Sirisena Appoints Left-Liberal Reginald Cooray as Northern Province Governor

Published: 14th February 2016 07:45 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th February 2016 08:22 AM   |  A+A-

Reginald Cooray

COLOMBO: In a progressive step welcomed by Tamil leaders, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday appointed Reginald Cooray, an acclaimed leftist liberal and a veteran Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) politician, as Governor of the Tamil-majority Northern Province.

The 1947-born Cooray succeeds former civil servant HMGS Palihakkara, who voluntarily demitted office last week on completion of his short term fixed by an  agreement between him and the Sirisena government.

Cooray was Minister of Minor Crops Export Promotion during the Rajapaksa regime. The Kalutara district politician had also been chief minister of the Western Province twice. He did not contest the parliamentary elections held in August 2015 saying that he lacked the financial resources to contest successfully.

Cooray’s re-entry into political life as Governor of the problematic Northern Province is believed to be due to the efforts of former President Chandrika Kumaratunga who heads a committee to bring about reconciliation in the island nation.

Tamils Welcome

Cooray will have the support of the Tamil National Alliance  (TNA), which has a majority in the Northern Provincial Council (NPC).  “He is an appropriate choice. He has very liberal views,” TNA chief R.Sampanthan told Express. The  Minister of National Coexistence, Mano Ganeshan, said: “Cooray understands the Tamil question.”

A staunch defender of minority rights, Cooray told The Sunday Leader: “ In a democracy, all decisions are being taken by the majority, but the majority is not always right.”

Tackling Wigneswaran

However, despite his acceptability among the Tamils in general and the TNA in particular, Cooray may not find it smooth sailing in the North, given the radicalization of its  politics by Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran, who is leading a group named Tamil Peoples’ Council against the official leadership  of the TNA.

Cooray is taking up his post also at a time when the relationship between Chief Minister Wigneswaran and the Government in Colombo is at a new low.  The soft-spoken and dovish out- going Governor Palihakkara, had left the province last week without fanfare, virtually ignored by Chief Minister Wigneswaran. The CM made only a brief appearance at the party given by Palihakkara to say good-bye to his colleagues in the province.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp