African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 403

Full Length Research Paper

Authoritarian trends and their continuity in Sri Lankan politics: A study of operationalizing of authoritarianism from 2005 to 2015 Period

Upul Abeyrathne*
  • Upul Abeyrathne*
  • Department of Public Policy, University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka.
  • Google Scholar
Upali Pannilage
  • Upali Pannilage
  • Department of Sociology, University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka.
  • Google Scholar
Nelum Ranawaka
  • Nelum Ranawaka
  • Conflict, Peace and Development Studies Project, University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 07 October 2016
  •  Accepted: 21 November 2016
  •  Published: 31 January 2017


This study talks about the authoritarian trends and their continuity in Sri Lankan Politics since 2005. Sri Lanka was considered a model Third World Democracy at the initial phase of political independence from colonial rule. However, the country has been converted into a constitutionally established authoritarian type regime through constitution making exercise. This trend was increased in galloping speed with Mahinda Rajapakshe regimes since 2005 to 2015. The defeat of Rajapakshe regime in an unexpected electoral defeat where election was calculated as an opportunity to extend the regime with the possibility of eroding democratic values forever made the possibility of democracy in the country a clear sign. The regime went beyond authoritarianism type and embraced many features of a totalitarian type regime. However, totalitarian trends long last event after initial defeat of such regimes. This trend remains largely unexplored and non-theorized within the Sri Lankan scholarship. The objective of the present study was to fill the afoermentioned gap in the scholarship. The methodology of the study has been the observations made by the three authors for the said period and they have been critically reflected upon and presented. The study concluded that the biggest political challenge ahead of Sri Lanka is to do away with the ethnic consciousness nurtured among the majority Sinhalese as a political tool of maintaining totalitarian culture and those legacies need to be address in harnessing democratic culture

Key words: Authoritarianism, totalitarian, Mahinda Rajapakshe, Sri Lanka, Third World totalitarian.