Sri Lanka’s former army chief vows to topple government

Colombo: Sri Lanka’s former army chief Sarath Fonseka said Thursday that he aimed to topple the government and create a new political culture, ruling out any possibility of working with President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sri Lanka's former army chief Sarath Fonseka Speaking at the first press conference since his conditional release from jail May 12, Fonseka was upbeat about his role and insisted that he would work with a common opposition to defeat the government, Xinhua reported.

"There is a corrupt government and a corrupt political culture so we have to first get rid of the corrupt government. If we want to benefit from the new political culture I am talking about, we will have to topple the government and then we have to come into power and implement this new political culture," he said.

Talking to the media, he also categorically ruled out joining the government or working with President Mahinda Rajapaksa as he said the president "could not be trusted". He called on the opposition to unite and accept a leader that will be picked by the people.

Though under the conditions of Fonseka’s release he cannot contest in an election for seven years, he said that with people’s support he would be able to overcome this hurdle.

The relationship between Fonseka and the government became strained after he retired from the military in late 2009 and announced his candidature for the presidential election.

Fonseka contested as the leader of an opposition coalition but lost the election. He was later arrested and jailed over various charges, including illegal arms deals, harbouring army deserters and making allegations to the media that soldiers had shot unarmed rebel cadres.

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