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Rajapaksa tries dirty tricks in a last bid to stay in power

(NIDAHASA News) While Sri Lanka's newly elected president Maithirpla Sirisena calls for a all party government, former president Mahinda Rajapaksa tries to regain the power in his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), likely with the intention of toppling new interim government which promised to carryout massive reformations within hundred days.

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(NIDAHASA News) While Sri Lanka's newly elected president Maithirpla Sirisena calls for a all party government, former president Mahinda Rajapaksa tries to regain the power in his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), likely with the intention of toppling new interim government which promised to carryout massive reformations within hundred days.

After running unsuccessfully for an unprecedented third presidential term, Rajapaksa announced on Friday (09) that he is leaving the office to allow a smooth power transition. However according to fresh allegations from opposition, the incumbent announced his “dignified departure,” only after all his illicit plans to remain in power have been failed.

“Rajapaksa's plan for a last minute military coup was failed because military and police heads refused to support it,” United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera said.

Samaraweera told media that the government will investigate in to Rajapaksa's attempted coup.

Soon after vacating the office, Rajapaksa started his hate campaign, where he addressed mini rallies in his hometown to condemn the overwhelming support new president received from minority groups, claiming most of Sirisena's voters are from the areas belongs to “Tamil Eelam,” the separate state Tamil Tigers fought for. Rajapaksa got near-zero support from ethnic minorities, but secured higher popularity in areas dominated by Sinhala Buddhist Majority.

In Rajapaksa's election propaganda, his camp used the military victory as a main campaign theme. Six years back, under Rajapaksa's rule, government forces crushed separatist Tamil Tigers and killed its leader, ending a three-decade long civil war. Throughout the election battle, Rajapaksa camp carried out a fear campaign accusing opposition of being a proxy of Tamil separatist movement, a charge opposition categorically denied.

Hailed by the Sinhala Buddhist majority as a “king,” the power hungry incumbent now tries to win their sympathy, probably in a bid to become the Prime Minister by topple the newly formed government.

In response to Rajapaksa's unorthodox power struggle, a group of SLFP parliamentarians called a press conference this evening (11), to declare that party's central committee, with majority votes, has decide to appoint Maithiripala Sirisena as the chairman of party, replacing Rajapaksa. But Rajapaksa managed to reconfirm his position in a matter of hours, holding another presser along with SLFP's secretary and several other MPs.

Technically Rajapaksa, if secured his party leadership, can overthrow new government anytime, as his SLFP and its alliance still holds majority seats in the parliament. If succeeded, the ex-President's plan would effectively cripple the hundred-day reformation program of new government, which aims to abolish executive precedency and to establish an independent body to investigate corruptions.

President Rajapaksa and his family members were accused of massive corruptions unparalleled in Sri Lanka's post-independent history. One of President's brothers, Basil Rajapaksa, a powerful minister with huge corruption charges against him, has reportedly left for US with his family this morning, where all of them hold the citizenship.

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Political

Sri Lanka should accept democratic values; ex-president says

(NIDAHASA News) Sri Lanka's ex president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga says that the government and people should uphold democratic values in order to protect the country from international interference.

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(NIDAHASA News) Sri Lanka's ex president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga says that the government and people should uphold democratic values in order to protect the country from international interference.

“If Sri Lanka wants to save itself in Geneva, the Sri Lankan Government and its people have to conduct themselves in accordance with universally accepted democratic norms and standards. They will save themselves automatically if they do this. That is how we can help them,” Kumaratunga told media soon after her meeting with Leader of Opposition Ranil Wikramasinghe at his office yesterday (11).

The focus of discussion was on her recent initiative on religious harmony in the country. However, no political matters were discussed in the meeting with Opposition Leader, Kumaratunga said.

In recent months, Chandrika was working with South Asian Policy & Research Institute (SAPRI) to promote religious harmony. SAPRI is a non-government think tank where religious leaders and intellectuals came together to work on recommendations for achieving religious harmony in Sri Lanka.

Kumaratunga said she has also sought a similar meeting with President Mahinda Rajapakse but was to receive a response.

“I am grateful to the UNP (United National Party) leader for giving us time for the discussion. We have received responses from some government ministers who are willing to meet us. We will later brief the public on the importance of interfaith coexistence and how this will help the country,” she said.

She noted that it was important that the issue of attacks of religious minorities figured in a draft resolution on Sri Lanka presented to the UN Human Rights Council currently meeting in Geneva.

“It is important, yes…because whether it is the U.S. or any [other] country is not important. What is important is that it has been presented to the United Nations organisations and its relevant authorities.” she said.

Meanwhile Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said his party would support Kumaratunga and SAPRI in its efforts to create unity among all religions in Sri Lanka.

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Political

National unity govt sworn in; opposition leader from TNA

(NIDAHASA News) Sri Lanka's new cabinet sworn in today (04), forming the first ever national unity government in country's 67 year old parliamentary history. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) became the main opposition party, making an ethnic Tamil the opposition leader after 32 years.

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(NIDAHASA News) Sri Lanka's new cabinet sworn in today (04), forming the first ever national unity government in country's 67 year old parliamentary history. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) became the main opposition party, making an ethnic Tamil the opposition leader after 32 years.

The new government led by Prime minister Ranil Wickramesinghe includes ministers from both main political parties. 43 ministers today took oath before the president; few more to sworn in in coming days.

Following the parileament election, leader of United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) President Maithripala Sirisena and United National Party (UNP) leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe came to an agreement to govern together for at least two years. Their aim will be to face together war crimes allegations originating from the decades-long civil war that ended six years ago and to secure enough votes in Parliament to adopt a new constitution with political reforms and power sharing with ethnic minority Tamils.

As two main parties form the government together, TNA, the third-largest force with 16 seats in the 225-member assembly becomes the main opposition party.

R. Sampanthan is the first parliamentarian from the ethnic minority to lead the opposition since 1983, when Tamil legislators resigned en masse to protest against a statute that compelled them to denounce separatism.

A small breakaway faction of UPFA which still remain loyal to former president, MP Mahinda Rajapaka chosen to remain in opposition. They opposed Sampanthan’s appointment, arguing they should lead the opposition. However Speaker Karu Jayasuriya dismissed their claim, as he did not receive such request from UPFA leadership.

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Political

UNP wins election; Voters say no to Rajapaksa's comeback bid

(NIDAHASA News) Ranil Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) secured majority in yesterday's (17) parliament poll, ending former President Rajapaksa's comeback dream.

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(NIDAHASA News) Ranil Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) secured majority in yesterday's (17) parliament poll, ending former President Rajapaksa's comeback dream.

“A majority has mandated to continue the Jan. 8 revolution,” Ranil Wickremesinghe said in an statement, a referring to the presidential election earlier this year that ended Rajapaksa's decade-long regime.

UNP secured 106 out of 225 seats in the parliament; Rajapaksa's United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) got 95 seats while left-wing People's Liberation Front (JVP) securing 6. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) alias ITAK got 16 seats.

However UNP will have to seek support from other parties to form a majority government with 113 seats in hand.

The first election to hold after fall of Rajapaksa regime, which was accused of heavily abusing their power, this was seen as the most peaceful election in recent history.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, who lost January's snap presidential poll to once his minister Mathiripala Sirisena, was hoping to comeback as the Prime Minister. Sirisena was force to grand nominations to former president due to the pressure inside the party, but openly stated his disgust over Rajapaksa's return.

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