'Accountability' not addressed in new Sri Lanka coalition agreement

The two major political parties in Sri Lanka joining to establish a ‘strong and stable’ government have failed to address the crucial issues related to accountability.

United National Party (UNP) and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Friday (21) to set up a national government after the UNP failed to secure a majority despite winning the general elections held last week.

Government of consensus

In his victory address Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe invited all elected political parties to join with his administration to establish a ‘government of consensus’.

Nevertheless, only the UNP and SLFP has arrived at a consensus to form a new government.

Congratulating the UNP on its electoral victory, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon urged the new government to ‘make further progress on good governance, accountability and reconciliation’.

Sri Lankan identity

On August 1st , in a meeting held in Jaffna, all the Tamil political parties unanimously resolved to work towards establishing an international inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the final stages of Sri Lanka’s bloody war.

Although the MOU proposes the drafting of a new constitution that ‘safeguards rights of all people', uphold the Sri Lankan identity, reconcile nations and religions’, it does not contain any proposition to address violations against Tamils during the war and after.

In the run up to election day, all the Tamil political parties sought a mandate for a power sharing arrangement based on a federal model. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) emerged as the third largest parliamentary party winning three districts in the north and east.

While both the UNP and the SLFP in their election campaigns in Sinhala dominated south slammed Tamil parties for their demand, the national government MOU does not have any reference to a solution to the Tamil national question.