Economic Liberalisation, Changes in Governance Structure and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka

Siri Gamage
2009 Journal of Contemporary Asia  
The last four decades have seen considerable economic, political and cultural changes in Sri Lanka. Among the dominant themes and discourses of the period are economic liberalisation, changes in governance and the conflict between the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (portrayed as an ethnic conflict). The economic liberalisation policies of the centre-right government that came to power in 1977 opened up the country to foreign capital and relaxed emigration rules and import
more » ... es and import restrictions. This government also introduced changes to the Westminster-style democratic system by instituting a centralised governance structure headed by a directly elected executive president. These changes and their implementation imposed significant restrictions on human liberties and rights. These changes are considered as a context for the emergence of conflicts between various central governments and Tamil militants in the early 1980s. This topic has been relatively under-researched. The article attempts to grasp the complexities surrounding this topic on the basis of a review of relevant literature and the underlying meanings of the war, particularly in relation to the maintenance of patron-client relations and a globalising economy. In concluding, the article reiterates the importance of a peace process and political reforms related to national identity and allegiance to an inclusive nation.
doi:10.1080/00472330902723824 fatcat:gl6qleqkkrcsbe7onmwmdz3s3u