The paper explores the conditions under which coalition governments have become an enduring feature in the politics of regime formation in Sri Lanka.
The following set of questions is explored in this paper: What factors have made coalition politics a recurring dimension of regime formation in post-independence Sri Lanka? How have the electoral systems contributed to the conditions of possibility for coalition formations? Has the availability of coalition option widened the space for participation in governance for small parties and ‘outsiders’ to the mainstream? What are the dynamics of party politics that are revealed in the politics of coalition regimes? Finally, has the coalition governance provided opportunities for ethnic minority parties to influence the processes of public policy making?
Since political independence in 1948, only two administrations, the UNP government of 1952-1956 and the SLFP government of 1960-1964, did not take the character of a coalition. The paper brings out some key trends that emerge out of the experience of coalition politics in Sri Lanka. In Conclusion, the paper (a) reviews the overall impact of coalition politics on the trajectories of Sri Lanka’s contemporary political change and (b) seeks an explanation of the continuity of coalition politics.
Sri Lankan Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences Vol.1(2) Oct 2009