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Pranab, Rajapaksa hold wide-ranging talks

[Express Buzz, Monday, 16 November 2009 10:20 No Comment]

Sri Lanka’s main Opposition outfit, United National Party (UNP), has not yet decided to support the candidature of Gen Sarath Fonseka, the controversial former Army Commander, for the presidency of the country, a top level source in the UNP told Express on Sunday.

Asked for the reasons for backing out of a commitment, which the media had taken for granted, the source said that several factors had to be taken into account.

Firstly, President Mahinda Rajapaksa might not call for a presidential election now. He might not want Gen Fonseka to politically cash in on his recent achievement of defeating the LTTE militarily.

Secondly, the Tamil minority and the democratic forces were dismayed over the UNP’s lurch towards Fonseka who had publicly voiced anti-Tamil sentiments and ruthlessly persecuted the media.

Thirdly, it is pointed out that while the original resignation letter of Gen Fonseka’s, as approved by the UNP and other Opposition parties, had a paragraph on the need for media freedom, but the letter Foneska submitted to the President had nothing on the media.

Fourthly, a group within the UNP wants the party’s own leader, Ranil Wickeremesinghe, to contest so that the Tamil, Muslim and Christian votes do not go to Rajapaksa by default because these communities could not vote for Fonseka.

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