Sri Lanka constitutional crisis strengthened democracy, investor confidence

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY: Legislators trying to block the Speaker in 2018, who is escorted by police. Modern policing date backs to the Thames River Police, a private effort partly driven by Jeremy Bentham, a utilitarian. British Prime Minister Robert Peel made police a state agency.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s constitutional crisis last year demonstrated the people’s commitment to democracy and bolstered investor confidence, said Ruwindhu Peiris, managing director of Stax a US-based global strategy consulting firm.

“I see the 2018 fiasco as a phenomenal celebration – it put us to the test,” he said. “It has given investors confidence on the strength of democracy in Sri Lanka.”

Peiris said Sri Lanka holds tremendous potential despite the political uncertainty generated by the crisis.

In October 2018 President Maithripala Sirisena ousted his coalition ally Ranil Wickremesinghe from the Prime Minister post, and planted ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Premier, in a controversial move described as a coup by critics.

Sirisena also suspended parliament but both moves were described as unconstitutional and overturned by the supreme court.

Peiris was giving his views on the impact of the crisis at a forum held by the Oxford Business Group and First Capital Holdings.

He said that there were some disappointments with the performance of the coalition government elected in 2015, which ousted Rajapaksa, but the October crisis showed that the island was still a democracy.

“It was a true testament to democracy – that no matter what, democracy must hold,” Peiris said. “In grand scheme I don’t view it as negative. It shows that Sri Lanka is a society that demands proper democracy.”
(COLOMBO, 10 Sep, 2019)

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