Room: 
Surrey Suite 1
Time Slot: 
Tuesday 22nd March 13:30 - 15:00
Panel Chair: 
  • Professor Katharine Adeney (University of Nottingham)
Panel Members: 
  • Professor Neil DeVotta (Wake Forest University)
  • Dr Hugo Gorringe (University of Edinburgh)
  • Dr Chaminda Weerawardhana (Queen's University Belfast)
  • Dr Chinnaya Suri Kondaveeti (University of Hyderabad, India)

This panel explores elections and political parties in South Aia. Two papers, those by Neil DeVotta and Chaminda Weerawardena, explore the implications of recent elections in Sri Lanka, in particular the results of the 2015 election. DeVotta's paper paper analyzes the causes that led to Sri Lanka’s course correction and what this means for the country and the Indo-Pacific region going forward, and argues that it has positive repercussions for democracy in Sri Lanka and significance for regional dynamics. Weerawardhana's paper explores similar events in Sri Lanka including the 2010 parliamentary election, the 2015 presidential campaign and the 2015 general election campaign in Sri Lanka. Weerawardhana explores these events in relation to the politics of majoritarian nationalism in Sri Lanka. Weerewardhana argues that despite the semblance of majoritarian nationalist hardliners becoming more accommodative, the new changes conceal a subtler agenda to further maintain majoritarian nationalists’ influence at the highest levels of government. The other two papers on the panel discuss political parties in India. Gorringe's paper draws on research with the VCK to raise a number of key questions about representation and democracy, focusing on two themes: firstly, the challenges faced by smaller parties in national politics, and secondly, the efficacy of representation in the national parliament by VCK's leader, Thirumavalavan. Finally, the paper by Suri also explores smaller parties in national politics, particularly their increasing prominence from 2014. It focuses on the BJP's strategy to forge alliance with smaller parties, as well as the motivation and strategies of small regional parties in forging alliances with national parties, sidestepping the big regional parties at the state level. It concludes with some observations as to the signficance for electoral politics in India.