Gotabaya’s return

With Gotabaya’s return, the spectre of the Rajapakses looms over Sri Lanka once more. Despite charges of war crimes, torture and genocide, Gotabaya has stoked the long burning flame of Sinhala nationalism on the island to be elected to the presidency. ⁣

In the wake of the Easter Sunday attacks, Muslims on the island had already faced violence against their communities and the fear of a strong man coming to power drew some of the highest voter turnouts in decades amongst the Muslim populace. The Tamil people, who had been the primary victims of genocide in Gotabayas tenure as defence minister also flocked to the voting booths to cast their lot with the opposition candidate, Sajith Premadasa. Another Sinhala nationalist candidate who was seen as the lesser of two evils by many to vote into office. Despite their efforts however, there was an overwhelming Sinhala mandate for another Rajapakse era.⁣

It shows that at a time where Sri Lanka has been “championing a message of ethnic unity” to appease international opinion, the political future of the country remains firmly entrenched in Sinhala Buddhist Ideology.⁣

Within days of the election victory, Tamils in the central tea estates of Kegalle have already been violently attacked for voting against the Rajapakses and Gotabaya himself has commented derisively on the Tamil and Muslim oppositin to his appointment. The future looks bleak for ethnic minorities once more on the island.⁣