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Majorities get politicians intoxicated with power: Sri Lankan daily

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Colombo: The electorate has not given the winner a majority as they “realised that majorities make politicians lose their heads and get intoxicated with power”, said a Sri Lankan daily which cautioned the new government to “tread cautiously”.

An editorial “Happy Jumbos” in The Island on Wednesday said that the people have spoken and their message is loud and clear.

“They, however, haven’t given the winner a working majority. Perhaps, they have realised that majorities make politicians lose their heads and get intoxicated with power. The new government to be formed will have to be mindful of public opinion and tread cautiously if it is to avoid the fate of the UPFA (United People’s Freedom Alliance) administration which, having secured 144 seats in 2010, failed to manage its electoral gains and came crashing down,” it said.

dd2The daily said that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has silenced his critics who, on numerous occasions, questioned his ability to steer the United National Party (UNP) to victory and went so far as to conspire to oust him.

“True, he failed to beat Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presidential race in 2005 and avoided the 2010 contest, not wanting to lose again. But, he has won against (former president Mahinda) Rajapaksa 10 years later. It is no mean achievement and let him be congratulated.”

The daily went on to say that the UNP has played its cards well since late last year against numerous odds.

“Its government succeeded in keeping itself afloat and granting some relief to the people. It tried to live up to their expectations. It failed to honour most of its promises, but it managed to convince the public that it was genuine in its efforts to make good those pledges.”

“The UNP government also made some blunders but the people voted for it in spite of them. Above all, it benefited immensely from the UPFA’s debilitating internal crisis.”

The daily said that the people gave a “mild knock to the UNP and a sobering slap to the UPFA on Monday. But, they dealt a knuckle sandwich to the Bodu Jana Peramuna (BJP), which is the political face of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS). It was simply routed!”

It asked the UNP-led new administration to learn lessons from its predecessors.

“The UPFA will have to brace itself for bitterly fought internal battles, legal wrangles and, more than anything else, a winter of despair. The UNP is faced with the uphill task of fulfilling its promises. People’s expectations are high and it will have to live up to them,” it added.

(IANS)

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U.S. Warns Columbia Stating Additional Attacks May Occur

As the government faces an outpouring of public anger over the failure to heed the warnings, senior officials admit it has been a "major lapse."

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Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan police officers perform a security check on a truck at a roadside in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 25, 2019. VOA

The U.S. Embassy in Colombo has advised people to avoid places of worship in Sri Lanka over the coming weekend, citing Sri Lankan reports that additional attacks may occur.

“Continue to remain vigilant and avoid large crowds,” the embassy said Thursday on its official Twitter account.

The warning comes days after a devastating attack on Christian worshipers on Easter Sunday when suicide bombers killed more than 350 people.

Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary Hemasriri Fernando quit Thursday in the wake of the bombings, heeding calls from Sri Lanka’s president for his resignation.

People who live near the church that was attacked yesterday, leave their houses as the military try to defuse a suspected van before it exploded in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 22, 2019. VOA

President Maithripala Sirisena had called on Fernando as well as the police chief Pujith Jayasundara to step down after he promised in a televised address to take stern action against officials who did not share with him the intelligence alerts that came from India days prior to the bombing of churches and luxury hotels.

As the government faces an outpouring of public anger over the failure to heed the warnings, senior officials admit it has been a “major lapse.”

Fernando said that there had been no failure on his own part, but he resigned to take responsibility for the failures of some institutions he headed, Reuters reported.

sri lanka attack, morocco
Sri Lankan police clear the area while Special Task Force Bomb Squad officers inspect the site of an exploded van near a church that was attacked yesterday in Colombo, April 22, 2019. VOA

Reports say Indian intelligence agencies sent out several warnings to Sri Lanka, and that Indian security agencies had gathered details about Islamic militant group National Thowfeek Jamaath (NTJ), which is suspected of carrying out the attacks.

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The government also faces scrutiny on whether bitter political wrangling between Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe contributed to the failure to act upon warnings about the attacks. Wickremesinghe said that there had been a “breakdown in communication.”

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombings. (VOA)