Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fonseka to join politics?

B. Muralidhar Reddy - Chief of Defence Staff Sarath Fonseka, who as Army chief led the 2006-09 Eelam War IV, has announced that he has “finished his obligations” towards the military.

In his address at the 60th Army anniversary parade here on Tuesday, General Fonseka said: “This may be the last occasion I make an address of this nature to officers and men of the Sri Lanka Army. Although I am still serving in the Army I have finished my obligations dedicated to the Army as I have reached different heights at this time.”

General Fonseka’s statement created ripples in political circles here. There have been speculative reports in the local media to the effect that General Fonseka nursed political ambitions.

General Fonseka, who led the 2006-09 Eelam War IV, was relieved of his job as Army Chief and designated as Chief of Defence Staff under a new Parliamentary Act which came into effect on July 15.

His latest statement has attracted attention as a there is the possibility of a general election preceded by a presidential poll in the next few months.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa described the outcome of the Southern Provincial Council election as an “overwhelming mandate” for the ruling alliance.

In his statement on the victory of the ruling alliance, Mr. Rajapaksa said the mandate had encouraged his government to go ahead with its plan to reawaken the nation with renewed strength.

“The clear and overwhelming mandate given by the Southern people at this election is a decisive and strong message to those groups trying to create misconceptions about the government and also to the international community,” said Mr. Rajapaksa.

The election outcome triggered varied reactions among a section of the political parties and the media. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), which polled almost 11 per cent of votes cast in the home district of the President, said it was a turning point in the political scenario.

JVP general secretary Tilvin Silva told reporters that the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) recorded an overall decrease of 25,491 votes when compared with the 2005 presidential election.

Senior Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva attributed the decline in votes of the ruling alliance to in-fighting.

“However, the UNP cannot rejoice. This election showed that the Mangala Smaraweera, Rauf Hakeem and the UNP — the so-called United National Alliance (UNA) was unable to deliver.”

© The Hindu

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