Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sri Lanka's burning problem: the law of primogeniture

Sri Lanka has only one burning problem to resolve: the law of primogeniture. When I last looked at this problem some resolution was needed by 2017.

Five years on, thanks to the 18th amendment to the constitution we have bought ourselves a few more years to tackle the issue. Although we are no closer today than we were in 2008 we have until 2020 or 2021, depending on when the Presidential poll will be held.

The question is: could the succession follow Ottoman lines?

Kingship in Muslim dynasties has tended instead to pass between brothers. But whose son should then inherit the throne? Ottoman sultans solved this problem by murdering their brothers.

The Ottomans believed in the survival of the fittest; every prince had an equal claim to the throne. Succession meant dispute and dispute was settled in the only way it could – through intrigue and warfare – since you couldn’t exactly file a lawsuit. It was believed that the winner (or survivor) would make the most competent and least depraved Sultan.

Sibling rivalry and open competition in a royal free market was common to the tribes of the Central Asian Steppes – the same tribes from whom the Ottomans had originated. Anyone who could claim to be the Sultan’s son – legitimate or illegitimate – was welcome to compete. Unlike their European counterparts, the Ottoman royal family did not obsess with marriages and appropriate royal blood lines, which helped them avoid inbreeding without impeding their capacity for insanity. (Taken from here)

An interesting question, is it not?


Maleficent said...

One could look at the Mahawansa to locate a few ways to solve this issue :P

Jack Point said...

I am not very familar with the text, but would welcome some appropriate quotes if you have any!

And welcome to the blog:)