Sri Lanka Daily News
January 7, 2004
Peace beneficial, says majority
by Ranga Jayasuriya
January 7, 2004
The majority of Sri Lankans believe a lasting peace will bring
peace dividends of which economic benefits are the most sought after
by the public, according to the latest opinion survey by the Centre
for Policy Alternatives (CPA).
A close to a majority (43%) believes that peace will bring a lot
of benefits and another 40% say it will bring at least some
benefits. Only 10% say that peace will bring very few benefits, the
survey titled Social Indicators have revealed. Two thousand nine
hundred and eighty people have been interviewed in the survey. When
asked who will benefit most from a final solution, the majority of
respondents (51%) say that everyone will benefit equally. Only 19
percent say that Tamils will benefits most, 16% say those affected
by the war and 8% say the majority Sinhalese will enjoy the greatest
Asked to list the benefits from peace, economic benefits (37%)
rank on the top followed by freedom from violence (35%).
The survey has also revealed that Sri Lankans are divided about
the peace process including on their willingness to compromise and
also their readiness to protest against a final agreement that they
think is unfair,
Most Sri Lankans are willing to make at least some changes to the
status quo for the sake of peace and a substantial minority is
willing to make multiple proposals, the opinion poll known as Social
Opinion is divided on the topic of federalism. However, with
little support for asymmetric federalism, amnesty for political
crimes or a rotating presidency.
Forty four percent supported an increase of powers for the
regional governments even if those of the government at the centre
have to be decreased whereas an equal percentage disagree with the
proposal 21 percent vehemently.
Only 18 percent expressed agreement to a form of asymmetric
federalism in contrast to massive 68 percent disagreeing including a
strong 36 percent.
A Rotating Presidency - where the President for one term will be
someone from one ethnic group and the next term by someone from
another ethnic group-enjoys only 24 percent support while 65 percent
A Majority of respondents support the increase of the rights of
local minorities, even if the majority disagrees. Only 12 percent
disagree or strongly disagree with the proposal.
A substantial majority of citizens also say that for the sake of
peace, they are willing to accept some form of proportional
representation based on ethnicity in Parliament.
There is broad support for each ethnic group to have the right to
elect a certain number of members to the Parliament. In contrast to
the massive 62% consent, only 26 disagree and 12 are undecided.
Overall two-thirds of Sri Lankans either embrace multiple
proposals for peace or indicate they are willing to accept (i.e.
unwilling to protest), a final agreement even if they do not think
that is fair.
Support for the peace proposals is predictably varying based on
ethnicity. The majority of Sinhala respondents oppose most peace
proposals while the majority of Tamils, Up Country Tamils and
Muslims support the majority of proposals.
The strongest opposition to the peace proposals are concentrated
not in the South, but in the North Central and North West regions
bordering LTTE controlled area.