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Frontline Socialist Party (Sri Lanka)

Sri Lanka: Behind Maithripala Sirisena's defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa

For more coverage of Sri Lanka, click HERE.

By Chris Slee

January 12, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Maithripala Sirisena has taken office as president of Sri Lanka, after winning the election held on January 8. Sirisena obtained 51.28% of the vote, defeating incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who got 47.58%.

Seventeen other candidates got a total of 1.14% of the votes between them. Duminda Nagamuwa, representing the Frontline Socialist Party, got 0.08%; Siritunga Jayasuriya of the United Socialist Party got 0.07%; and Sundaram Mahendran of the NSSP (New Socialist Party) got 0.03%.

Rajapaksa had been elected president in 2005, and re-elected in 2010. In his first term he presided over the most brutal phase of the war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The LTTE was formed in the 1970s to fight for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka. It was created by Tamil youth in response to discrimination against Tamils and the violent repression of peaceful protests. From small beginnings it grew into a powerful armed force.

Sri Lanka: The politics of the Frontline Socialist Party -- interview with Premakumar Gunaratnam

Premakumar Gunaratnam. Photo by Peter Boyle.

For more coverage of Sri Lanka and the Tamil struggle, click HERE.

August 8, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Premakumar Gunaratnam, an ethnic Tamil from Sri Lanka, who now has Australian citizenship, returned to his home country in September 2011 to help organise the launch of a new left party, the Frontline Socialist Party (FLSP), a major breakaway from the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP, People’s Liberation Front). He had been a JVP activist for three decades and a member of its underground political bureau since 1994. In an extensive interview with Peter Boyle for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal and Green Left Weekly, Gunaratnam reported how he was abducted by a group of armed men between 4 am and 5 am on April 7, just two days before the scheduled launch of the new party.

Sri Lanka: Lionel Bopage, former JVP general secretary, on new left party, Tamil rights and state repression

Lionel Bopage, former JVP general secretary.

April 17, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) was launched in Colombo, Sri Lanka, amidst international media outcry about the illegal abduction of four of its activists in the lead up to the launch by security forces. Two of these abductees, Premakumar Gunaratnam (an Australian citizen) and Dimuth Atygalle (a prominent woman leader of the group) have since been released. Gunaratnam, who has been deported to Australia, says he was tortured before being released. Two other FSP activists are still being illegally detained.

Sri Lanka: Will the new Frontline Socialist Party revive the left?

By Niel Wijethilaka and K. Govindan (Nava Sama Samaja Party)

April 14, 2012 -- Dbsjeyaraj.com -- More than 5000 people packed Colombo’s Sugathadasa stadium (photo above) for the inaugural conference of the Peratugami Samajawadi Pakshaya (Frontline Socialist Party, FSP) on April 9, 2012. Most were members and sympathisers of this new left party – a breakaway from the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (Peoples’ Liberation Front, JVP); but many representatives of other radical left parties, left intellectuals and progressive social activists were also in attendance. The emergence and consolidation of the FSP is an important and hopeful development for the revival of peoples’ movements in Sri Lanka in the post-war era, following decades of retreat of the labour and left movements.

Underlining the internationalism of the new party, and its understanding of the relationship between national and global struggles against capitalism, the convention was dominated by speeches and messages from international guests[1] and representatives of FSP branches in England, France and Italy. Greetings were also delivered by left groups within Sri Lanka, mainly of Trotskyist and Maoist lineage, including Vickramabahu Karunarathne on behalf of the Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP).

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