The Roots of Sri Lanka’s Political Crisis—and Why It May Not Be Over

Supporters of the United National Party and ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe burn coffins to protest the government of disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Colombo, Sri Lanka, Nov. 15, 2018 (AP photo by Rukmal Gamage).
Supporters of the United National Party and ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe burn coffins to protest the government of disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Colombo, Sri Lanka, Nov. 15, 2018 (AP photo by Rukmal Gamage).
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The recent bout of unrest in Sri Lanka, sparked by President Maithripala Sirisena’s unexpected decision to fire the prime minister, concluded fairly peacefully. But many of the factors that have destabilized Sri Lankan politics in recent years remain unresolved—and will likely lead to more uncertainty in 2019. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka—For many Sri Lankans, the country’s recent political turmoil came on so quickly they couldn’t possibly have prepared for it. Rami Singh, a delivery driver in his 20s, recalls barreling through this city’s hectic traffic on the night of Oct. 26 when, suddenly, he had to slam on his brakes to […]

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