Presidential election of Sri Lanka: Choices for the future
[b]Presidential election of Sri Lanka: Choices for the future[/b]
By Garvin Karunaratne, Ph.D. (Michigan State University), former Government Agent, Matara District.
Sri Lanka is today in the throes of a Presidential Election, which will easily determine its future. Since achieving independence Sri Lanka has gone through major changes in certain years. In 1956, there was a major move towards the common man under Prime Minister Bandaranaike. 1977 was the next major change when Sri Lanka under President Jayewardene moved towards the Western Superpowers and did all the bidding of the IMF and the World Bank. Next come President Premadasa with a genuine attempt at alleviating the poor and the deprived but it was too short-lived. The period 1977 to 2005 was a continuous period where, the IMF’s teachings were followed throughout in the manner of a poodle. This bled the country to death- with heavy indebtedness, a trashed currency and untold poverty. SWRD Bandaranaike and Premadasa stand out as contributors while Jayewardene’s experiment ruined the country.
[b]The Predicament of Sri Lanka Today[/b]
In 1977 Sri Lanka was not overly indebted. Its foreign debt was only $ 750 million and that too on productive projects, not incurred for consumption. The World Bank under Robert McNamara liberalized loans and the politicians in charge of the Third World willingly accepted foreign loans and squandered the money. Till then the criteria had been as to whether the use of the loan would increase production sufficient to repay the capital borrowed with interest.