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Sirisena-Rajapaksa combination: chinese puzzle of Sri Lankan politics

(NIDAHASA News) Sri Lankan political landscape is becoming a Chinese puzzle after President Maithripala Sirisena's United People Freedom Alliance's (UPFAA) decision to grand nomination for ousted president Mahinda Rajapaksa in upcoming general election.

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(NIDAHASA News) Sri Lankan political landscape is becoming a Chinese puzzle after President Maithripala Sirisena's United People Freedom Alliance's (UPFAA) decision to grand nomination for ousted president Mahinda Rajapaksa in upcoming general election.

Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), one of main allies of Sirisena in his presidential run, announced that they are leaving UPFA to contest separately.

A decade long Rajapaksa regime was overthrown by Sirisena in January's presidential election. Sirisena contested the election as the 'common candidate' of a large coalition of political parties and civil groups who bid to end the Rajapaksa rule. Then-opposition United National Party was the main voter base for Sirisena's victory.

Ruling United National Party (UNP) officially maintains a silence over nomination scandal of their main rival. “We are not interested about nominations of other parties. Let people decide on whom they want to elect.” UNP leader said on his tweeter account.

The ground level of UNP however is clearly destructed by unexpected “betrayal” of president Sirisena.

“If president Sirisena joins hands with Rajapaksa, it would make politics of this country nothing but a big lie.” told Uva Province Chief Minister (UNP) Harin Fernando. “If it happens, i will say leave politics for good.”

Sirisena did not publicly acknowledged or denied his general secretary's announcement about granting nominations for 69-year-old former president. However, addressing a public rally, he promised not to revoke ‘silent revolution’ carried out in January's presidential election.

“I did not enter politics randomly or abruptly – my experiences in politics spans close to 49 years.” Sirisena said. “I will not let any party decision tarnish or harm the transformations that occurred in this country after January 8 – I will protect it.”

Meanwhile some reports claim that President is planning form an alliance with UNP and former president Chandrika Kumarathunga against Rajapaksa. According to those reports, Sirisena-Ranil-Chandrika group will contest the election as an alliance with the “Swan” as the symbol- their symbol for the Presidential election. Some other reports say that Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) is considering a breakaway from UPFA.

Rajapaksa, who loose January election by around 500,000 votes still remain popular among majority Sinhala Buddhists, specially in rural areas and stands a good chance in August election if backed by a SLFP-led coalition.

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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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