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article imageSri Lankan President wants an early election amid popularity Special

By Andrew Moran     Nov 23, 2009 in World
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa called for an early election on Monday hoping that his popularity will increase his chances of winning re-election.
After ending a 30-year civil but being pressured from the international community to release hundreds of thousands of Tamils from internal displacement camps, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa wants an early election because of his popularity that could give win him a six-year term, according to the Associated Press.
The President met with the United Peoples Freedom Alliance and his political allies and told them that he would seek a re-election bid two years prior to the end of his term but he is facing tough competition from former army chief General Sarath Fonseka, who is expected to lead a coalition of opposition parties.
Media Minister Anura Yapa told reports, according to Hindustan Times, “This morning the president met with all party leaders (of the ruling coalition) and decided that the Presidential election would be held early next year.”
Recent local election victories give Rajapaksa’s coalition control of all eight provincial assemblies. Any President can call for an early election after serving six years in office.
Both potential political opponents led the Sri Lankan government to victory against the Tamil Tigers in May and the victory has led both men to popularity among the Singhalese majority in the country. However, Fonseka believes the government shafted him after the war.
China View reports that the next scheduled election is in April 2010 when the parliamentary elections occur.
Dev Fakruddin, a Toronto Tamil demonstrator, told Digital Journal in an e-mail on Monday that, once again, he is not surprised with this political move at all. “Rajapaksa should be tried for human rights crimes and not be given a six-year term instead.” He further added that the President will most likely win the election because of all the corruption and scandals that occur on the “Island of Tears.”
“There is only one ruler in Sri Lanka and that man has all the power he wants and people will gladly do his bidding as long as they’re also taken care of. We see it during this Tamils camps crises, the paramilitary troops, government officials and whoever else will do whatever the man says as long as they’re properly compensated.”
Fakruddin concluded that democracy in Sri Lanka is an illusion and it always has and will continue to be.
The Commissioner of Electors is expected to announce the date of the poll soon.
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