Lutte au sommet au Sri Lanka

NEW DELHI – Les deux hommes considérés comme des héros dans leur pays et qui, en qualité de président et de chef des armées, ont permis de mettre fin à la longue et brutale guerre civile contre les Tigres tamouls, sont aujourd’hui devenus des adversaires politiques. Quel que soit le candidat qui remportera l’élection présidentielle du 26 janvier, il devra radicalement modifier la trajectoire de cette petite île-nation, mais stratégiquement placée – et faire d’un pays en guerre depuis plus d’un quart de siècle, un pays en paix par le biais d’une réconciliation entre les ethnies et le partage du pouvoir.

Le Sri Lanka, depuis son accession à l’indépendance en 1948, a souffert des tensions entre une population à majorité sri lankaise et une minorité tamoule, qui représente actuellement 12 pour cent des 21,3 millions d’habitants de l’île. La rivalité politique qui oppose les deux hommes, qui cherchent chacun à se faire valoir comme le véritable artisan de la victoire sur la rébellion tamoule, divise aujourd’hui le pays.

L’antagonisme entre le président Mahinda Rajapakse et le général Sarath Fonseka, aujourd’hui à la retraite, couve depuis des mois. À peine l’armée sri lankaise avait-elle écrasé les Tigres tamouls – qui avaient établi un État de fait dans le nord-est du pays pendant plus de vingt ans – que Rajapakse relevait Fonseka de ses fonctions pour le nommer au poste essentiellement honorifique de chef d’état-major de la Défense.

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