A Powerful President
President Mahinda Rajapaksa won a landslide victory in the January 2010 elec ons which he had called a er declaring victory in the 25 years long civil war against the Tamil separa sts. General Sarath Fonseka, who led the final campaign to crush the Tamil Tigers, stood against Rajapaksa in the 2010 elec ons and challenged the results. Soon a er, Gen. Fonseka was arrested and charged with a variety of offences ranging from harboring deserters to treason. He was found guilty on several counts but was released from prison in May 2012. The terms of his release prevented him from running for public office for seven years. President Rajapaksa further consolidated his grip on power when his ruling coali on won an overwhelming majority in the parliamentary elec ons in April 2010. Later that year, a cons tu onal amendment was made to allow Rajapaksa to stand for unlimited terms in office. The opposi on accuses him of moving the country towards dictatorship. In 2011, Rajapaksa’s government scrapped the emergency laws that had been in place for much of the past four decades. However, it sparked an interna onal outcry by introducing new laws that restored many of the controversial powers granted to authori es under the state of emergency. Growing tension between the government and the judiciary culminated in the impeachment and dismissal of Chief Jus ce Shirani Bandaranayake in January 2013, in what cri cs described as a poli cally mo vated move intended to curtail the independence of the judiciary.