Appendix B. Political Parties and Groups -- Sri Lanka
- All Ceylon Tamil Congress
- also known as the Tamil Congress.
Founded in 1944 to champion the cause of the Tamils against
Sinhalese Buddhist domination. A faction broke away in 1949 to
form the more aggressive Tamil Federal Party.
- Ceylon Equal Society Party (Lanka Sama Samaja
Trotskyite-oriented party founded in 1935. Though touted as the
world's only successful Trotskyite party, in recent years the
LSSP has been considered politically spent.
- Ceylon Indian Congress
- founded in 1939. Political group
representing Indian Tamils that sought to revive Buddhism.
- Ceylon Workers' Congress
- a minority-oriented party which enjoyed
the support of the Indian Tamils and the Sri Lanka Muslim
Congress in the late 1980s.
- Communist Party of Sri Lanka (CPSL)
- began as a Stalinist faction
of the LSSP, but was later expelled and founded as a separate
party in 1943, remaining faithful to the Communist Party of the
- Deshapremi Janatha Viyaparaya (DJV)
- Patriotic Liberation
Organization--emerged in 1987 as a splinter group of the
- Eelam National Liberation Front (ENLF)
- a united front organization formed in March 1985 by the LTTE,
EPRLF, TELO, and EROS, which became largely inoperative by
mid-1986 when LTTE quit, although the other groups sought to form
a front without LTTE participation.
- Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF)
- a guerrilla group that emerged in the early 1980s, part of
- Eelam Revolutionary Organization of Students (EROS)
Tamil guerrilla group that emerged in the early 1980s, part of
- Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP--People's Liberation
- insurgent extremist political group founded in the late 1960s
Rohana Wijeweera. A Maoist and primarily rural Sinhalese youth
movement based in southern Sri Lanka, it initially sympathized
with the "oppressed" of both the Tamil and Sinhalese
communities, but by the early 1980s, became increasingly a
Sinhalese nationalist organization opposing any compromise with
the Tamil insurgency.
- Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
- strongest of Tamil
separatist groups, founded in 1972 when Tamil youth espousing a
Marxist ideology and an independent Tamil state established a
group called the Tamil New Tigers; name changed in 1976.
Competitors include People's Liberation Organization of Tamil
Eelam, Tamil Eelam Liberation Army, and the Tamil Eelam
Liberation Organization. Membership generally drawn from the
Karava or fisherman caste. By late 1986 LTTE had eliminated TELO
and established itself as the dominant spokesman of the Tamil
- New Equal Society Party (Nava Sama Samaja Party--NSSP)
breakaway faction of the LSSP.
- People's Democratic Party (PDP--Mahajana Prajathanthra)
Sinhalese, founded in 1977 by six members of the SLFP.
- People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE, also
- insurgent political group with large percentage of members
belonging to elite Vellala caste; a rival of the LTTE, from whom
it broke away in 1981 claiming a purer form of Marxist
- People's United Front (Mahajana Eksath Peramuna--MEP)
party founded by Dinesh P.R. Gunawardene in 1955 that has
attracted Sinhalese support with its appeals to militant Buddhist
and Sinhala chauvinist sentiments. Originally opposed to the UNP,
it is basically an SLFP-Marxist coalition.
- Sinhala Maha Sabha
- Great Council of the Sinhalese. It was
founded in 1937 to represent the interest of Sinhala-language
speakers in the Ceylon National Congress and to mobilize popular
support for the liberation of the country from foreign rule.
- Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)
- first major non-Marxist left-of-
center political party to oppose the UNP; founded in July 1951
when S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike's left-of-center bloc split with D.S.
Senanayake and seceded to form the SLFP.
- Sri Lanka People's Party (Sri Lanka Mahajana
political party formed in 1984 by a daughter of Sirimavo
Bandaranaike, Chandrika Kumaratunge, and her husband Vijay
Kumaratunge, who claimed that the original SLFP, under the
leadership of Bandaranaike's son, Anura, was excessively right
wing and had become an instrument of the Jayewardene
- Tamil Eelam Army (TEA)
- insurgent group.
- Tamil Eelam Liberation Army (TELA)
- insurgent group.
- Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO)
- guerrilla group
decimated in 1986 by repeated LTTE attacks.
- Tamil Federal Party
- also known as the Federal Party. Formally
established in December 1949. Competitor of the more conciliatory
Tamil Congress, also known as the All Ceylon Tamil Congress, the
party desired a federal system of government and the right to
political autonomy--an independent Tamil state. Renamed the Tamil
United Liberation Front (TULF) in 1971.
- Tamil New Tigers
- guerrilla group, formed in 1972, that abandoned
the political process and geared itself for violence. The New
Tigers espoused Marxist ideology and claimed to represent the
oppressed of all ethnic groups despite its obvious ethnic
affiliation; see also LTTE.
- Tamil Tigers
- Tamil separatist underground of rival and sometimes
violently hostile groups based in the Northern and Eastern
provinces and known collectively as Tamil Tigers.
- Tamil United Front
- founded in May 1972 as a reaction against the
1972 constitution, a coalition of Tamil interest groups and legal
parties including the Tamil Congress and the Federal Party;
united by the goal of Tamil autonomy and espousing nonviolent
means, called the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) in 1976.
Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF)--political party spawned by
the Tamil United Front.
- Three Stars
- insurgent Tamil coalition.
- United Front (Samagi Peramuna)
- three-party political coalition
(LSSP, CPSL, and SLFP), formed in 1968 by Sirimavo Bandaranaike
to prepare for the 1970 general election and to oppose the
- United National Party
- conservative, umbrella party founded by
Don Stephen Senanayake in 1946 as a partnership of many disparate
groups--including the Ceylon National Congress, the Sinhala Maha
Sabha, and the Muslim League. Political party in power in Sri
Lanka for ten years beginning in February 1948 when the new
constitution went into effect, and again from 1977 to 1988;
nickname is "uncle-nephew party" because of kinship ties among
the party's top leadership.