Sri Lanka drifting towards dictatorship: civil society

Mar 05, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan civil society groups Wednesday warned that the government’s contempt for the rule of law and the constitution was bringing the country into disrepute and could cause economic harm. The Organisation of Professional Associations said way President Mahinda Rajapakse and the government was ignoring established norms of good governance and interfering with anti-corruption institutions augured ill for the future.

“President Rajapakse’s intentional violation of the constitution is an impeachable offence,” said Elmo Perera, an OPA member, a joint media conference with a number of other civil society groups.

The government has come under increasing criticism for rampant corruption, disregard for the rule of law by high-ranking government ministers and attacks on journalists and other critics.

The civil society groups which included the Sri Lankan branch of Transparency International, a corruption watch dog, warned that the government was becoming increasing intolerant of criticism and was heading towards a dictatorship.

Sunanda Deshapriya of the Free Media Movement said it was the government’s own abuse of power and disregard for the rule of law that was bringing Sri Lank