Stuck between the charisma and clearly defined ethno-nationalism of the Rajapaksas, and an invigorated UNP vote base, Pres. Sirisena did not have much room to define his and the SLFP’s agenda for the upcoming local government elections and for the future.
He seems to have chosen an agenda that is a culturally conservative (across ethnic lines)
I can see some logic in this as a local government #election #strategy in #srilanka. Between the @PresRajapaksa voting nationalist middle-class & traditional @officialunp voters, there isn’t much space for @MaithripalaS
— Rajit Hewagama (@rajit_h) January 18, 2018
and to place himself as the bulwark between two types of corruption – the nepotistic corruption of the Rajapaksas and the elitist corruption of the UNP (දූෂිත ප්රභුන්ගේ සංධානය).
He’s even linked the two
“Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was not in parliament to vote for the no confidence motion brought in against former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake. The former President had said that he did not bring a no confidence motion against Karunanayake.”
Without access to polling data, I have no idea if this is a successful strategy, but it does seem to me to be the best option available to him to carve an identity for his wing of the SLFP.