And why it is important:
"As president, Rajapaksa aggressively courted China, building economic and military ties that alarmed India and the United States. Neither country wants China to gain a larger presence on an island so strategically located along the maritime trade routes between the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. Sirisena and Wickremesinghe have put the courtship on pause, saying the relationship with China needs to be “rebalanced.”
I smell a rigged election, as this is all about patrolling the Indian Ocean and confronting China with the scrolling through Sri Lanka.
"Former Sri Lankan strongman seeking No. 2 post" Associated Press August 17, 2015
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lankans voted in parliamentary elections Monday that will decide the political future of a former dictator seeking a comeback eight months after being unseated in a shocking election loss.
I'm not going to sermonize about it.
Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s leader for nine years until his Jan. 8 presidential election defeat to a former ally, was running for prime minister, a position that is second to that of president.
Since that loss, there has been a reversal of fortunes for Rajapaksa, his family, and friends, who were once all powerful controllers of the island nation. Some of them now face investigations or lawsuits for corruption, misuse of power, and even murder.
Polls closed late Monday afternoon, and the first results were not expected until after midnight.
Rajapaksa was confident he would win. ‘‘I ask the people to celebrate our victory peacefully,’’ he told reporters after voting at his native village in southern Sri Lanka.
Rajapaksa was hailed a warrior king for defeating the Tamil Tiger separatists to end a nearly 26-year civil war. But he is accused of using his popularity to take control of Parliament, the courts, the armed forces, and all government institutions.
He's outlived his usefulness, and the Tamils were penned in like Palestinians if you remember (after western intelligence abandoned them).
Rajapaksa’s main rival in the election was the incumbent, Ranil Wickremesinghe, a two-time prime minister.
And the winner?
"Sri Lankans reject former president in election" by David Barstow New York Times August 19, 2015
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lankan voters decisively rejected former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s comeback bid, election results showed Tuesday, leaving this island nation firmly in the hands of officials intent on dismantling most of his policies and completing corruption inquiries that have been closing in on him and his family.
Washington got what it wanted, and that's not an endorsement of Rajapaksa.
“We have lost a good fight,” Rajapaksa told Agence France-Presse early Tuesday.
The election, held peacefully Monday with high voter turnout, determined the makeup of Sri Lanka’s 225-member Parliament. As expected, Rajapaksa easily won a seat in the chamber. But his political coalition fell short of winning a majority, which he had said would have earned him the right to be named prime minister, the second most powerful job in the government.
Although final results had still not been announced by Tuesday afternoon, partial returns indicated that Rajapaksa’s coalition lost support in every region of the country, including areas long viewed as his political base.
The results strengthened his archrivals: Maithripala Sirisena, the president, and Ranil Wickremesinghe, the prime minister, odd-couple political partners who joined forces to oppose Rajapaksa.
In context of the paragraph I led with, this all makes sense.
“We need to unite as one family to create a new political culture in this country,” Wickremesinghe said in a statement claiming victory Tuesday.
On Jan. 8, Wickremesinghe and Sirisena struck their first blow against Rajapaksa by defeating his bid for an unprecedented third term as president. In the months since, they have teamed to begin tearing down Rajapaksa’s most cherished project: building an elaborate ruling structure that gave him and his family immense, unchallenged power over the nation’s military, economy, and news media.
On Monday, by reaffirming the rejection of Rajapaksa in January, voters guaranteed that the changes begun by Wickremesinghe and Sirisena will continue, including nascent efforts to bridge deep divisions left when Rajapaksa crushed a 26-year Tamil uprising in 2009.
The result also increases the likelihood that there will be a careful accounting of Rajapaksa’s decade in power. His opponents accuse him and his family of plundering billions of dollars from the national treasury, a charge he has denied.
“Whatever you may say, we are not thieves,” he told reporters last week.
But the roster of his former ministers and close associates under investigation is steadily growing, and several inquiries are now aimed directly at Rajapaksa and his family.
In April, the Sri Lankan police arrested his brother Basil, the former economic development minister, on charges of misappropriating public funds. The same month, another brother, Gotabhaya, the former defense secretary, was summoned to appear before the nation’s Bribery Commission. In June, his wife, Shiranthi, was questioned by the newly formed Financial Crime Investigation Division.
This month, government sources accused one of Rajapaksa’s sons, Yoshitha, of ordering the killing of Wasim Thajudeen, a member of Sri Lanka’s national rugby team, in a dispute over a woman.
Over a woman? A woman?!
According to officials, three members of his father’s security detail have been identified as the men who abducted, tortured, and killed Thajudeen in 2012.
Monday’s results also have significant geopolitical ramifications.
As president, Rajapaksa aggressively courted China, building economic and military ties that alarmed India and the United States. Neither country wants China to gain a larger presence on an island so strategically located along the maritime trade routes between the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. Sirisena and Wickremesinghe have put the courtship on pause, saying the relationship with China needs to be “rebalanced.”
"US backs Sri Lanka’s own war crimes probe" Associated Press August 27, 2015
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — The United States said Wednesday it wants to sponsor a resolution at next month’s UN human rights session that is supportive of Sri Lanka’s government, which wants to conduct its own probe of alleged war crimes.
The announcement by Nisha Biswal, US assistant secretary of state, in Colombo of a joint resolution with the Sri Lankans presents a major shift by Washington on the South Asian island nation.
The United States was in the forefront in adopting three resolutions at the UN human rights sessions on Sri Lanka, the last of which last year called for an international independent investigation into the alleged abuses.
Biswal said, however, that the United States now supports an investigation promised by the new Sri Lanka government of President Maithripala Sirisena. Relations between the nations had been strained during a decades-long civil war with separatist rebels.
I'm sure China and Indian Ocean shipping lanes have nothing to do with it.