Democracy in Sri Lanka had seemed doomed as the presidencies of J.R. Jayewardene and Ranasinghe Premadasa arbitrarily banned opposition parties, severely muzzled the media, and routinely used death squads, torture, and kidnappings in the two civil conflicts against the LTTE and JVP. The UNP had simply cancelled the 1983 parliamentary elections; its control of the media led it to victory in the 1988 and 1989 elections.
The 1994 election did not live up to its great hopes. The PA government was unable to come to an agreement with the LTTE, and ended up prosecuting war just as brutally as its UNP predecessor. The Executive Presidency, which Kumaratunga had promised to abolish, remains as powerful as ever.