Foreign relations of a country are an important factor in the international system. Simply a foreign relation means the way a particular country deals with other countries of the world or the management of relationships between countries. No country can be an isolated character in the international system.so it is very important to build up relationships between countries. When we describe about the foreign relations, foreign policy is also very important. Most of the times foreign relations depend on the foreign policy.
Under this article, we describe about the Sri Lanka’s internal political crisis in October 2018 and how it affects to the foreign relations of Sri Lanka. The legitimacy of the newly appointed prime minister was a very debatable topic in sri Lanka as well as in the international system. However, it is useful to get a fair knowledge about that current political crisis in sri Lanka. Foreign policy describes how a country deals with another countries.so the terms of foreign relations is depending on the foreign policy. It means the foreign relations handle through the foreign policy.
In here, it describes what is the foreign relations, how does internal conflict affect for the foreign relations, what is the current internal political crisis in Sri Lanka, Legitimacy of that appointment and how does this appointment affect for the foreign relations of Sri Lanka. Also, this assignment describes about the legitimacy of the dissolution of parliament. Actually, that seen was occurred in the month of November in 2018.But that seen is a result of the appointment of new prime minister. At this movement Mahinda Rajapaksa haven’t an ability to prove the majority of the parliament and according to the instability of the parliament the president decided to dissolve it and held a parliamentary election. So, in here, briefly discuss about it.
Finally, we can conclude with the information in here, the internal political crisis in October 2018 is affect to the foreign relations of Sri Lanka.
WHAT ARE FOREIGN RELATIONS?
Foreign relations are a major element in a country as well as in the international system. Basically, foreign relations mean the relationships between countries.it may be economic, political, social, cultural or ideological. However foreign policy is a key concept in the international system.
A foreign policy of a country is also very important thing. Foreign policy describes how a particular country deals with the other countries. It means the foreign policy of a country is very important to conduct foreign relations with the other countries of the world. Most of the times foreign policy and foreign relations shaped by the current political leadership of a country.in other hand the political ideology of country affects for the foreign relations of a country.
No country can be an isolated character in the international system. If it wants to be an activist partner, every country should build up foreign relations with the other countries. Also, through the foreign relations, a particular country can achieve its national interests also. According to this, foreign relations is very important behavior pattern of a particular country to shape its present and the future.
HOW THE INTERNAL POLITICAL CRISIS AFFECT THE FOREIGN POLICY?
Many countries have Internal conflicts. But it is very important to identify how the internal conflicts affect the foreign relations. As the above pages foreign relations are a key element to achieve its goals and interests. It represents the goals, public opinion, nature of the leader and government, political ideology. So, the internal conflicts arise related to goals, public opinion, nature of the leader and government, political ideology directly affect the foreign relations.
As an example, different governments appoint time to time. The principles and ideologies of the governments differ from each other. So, the way they conduct relations with other countries is differ with the appointing different governments. In the post-independence period of Sri Lanka, the UNP government followed a pro west attitude. But after the 1956 Mr. Bandaranaike followed a non-alignment attitude towards the foreign relations. So, this proves that the foreign relations of a particular country change with the political changes.
Also, as the international community, the other countries of the world always pay attention about the internal political crisis of a particular country. Through these internal political crisis, international community decide how the conduct relationships with that country. The most proper example is the political situation in Sri Lanka in October 2018.
However according to these matters, the internal political crisis of a country affects for its foreign relations with the other countries.
CASE STUDY – LEGITIMACY OF THE APPOINTING MAHINDA RAJAPAKSA AS THE PRIME MINISTER AND THE DISSOLUTION OF PARLIAMENT (2018 October)
Why the president appointed Mahindra Rajapaksa as the prime minister while sacking Ranil Wickramasinghe?
The most recent internal political crisis in Sri Lanka was appointing Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister by the current president Maithripala Sirisena on the 26th of October 2018 after the united people’s freedom alliance withdrew from the unity government and informed Ranil Wickramasinghe was removed from office.
This appointment was a huge incident between in local as well as in international level. After the appointment of the new prime minister, the president addressed the nation and described the reasons to appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister. According to him, the political instability, economic instability, the need to appointing a patriotic leader and the life threats for the president’s life are the main reasons to appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister in Sri Lanka.
When discuss about the political instability, newly appointed “Yahapalana” government in 2015, came to the power by giving various promises to the public. Actually the 2015 government was appointed by the votes of educated middle class, upper middle class, votes of north, east and central provinces and youth votes. With the time this newly appointed government did not held the local authorities election on time and it just like violation of political rights of the Sri Lankans. But with the local authorities election in 2018, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP)of the joint opposition taken the highest percentage of votes 44.65%. that was a great kick and a risk for the Yahapalana government because local authorities election is the basic level of the Sri Lankan election field and the victory of SLPP showed its strength. Also, the basic election promise of the 2015 Yahapalana government is to abolish executive presidency, establishing democracy in Sri Lanka, freedom for media etc. During the past three years, people posed the question whether that the promises mentioned in the election manifesto “Maithri Palanayak” were only a rhetoric. Because most of the times throughout the past 3 years this government couldn’t achieve their goals. Also, when considering about the conflict inside the government such as conflicts between ministers, was a factor to the political instability. Actually, Yahapalana government is a unity government made by various parties, alliances etc. The member parties of the government have different ideologies, interests and principle specially between the united people’s freedom alliance (UPFA) and united national party (UNP).so it is difficult to expect unity from different attitudes. Therefore, the internal conflicts in the government also increased the political instability in the country.
The next reason to appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister in Sri Lanka the economic instability in Sri Lanka. unfortunately, Sri Lanka is a country which depend on debt and aid of the foreign countries and organizations. People suffer from weight of debts and exceeding prices of the goods. Government impose unfair taxes on people to pay debts. Also, the depreciation of the Sri Lankan rupee is a risk for the whole economy. But this government fails to give some fruitful solutions for these problems. Government tried to curtail imports, but it is not practicable solution towards the depreciation of Sri Lankan rupee. The development programs were stuck to some extent and lack of investors is also affect to the economic unstability.so president said that there is no any option except appointing Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister. Because in the Mahinda Rajapaksa period in 2005-2014 more investors invest for the development in Sri Lanka specially countries like china, because they saw a visible development in infrastructure facilities in Sri Lanka after the civil war.
According to the addressing the nation by the president Maithripala Sirisena, he said that there is a risk about his life after the alleged revealing of an assassination plot on him and Gotabaya Rajapaksa.so under the less security surrounding, it is difficult to rule the country. He said that, Ranil Wickramasinghe is behind this seen and there is no option to him except appointing Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister.
These are the main reasons to appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister by sacking Ranil Wickramasinghe.
Legitimacy of the appointing Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister
The appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister was a debatable topic among many parties, organizations and even between international countries and organizations. Some of them were argue that this appointment is legitimate while others were not.So it is very important to get an idea about the legitimacy of this appointment because the balance of foreign relations based on the legitimacy of this appointment.
According to above passage, some parties and persons argued that this appointment is constitutional. According to the article 42(4) the president shall appoint as prime minister the member of the parliament,who,in the president’s opinion,is most likely to command the confidence of parliament.” According to the constitution, the appointment of the Mahinda Rajapaksa was legitimate and constitutional. Some people argue that, shouldn’t Mahinda Rajapaksa prove the majority support in the parliament. Actually, according to the constitution appointing prime minister is a president’s decision. He appoints a prime minister who he/she is most likely to command the confidence of the parliament. There is no mentioning about “majority” or “support”.in 2015 president Maithripala Sirisena used this power to appoint Ranil Wickramasinghe as the prime minister while an elected government was in their service. According to this, the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister is constitutional and legitimate.
Most of the political parties in Sri Lanka, even international countries argued that this appointment is unconstitutional. According to the former prime minister Ranil Wickramasighe, still he is the prime minister and still he has the majority of the parliament. Also, the international countries accepted that this new appointment is unfair because former prime minister has 2 years more in his office.so the countries like Canada, America warned that Sri Lankan president should respect for the democracy and should act according to the constitution. The united national party members protested against this appointment.In other hand president Maithripala Sirisena dissolved the parliament by a gazette and decided to held a parliamentary election. But the supreme court issued an interim order suspending the gazette.
However according to these facts, there was a conflict about the legitimacy of the appointing Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister.
DISSOLUTION OF THE PARLIAMENT AS THE RESULT OF THE LACK OF MAJORITY?
With the appointment of the new prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa could not prove the confidence about him in the parliament. As the result of that president issued a gazette to dissolve the parliament and held a parliament election immediately. The UNP protested against this action and gave petitions challenging the presidential order. By the second republican constitution in Sri Lanka 1978, it provided huge and powerful powers for the executive president position. J.R.Jayawardhana said that he could do anything with this constitute except make a man a women or vice versa. However, through the 17th amendment, it reduced the powers of the president and 19th amendments canceled some of the provisions of the 18th amendment and expanded the provisions of the 17th amendments. But the 19th amendment did not control or regulate the use of executive powers of the president related to the legislature. According to the constitution, Sri Lanka president has the power to summon, suspend, prorogue or terminate a legislative session and to dissolve the parliament. However, after the 19th amendment, under 70(1) the president cannot dissolve the parliament until four and a half year since the first meeting of the parliament. Actually, the present parliament did not pass at least 4 years and according to that most of the parties said that this gazette is illegal. As the result of this situation the supreme court in Sri Lanka issued an interim order. The present government is in a terrible situation at this movement because they do not have the majority of the parliament.
HOW THIS CASE AFFECTS FOR THE FOREIGN RELATIONS OF SRI LANKA?
Foreign relations mean the relationships between countries. The internal political crisis of a particular country directly affects to the foreign relations of that country. After October 2018, Sri Lanka felt the warmth of this situation. According to above passages, the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister is a debatable topic in the international region. Most of the countries suffered from a mistrust about the Sri Lanka. And this situation helped to destroy the image of the Sri Lanka in the international system. Also, the local power against the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime successfully built up an image, that Rajapaksa regime is always try to take the power and they do not ready to leave the power. This is more disadvantageble for Sri Lanka. In other hand, the unfortunate situation in parliament in Sri Lanka also a big factor to destroy the image of Sri Lanka. Actually, as a country we all should think twice, if the main law-making place of Sri Lanka is like this, what happen to the country?
After the appointment of new prime minister, the foreign countries put a pressure on Sri Lanka. The former prime minister Ranil Wickramasinghe met the diplomatic agents of the other countries to describe about the unfair and unconstitutional situation while the foreign minister of newly appointed government described this appointment is constitutional. Actually, new appointment is morally unfair because still Ranil Wickramasinghe has 2 years more in his office. The most of the diplomats tried to be independent in this situation while mentioning Sri Lanka should respect for the constitute and gathering the parliament as soon as possible. Also, none of the diplomats congrats for the newly appointed prime minister except the ambassador of China. That is a mark to identify, how this political crisis affects for the diplomatic relations of Sri Lanka.
Relationships with USA
With the appointment of the new prime minister, America announced that America always pay attention about the situation of Sri Lanka. The situation was just like a fire alarm warning for Sri Lanka. if Sri Lanka antagonize America, truly Sri Lanka cannot stand in the international system. Practically none of the country can be an independent country without the support and favor of the America. Sometimes if Sri Lanka fail to get a solution towards the parliament and the political instability in Sri Lanka, America will put sanctions on Sri Lanka and will put pressure inside the united nations also. Though the America supported Sri Lanka at the beginning of the civil war by perceiving LTTE as a terrorist group and providing financial support, diplomatic support and intelligence about LTTE ship movements, at the end the pressure put by America to Sri Lanka in the united nations about the human rights violations and war crimes during the post war period was a bitter experience to Sri Lanka. Also, nearly dollar 500 million in US aid and a Japanese loan of dollar 1.4 billion put on hold because of the unstable situation in Sri Lanka. Actually, Sri Lanka is a third world and a developing country which depend on foreign aids and debts. If the countries of the world reject to give debts and aids to Sri Lanka, it will be a huge disaster for Sri Lankan economy as well as for every citizen in Sri Lanka. If the America decide to stop issue visas for Sri Lankans it will be another problem to Sri Lanka. However, the legitimacy of the newly appointed prime minister and the unstability situation in the parliament were very affectable factors for the foreign policy of Sri Lanka.
Relationships with India
India is the neighboring country of Sri Lanka and has a close relationship with Sri Lanka since number of centuries. economically, socially and politically, India has a close relationship with Sri Lanka. Also, Sri Lanka imports vehicles from India such as Mahindra, Ashok Leyland etc. recently Sri Lanka Brandix set up a garment city in Vishakapatanam. Number of employees in India work in sri lanka.In other hand India supported for Sri Lanka in the final period of the civil war in 2009 by providing attack helicopters. Also, in the civil war between LTTE and Sri Lanka government India acted as a mediator and India provided Indian peace keeping force.So there is a close relationship with Sri Lanka and India. Actually, during the mahinda rajapaksa period, Mahinda Rajapaksa regime built a close relationship with India. But generally, in the period of Mahinda Rajapaksa, China invested more for Sri Lanka and there was an unbreakable bond with Sri Lanka and China. But historically India and China had antagonizes about the Aksai Chin area. So with the appointment of the prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, India thought that Sri Lanka will be a colony of China with the rule of the Mahinda Rajapaksa and it will be a threat for Indian security also. In that case India looks at Sri Lanka by a suspicious eye.
Relationship with china
As the historical friend of Sri Lanka, China didn’t forget to wish for newly appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa. None of the diplomats congrats for the appointment of the Mahinda Rajapaksa. But diplomat of China expressed his warm congrats to Sri Lankan newly appointed prime minister. Under in 2005-2014 Rajapaksa era, China invested billions of dollars for development projects in Sri Lanka.the Hambanthota port is a good example and it was built by Chinese company with the financial support of China. Nelum pokuna, Maththala international airport are very famous Chinese investments. But under the Wickremasinghe government, Sri Lanka tried achieve the goals of the foreign policy through India and Japan. Also, in the beginning, president Maithripala Sirisena canceled the port city project. But question is why the China invest too much for Sri Lanka? Sri Lanka is strategically located on the sea route. Sri Lanka is key to the One Belt One Road (OBOR)initiative, building roads, sea links to boost trade with other countries to increase the Beijing influence. However, with the Rajapaksa rule, China definitely will help for Sri Lanka by giving aid and funds. Sri Lanka will be a developed country with the financial support of China while being a colony of China.
Actually, China does not care about the person or the government in the leadership in Sri Lanka. China well know how to use the soft power and attract the leadership. As an example, with the appointment of the Sirisena Ranil government, Sri Lanka stopped the China port city project. But after a few times China could gain the attraction of the Yahapalana government.
However,most parties assumed that, with the newly appointed prime minister, the relationships between China and Sri Lanka will refresh more than previous government.
According to above discussion, the internal political conflict in October 2018 directly affected for the foreign relations for Sri Lanka. Specially it affected badly for the Sri Lankan image. Though the appointment of prime minister legitimate or not, though the dissolution of the parliament illegal or not, the political stability is very important to country. Without the political stability , any international country does not like to support Sri Lanka. It is a very risk for the political, social and specially for economic situation in the Sri Lanka. As mention in the above passages ,Sri Lanka is a developing country. Actually, Sri Lanka cannot stand independently without the support of the other countries. So, it is very important to build friendly relations with the international community as well as establish democracy and economic stability.