05 August, 2021

The Queen's Gambit

Kumaratunga is squeezed into buying peace to save her

The Queen's Gambit
In a bid to save her government, Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaratunga decided to sup with the Janatha Vimukhti Peramuna (jvp), a party with a queer melange of extreme Marxist and right-wing ideas which had staged an abortive armed uprising against her mother's rule three decades back and allegedly assassinated her husband 12 years ago. The deal between the People's Alliance (PA) and the jvp could save the government in Parliament but, more importantly, also threatens to throw the peace initiative into disarray and suck the island deeper into the economic morass.

Reduced to a minority in Parliament after the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (slmc) left the PA to join the Opposition in July, and unable to stitch a deal with the main Opposition United National Party (unp) to form a national unity government, Kumaratunga signed the mou last Wednesday for the support of jvp's ten members, taking her tally to 119 seats in the 225-member Parliament.

But the alliance has come at a heavy price for the president. Not only did Kumaratunga agree to cancel the referendum asking...

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