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'Consolidating control' - The Hindu

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The unprecedented "Opposition disarray" helped the Rajapaksas consolidate their hold on power in the recent parliamentary elections, The Hindu wrote in it's editorial earlier this month. 

"The SLPP, founded four years ago by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has won 145 seats, and with the help of minorty allies, will reach the coveted 150 mark in a House of 225. The party may now have the numbers to amend the Constitution and undo the two-term limit and other curbs on presidential powers imposed by the 19th Amendment passed by a predecessor regime," it noted. 

"The reasons behind this landslide are clear. Majoritarian nationalism, the party's trump card, was boosted by the unprecedented disarray in the Opposition ranks. The people, yearning for development and debt relief, appear not to have forgotten the failings of the four-year rule of Maitripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremsinghe- rivals who had come together in 2015 on a promise of good governance to defeat Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa." 

"The Tamil minority appears to have imparted some realism into its otherwise fiercely nationalistic voting pattern. It has not wholly backed the TNA, its main representative for years, but instead voted for alternative parties, in what is a clear setback to the TNA.  The results may reflect growing backing for a development plank rather than harping on an elusive political solution to their national question," the editorial added. 

The ruling SLPP "should work towards fulfilling the people's economic and developmental aspirations instead of seeking to undo the gains from the 19th Amendment, It must also address concerns about creeping militarisation and guard against the return to an era of democratic deficit that the country sought to overcome in 2015."

Read the full piece here

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