Sinhala nationalism, long an obstacle to the resolution of Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict, is again driving political developments on the island. Nationalist parties opposed to any significant devolution of power to Tamil areas of the north and east and to negotiations with the Tamil Tigers help set President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s agenda. The government takes a hardline stance, responding in part to opposition to the flawed 2002-2006 ceasefire and peace process.

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