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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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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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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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President: Rajapaksa's not going to be the Prime Minister

(NIDAHASA News) President Maithripala Sirisena, in a hard-hitting letter, reaffirmed that he do not want his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa to become the next Prime Minister.

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(NIDAHASA News) President Maithripala Sirisena, in a hard-hitting letter, reaffirmed that he do not want his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa to become the next Prime Minister.

In a letter sent to former president and Kurunegala district parliament candidate just 4 days ahead of the lection, Sirisena says he do not hope Rajapaksa to become the Preme Minister under any election scenario.

“If the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) secured at least 113 seats, I believe the premiership should go to a senior leader who did not have an opportunity.”

There are senior like Chamal Rajapaksa, Susil Premajayantha, Athauda Seneviratne, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, John Seneviratne and A.H.M. Fowzie to pick up as the Prime Minister, Sirisena said.

In an earlier speech, President revealed that he was forced to accept nominations for his former rival to avoid dividing the party. However he assured Rajapaksa would not win the election.

Despite their leaders stance however, most of the UPFA top leaders, especially those who from small parties within the coalition, carried out election campaign with Rajapaksa as their de facto Prime Minister candidate. In his five-page-long letter, President accuses Rajapaksa of being a ‘prisoner’ of smaller constituent parties within the UPFA, effectively destroying the SLFP.

“You must take the responsibility for making the glorious SLFP, a party with a 64-year history, hostage to the petty agendas of small parties and groups,” the letter says.

The UPFA Chairman accuses Rajapaksa of distaining ethnic minorities and transforming it in to a party that only represents Sinhala-Buddhists.

“During your nine-year leadership, you have transformed it into a party that turns it's back to the pluralism and social realities.” Sirisena says that Rajapksa lost January Presidential election as a result of “communal flames” he himself had set alight.

“It is hilarious that you have started to visit temples around the country along with media coverage following your election loss,” President says Rajapaka's political behavior and statements however indicate his burning hatred and egoism.

Rajapaksa's decade-long regime falls to once his own cabinet minister Maithripala Sirisena, snap presidential election held on January. Several ption polls shows that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) leads the upcoming election. However the former president still remains popular among country's Sinhala Buddhist ethnic majority and could pose a serious challenge to UNP especially in in southern rural areas.

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