Sri Lanka's Interest Group Politics and a National Vision
Political parties are generally considered to be an essential major ingredient of democratic politics. Recent developments in Sri Lanka tend to cast doubt on this conventional assertion.
The old left parties such as the Communist Party and the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) exist only in name. Plenty of new political parties have attempted to gain a foothold in the south but none with much success. The JVP showed some promise but of late has suffered from defection to the ruling UPFA and a string of electoral defeats. The party of Buddhist monks, Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) makes no serious bid to gain power on its own and remains content to be a fringe party representing a particular interest. Sarath Fonseka's Democratic Party also has failed to gain much traction nationally.
The Tamils in the north and east mainly support the Federal Party (FP) and its successor Tamil National Alliance (TNA). In the central highlands the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) enjoys the support of plantation Tamils. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has considerable electoral support among the Muslims. What these parties share in common is the fact that that they strictly represent ethnic sectional interests and thus perpetuates interest group politics.
Historically, the two veteran political parties, United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), have represented some kind of “national” interest that cuts across ethnic, religious, caste and other sectional interests. The national interest itself has changed over the years. In the 1940s it was the struggle for Independence from colonial rule that
Prince Charles Visits Kandy that Defeated the British in 1803
Prince Charles who was in Sri Lanka representing the titular head of the Commonwealth Queen Elizabeth II at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Colombo on November 15-17 took time off to visit Kandy for the day on Saturday November 16th. His wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall did not make the trip to Kandy. The Governor of the Central Province Tikiri Kobbekaduwa, Chief Minister of the Province Sarath Ekanayaka, Mayor of Kandy Mahindra Ratwatte , Diyawadana Nilame of the Dalada Maligawa Nilanga Dela and other senior officials warmly received the visiting Prince.
Prince Charles’ ancestors who took over the maritime provinces of Sri Lanka from the Dutch in 1796 invaded Kandy twice. On the first occasion in 1803 the Kandy King Sri Vikrama Rajasimha (1798-1815) and his people used the tried and tested tactic