As the old guard in Sri Lanka was dramatically toppled in the recent presidential elections, best wishes were offered not only to the opponent, Maithripala Sirisena, but to a hopefully imminent resuscitation of a suffocated democracy.
For nearly a decade, former president Rajapaksa had steadily strengthened his hold on democracy, forcing its compliance in support of a near-complete autocracy. So feeble was democracy’s presence that during election time, the outgoing president was heralded for not orchestrating a military coup, and the poll process was deemed successful despite assaults on opposition candidates and the massive misuse of state resources.
In a post-Paris moment, where dictators joined hands in solidarity against a threat to the core values of democracy, there seems to be a desperation to celebrate any semblance of democratic resurrection—even one that springs from deeply rooted despotism.
For those inclined to see the outcome of the island’s voting process (where credit for the sudden vote sway was given to minorities...