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Sri Lankan crisis undermines confidence in forming an ‘inclusive constitution’ – Hindu editorial

The promise of reforms “have vanished” in Sri Lanka, said The Hindu in an editorial this morning, as it called the move to dissolve parliament an “act of desperation” and warned that confidence in writing a new constitution for the island has been undermined.

“Sri Lanka is at a crossroads where it has to make a crucial choice between democratic consolidation or a retreat to authoritarianism,” said the paper. “The judiciary has a crucial task at hand.”

It added that the “promise held out by the 2015 reforms seems to have vanished with [Maithripala Sirisena’s] actions”.

“Given the manner in which recent constitutional reforms have been undermined, the process of writing a new, inclusive Constitution for the country may no longer inspire much confidence,” it said.

See the full text of the editorial here.

Over the last several years Tamil parties have been in negotiations with the Sri Lankan government over a new constitution for the island, with hopes that it would be a step towards resolving aspects of the enduring ethnic conflict. However, negotiations have repeatedly faltered, with opposition from Sinhala nationalists and calls for  provisions to ensure Buddhism remains the foremost religion on the island.

TheTamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) earlier stated that the ongoing political crisis in Colombo has demonstrated to Tamils that “Sinhala Buddhist majoritarian parties continue to demonstrate a lack of respect to constitutionalism”.