1. The Key Players
A senior minister under the then-president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet, Maithripala Sirisena had stunned the entire country by crossing over to the Opposition in December 2014. The joint Opposition led by Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga and Ranil Wickremesinghe declared that Rajapaksa’s once-trusted aide Sirisena would take on the strongman.
In the Presidential elections held the following year, Sirisena defeated Rajapaksa. The United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) came together to form a coalition ‘national unity’ government with Sirisena as the president and Wickremesinghe as the prime minister.
An elected government was in place, for the first time after the bitter civil war. At that point, the media dubbed the elections an event in which Sri Lanka was experiencing ‘real democracy.’ However, this lasted only until 26 October 2018.