Most SLFP leaders, cadre favour early presidential poll

November 16, 2009 12:30 am | Updated November 17, 2021 06:41 am IST - COLOMBO

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa waves to his supporters during the Sri Lanka Freedom Party's convention in Colombo on Sunday.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa waves to his supporters during the Sri Lanka Freedom Party's convention in Colombo on Sunday.

Sri Lankan President and leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday announced that his party would soon decide on the wishes of the majority of SLFP leaders and cadre for a presidential election before the parliamentary poll due before April.

Addressing the 58th convention of his party here, a confident Mr. Rajapaksa left no one in doubt that he is least bothered at the prospect of Sarath Fonseka, the General who led the war against the LTTE and would prematurely retire on Monday, being fielded as a consensus Opposition candidate against him.

Mr. Rajapaksa ended the suspense on whether or not he would call for a presidential election after the Fonseka episode in a dramatic fashion by posing a question at the convention whether they wanted a presidential or a parliamentary election early.

The response was for a presidential poll. "You want me to cut short two years while the Parliament has a few months more. Good... I will put your request to the party to make a decision," Mr. Rajapaksa said.

The meet, called essentially to decide on dates for a general and possibly presidential election, was a mega affair, with thousands of party workers and 39 foreign representatives, including two Congress Rajya Sabha MPs.

Taking an indirect dig at General Fonseka, Mr. Rajapaksa said that when the notion to develop the country was set in motion, there could be patriots who could become traitors for political reasons. "Such elements will only honour the last wish of LTTE leader Prabakaran who wanted to divide the military and the people."

He asserted that he was not afraid to face an election and accused the Opposition of operating with "anti-national interests" and attempting to politicise the military. "The Opposition is so weak that it was now begging for a candidate to contest the election."

Under the Constitution, the President can call for a presidential election once the incumbent completes four years of the six-year term.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.