Minority community parties coming together to safeguard democracy – Rauff

ECONOMYNEXT – A group of political parties representing minority communities are coming together to safeguard themselves from anti-democratic forces, a senior parliamentarian said.

Rauff Hakeem, leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress said the grouping is not “an electoral alliance.”

“We are in discussions to support the alliance led by (Opposition Leader) Sajith Premadasa,” Hakeem told EconomyNext.

He said that this group was forming a platform with a minimum common programme to resist anti-democratic moves by the government or any other party.

He said that it would be similar to the platform developed by Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero, and added that they haven’t still finalised the parties that are going to be in the movement.

“There are ongoing preliminary discussions.”

But he said that it would consist of minority and minor political parties.

However, for the General Elections, he said that they will align with parties with whom they can come to an agreement along political lines.

Hardline quasi-political groups such as the Bodu Bala Sena are campaigning for political parties representing minority communities such as Hakeem’s party to be disallowed.

“We must cleanse our Parliament of the minority parties as they are king-makers,” the Sena Chief Galagodaththe Gnanasara Thero told a massive rally in Kandy last year.

Last week the Parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security also recommended that political parties based on ethnicities or religions be “phased out in the space of two to four years.” (Colombo, February 24, 2020)

-Edited by Arjuna Ranawana