Not Trusted : Political Parties

Not Trusted : Political Parties

Public Trust in Democratic Institutions Hits Record Low in Sri Lanka

A recent survey conducted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has brought to light a concerning trend: public trust in parliament and political parties in Sri Lanka has plummeted to unprecedented levels. According to the survey titled ‘Survey on Democracy and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka,’ which engaged 1,350 participants across 25 districts in January, only 22 percent of the populace expressed trust in parliament, while a mere 19 percent showed confidence in political parties.

Shifting Attitudes Toward Authoritarianism

The survey not only underscores the decline in trust in democratic institutions but also reveals a noteworthy shift in attitudes toward authoritarianism among Sri Lankans. While institutions such as the Army and Courts are regarded with the highest trust, the police, although relatively trusted, fall short in comparison.

Decline in Trust Over the Decade

The erosion of trust in legislative institutions and political parties is particularly stark when viewed over the past decade. In 2011, a significant 63% of Sri Lankans had faith in parliament, but by 2024, this figure had dramatically decreased to a mere 22%. Similarly, public trust in political parties has dwindled from 56% in 2011 to a dismal 19% in 2024.

Rising Support for Authoritarianism

Alarming trends indicate a growing acceptance of authoritarian rule among segments of the population, with approximately 1 in 10 Sri Lankans expressing a preference for such governance. This sentiment, notably on the rise since 2018, reflects a concerning departure from democratic principles.

CPA’s Insight

The CPA, a leading policy think-tank headquartered in Colombo, underscores that this surge in authoritarian leanings coincides with the tumultuous political landscape during the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government in 2018. Despite the majority still favoring democratic governance, the survey underscores a worrisome sentiment suggesting a preference for authoritarian regimes under certain circumstances.

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