Brothers Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapaksa convincingly won the Sri Lankan parliamentary elections with their party on Friday. The country’s prime minister and president acquired a two-thirds majority, making it easy for the opposition to be sidelined if the duo wants to expand their power through constitutional changes.
President Gotabaya (71) in particular would be keen on such a constitutional amendment. The younger brother has repeatedly complained about the restrictions he has run into since he took office last year. He would like to give himself more power and remove the restriction on the number of terms of office he can stay.
Experts say the proposal could create tension between Gotabaya and his elder brother Mahinda, 74, who was president for ten years and is now entering his second term as prime minister. The older brother is in danger of having to surrender some of his powers in a conflict.
The opposition can offer little resistance to a possible amendment to the constitution. The party of the Rajapaksa brothers, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), won 150 of the 225 available seats. More than 75 percent of Sri Lankans cast their votes, more than was initially expected.
Brothers immensely popular thanks to tackling the corona crisis and recovery from attacks
The brothers owe their popularity in part to how they averted a large-scale corona crisis in Sri Lanka. In addition, their approach after the terrorist attacks on various hotels and churches on Easter Sunday last year has certainly not done any harm.
President Gotabaya promised to restore security to the country after the attacks killed 269 people.
The parliamentary elections were originally scheduled for April, but were postponed twice by the COVID-19 pandemic. Namal Rajapaksa, Mahinda’s son, and three other members of the influential family are believed to hold other important positions in the government.