Sri Lanka has long served as an important strategic destination in the Indian Ocean, catering to merchants and travellers from South-east Asia, India, the Middle East and East Africa. Formerly known as Ceylon, the island was visited and admired by the likes of Marco Polo, who called it “the finest island of its size in the world” well before the arrival of imperialist nations. A diverse colonial history, including influence from Portuguese, Dutch and British cultures, is visible across…
From The Report: Sri Lanka 2019
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Sri Lanka has long served as an important strategic destination in the Indian Ocean, catering to merchants and travellers from South-east Asia, India, the Middle East and East Africa. While much of the country’s recent history has been tainted by a decades-long civil war, post-conflict euphoria brought with it a sense of renewal and optimism. A coalition administration elected in 2015 pledged its commitment to inclusive governance and economic reform, a rebalancing of foreign policy, and reconciliation with its ethnic minorities. However, the coalition has diverged on several key policy issues, leading to delays in the legislative agenda and culminating in a constitutional crisis that saw the prime minister removed from office by the president in October 2018, only to be reinstated two months later following a ruling by the country’s highest court. This chapter contains interviews with President Maithripala Sirisena; and Ganeshan Wignaraja, Executive Director, Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute; and a viewpoint from Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.