remained coy about his stance. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 02:13:16 EDT 2001 Back to the top

S.Lankan Coalition Government's Destiny Hangs in Balance
Nothern Light, Sunday, June 24, 2001 9:53 AM EST . Destiny of Sri Lanka's ruling People's Alliance (PA) government now hangs in balance as the country's leftist JVP or People's Liberation Front has decided to let the lawmakers in the Parliament to decide on how they will vote for the no-confidence motion against the shaky government. "The central committee empowered our 10 MPs to decide on how they will vote," said Wimal Weerawansa, parliamentary group leader of JVP, after the party held a 10-hour meeting that ended on Sunday morning. The war-torn country experienced a political turmoil last week when Rauf Hakeem, leader of the main Muslim party, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), decided to quit the government on Wednesday hours after he was sacked by President Chandrika Kumaratunga. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 11:53:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Former Tamil rebel backs Chandrika government
Times of India (Breaking News), 24 June 2001 . A former Tamil rebel leader turned politician said Sunday he and his parliamentary deputies will continue to back President Chandrika Kumaratunga, as the legislature gets set to debate a no-confidence motion brought by opposition lawmakers."I told them point blank that we are with Kumaratunga and that we will vote against any motion that aims to destabilize the government," he said. He declined to identify the politicians by name. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 11:56:10 EDT 2001 Back to the top

SLMC dissidents given 72 hr ultimatum or face expulsion
NDTV/MSNBC, 25 June 2001. Sri Lankan Muslim Congress, which pulled out of the ruling Peoples' Alliance, has served an ultimatum to its dissident leaders to either support the party's decision or face expulsion.The face off came as Ferial Ashraff, widow of SLMC founder M H M Ashraff, and three other party legislators continue to support the government even after SLMC snapped ties with the ruling coalition following its leader Rauff Hakeem's dismissal by President Chandrika Kumaratunga last week. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 23:55:47 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Marxists put off decision on Sri Lanka no-confidence vote, Jun 24 2001 08:55 IST. Sri Lanka's main Marxist party Sunday put off a final decision on how it will vote on a motion to oust the shaky minority government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga. The JVP, or People's Liberation Front, said its central committee wanted the party's 10 legislators to consider the best course of action in the no-confidence motion against the government next month. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 00:43:44 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Somawansa in touch as JVP ponders crucial decision
The Island, june 24. The JVP’s 33-member Central Committee was in conclave at a secret venue in Colombo yesterday to decide its position on the opposition’s no-confidence motion with discussions expected to continue "till even midnight," party spokesman Wimal Weerawanse said.Party sources said that party leader Somawansa Amarasinghe who is presently in London was in contact with the JVP hierarchy by phone and fax and will be making his own input into yesterday’s discussion that can determine the fate of the no-confidence motion bearing 97 signatures that was handed in to the Secretary General of Parliament on Friday. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 01:38:47 EDT 2001 Back to the top

SLMC, june 23. It is diabolical for H.E. to state that the PA wishes the SLMC to be a strong political partywhereas at every twist and turn the government has done their utmost to divide the party and entice our members with perks and privileges of office. H.E.’s assistance is akin to “ pinching the baby and rocking the cradle.” More...
Published: Sat Jun 23 15:36:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chandrika confident of government's stability
The Hindustan Times, june 23. UNFAZED BY hectic efforts by the opposition to raise enough members to defeat the People's Alliance (PA) government in Parliament, Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaratunga has said nobody could topple her government at this juncture. "We are still strong, and alternative means are available to strengthen the government's power," Kumaratunga said at a function at a hospital at Nittambuwa near here on Friday. She did not elaborate on what alternative means she had in mind More...
Published: Sat Jun 23 17:46:48 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
None can topple People's Alliance government: Kumaratunga  - Press Trust of India

Sri Lanka sees celestial hand in political chaos
Yahoo Asia, Sunday, June 24 10:14 AM SGT . The fate of Sri Lanka's shaky ruling coalition may depend more on stars and planets rather than politicians, according to astrologers who play a key role in guiding the destiny of the nation. Even to the uninitiated, the sacking of a Muslim minister from President Kumaratunga's cabinet on Wednesday appeared a bad omen for the government. But seers see a sinister celestial hand behind the sacking. More...
Published: Sat Jun 23 23:28:17 EDT 2001 Back to the top

"Get Indian tutors for nursing schools, not Indian nurses",says union leader
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 12.55 AM SLT Sunday June 24, 2001. The Sri Lankan nurses' union has appealed to the government to get Indian tutors for the nursing schools in the island instead of massively recruiting nurses from India to meet the shortage here.

Mr.Hector Francis,Administrative Secretary of the Public Service United Nurses Union, said that while there was nothing wrong in recruiting,say about 1,500 nurses, from India immediately to meet some urgent requirements here,Sri Lanka should not become dependent on foreign nurses in the long run."Get Indian tutors for the nursing schools here and increase the number of nursing schools," he suggested.

Mr.Francis said that there were only eight nursing schools in the country, training 1,800 girls.And these were also grossly under-staffed.He complained that hospitals,clinics and speciality wards were being started and buildings built, without any thought being given to the provision of the right type of infrastructure,including adequate and trained nursing staff.Facilities for the staff, like decent accommodation,were also lacking,he said.

Mr.Francis said that a very large scale and long term recruitment of foreign nurses would pinch the Sri Lankan's' pocket because the foreigners would have to be paid a high salary and given suitable accommodation."This money could be used to turn out more Sri Lankan nurses and pay them better," he said.

According to Mr.Francis,in the public service alone,there is a shortage of 17,000 nurses.It is acute even in some of the best hospitals.The requirements are as follows: National Hospital Colombo-450;Lady Ridgeway 240; Kalubowila 210;Castle Street 250,De Soysa -250; and General Hospital,Kandy -450.

Ironically,with all this, Sri Lanka is a net exporter of nurses! Obviously, many trained nurses fly off to distant lands because of poor pay and facilities at home.
Published: Sat Jun 23 14:54:38 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Press Conferance of the Opposition
Hindustan Times , June 23. RealVideo stream of the Opposition Press conferance on the handover of the No Confidence motion. More... [Watch]
Published: Sat Jun 23 18:54:02 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Interpol alerted for Weerawansa
CDN, june 24. Police have sought the help of Interpol as the dragnet was extended worldwide for senior Customs Officer Anura Weerawansa, the main suspect in the assassination of Customs Officer Sujith Perera. Police investigators now believe that earlier speculation that Weerawansa had slipped by boat across the Palk Straits may not be accurate. Inquiries regarding a possible clandestine sea crossing aboard a multi-day fishing boat had not yielded positive results, the detective in charge of investigations, senior SP D.W. Pratapasinghe, told the 'Sunday Observer'. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 01:41:46 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan cricket and Buddhist monks fight over $3,3m stadium
buisnessday, june 23. The fate of Sri Lanka's newest international cricket venue remained uncertain yesterday, with the cricket board and Buddhist monks who own the site divided on whether a tri-nations tournament can be played there. A spokesman for the Board of Control for Cricket said on Tuesday no matches would be played at the Dambulla Stadium until a dispute over its tenure rights was settled. The $3,3m stadium was built on land owned by a Buddhist temple and monks maintain they have leased the land More...
Published: Sat Jun 23 19:09:42 EDT 2001 Back to the top

PA faces no-trust motion
gulf-news, june 23. Sri Lanka's main opposition party, backed by two minority parties, yesterday handed over a no-confidence motion against the ruling People's Alliance (PA) government which lost its majority in Parliament two days back, opposition leaders said. The main opposition United National Party (UNP)-initiated no-confidence motion was handed over to the Secretary General of Parliament, Dhammika Kitulgoda, and the debate is due to take place next month, UNP's Deputy Leader Karu Jayasooriya said."We have asked for the earliest possible date and are expecting a date in the first week of July," he said. The motion against the government is being brought on the grounds that the ruling PA cannot solve the existing problems in the country, including the ethnic issue. More...
Published: Sat Jun 23 19:29:12 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels close civilian crossing point, Jun 23 2001 18:08 IST. COLOMBO, June 23 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas have shut down a check point used by civilians and international aid agencies to cross the frontlines in the island's embattled north, the defence ministry said Saturday. The separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) closed the Piramanalankulam check point which is also used to transport humanitarian supplies to rebel-held areas, the ministry said. More...
Published: Sat Jun 23 13:13:04 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Shrs End Up After No-Confidence Motion
yahoo, june 22. Sri Lanka shares ended in positive territory Friday after the main opposition presented a no-confidence motion against President Chandrika Kumaratunga's government. The All Share Index closed up 1.94 points at 430.86, after peaking above 432. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 02:03:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Ceylon Petroleum awaits clearance for Petronas JV
yahoo, june 22. Sri Lanka's state Ceylon Petroleum Corp (CPC) is seeking government approval for a tie-up with Petronas Gas of Malaysia to distribute liquified petroleum gas, a company official said on Friday. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 02:06:37 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka/Reserves -3: Target Official Reserves Of $1.5B
yahoo, june 22. Sri Lanka's total reserves, or official assets plus funds held by commercial banks, totaled $2.190 billion at the end of April, slightly up from $2.126 billion in December 2000, the central bank said Friday. More...
Published: Sun Jun 24 02:05:02 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Confidence vote looms in Sri Lanka
BBC South Asia, Friday, 22 June, 2001, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK . The confidence motion, signed by 98 of the 116 MPs from the opposition United National Party, (UNP) follows the defection of a number of MPs from the governing People's Alliance. There is, however, no immediate danger of the government's collapse as MPs must first decide when to debate the motion, and then vote on it. More...
Published: Sat Jun 23 07:24:51 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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