By Shyam Tekwani

The denouement came with big screaming headlines, “Sri Lanka’s President Flees country on a military jet.” For the youth and women-led ‘Janatha Aragalaya’ (People’s Struggle), like so many in the island nation, the political obituary of the Rajapaksa clan-led government, in a manner so undignified, is seen as the first step in their months-long demand for good governance.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the 73-year-old retired lieutenant colonel, had built his reputation on being efficient and ruthless as de facto head of the military, under his elder brother President Mahinda Rajapaksa, by exterminating the Tamil separatist movement after 26 years of civil war in 2009.

Trounced out of power as a corrupt and authoritarian regime in 2015 after a decade at the helm, the Rajapaksa clan bid its time. History was on their side. The sparring bunch of disparate bedfellows that formed the coalition government would disintegrate, sooner than later, under the weight of their competing ambitions. The Easter attacks in March 2019 provided that opportunity.

Professor Shyam Tekwani is a professor at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies. The views expressed in this article are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of DKI APCSS, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.”

Photo Credit: AntanO