Sri Lanka to go for early presidential elections

October 13th, 2009 - 7:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Oct 13 (DPA) Sri Lanka is to hold presidential elections nearly two years before scheduled, an official said Tuesday.
“The presidential elections will be held before April next year,” Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said.

The announcement came two days after President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) recorded a convincing victory in a southern provincial election, receiving 67 percent of the votes.

The government enjoys high popularity among the Sinhalese majority after the defeat of Tamil rebels earlier this year, ending an almost three-decade civil war.

Most of the leaders of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were killed in the last days of the war, which also caused many casualties among the civilian Tamil population.

Rajapaksa’s regular term ends in November 2011. An early election would reduce his six-year term to four years. According to Sri Lanka’s constitution, he is allowed to run for a second term.

The president is likely to capitalise on the military gains by holding early elections. Already the ruling UPFA has won eight provincial elections since last year.

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