Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Campaigning closes in Sri Lanka

B. Muralidhar Reddy - Curtains fell on the six-week campaign for the April 8 general election in Sri Lanka. Undoubtedly, it would go down as one of the dullest elections in the history of the nation.

The campaign has failed to generate much interest since the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa is viewed as the victor.

Flush with victory in the January 26 presidential election, Mr. Rajapaksa was engaged in hectic campaigning across the nation.

Though there are 36 parties vying for 225 seats, the main fight is expected to be between the ruling combine led by Mr. Rajapaksa and the main opposition party the United National Party (UNP) led by Ranil Wickremsinghe.

The third alliance — Democratic National Alliance (DNA) — led by the former Army Chief and the defeated common consensus presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka is also in the fray but with the retired General behind the bars, its prospects are not rated high.

While the 7,620 contestants from 36 recognised political parties and 301 independent groups vie for 196 seats in the 225-member Parliament, the remaining 29 slots are allocated through the National List based on the vote percentages political parties and independent groups obtain. Sri Lanka follows a proportional system of representation.

Meanwhile, in response to concerns expressed on General Fonseka's health condition the Army on Monday made arrangements for consultations from a senior chest physician, attached to the Chest Clinic, Colombo National Hospital, in the presence of medical officers at the Navy Headquarters where he is detained.

The Army said the move was initiated following allegations made by Mrs. Anoma Fonseka referring to an alleged “deterioration” in his health.

As per the Army, the chest specialist determined that the General had not been afflicted with any new condition as alleged, and he could still continue with his routine medication.

© The Hindu

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