Sri Lanka’s opposition invites Fonseka to contest polls

February 23rd, 2010 - 12:50 am ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Feb 22 (IANS) Sri Lanka’s main opposition party United National Party (UNP) said Monday that the door is still open for the defeated presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka to join it in the parliamentary elections April 8.
UNP general secretary Tissa Attanayaka told reporters that the UNP’s invitation is not only for Fonseka but also for the JVP and any other party interested in bringing democracy back to the country, Xinhua reported.

“At this crucial juncture, the opposition needs to be strong and stand together as one to fight against the Mahinda Rajapaksa government. There is no respect for law of the country. Party headquarters are being searched and media freedom is a mere word,” Attanayaka said.

The dispute over the symbol of the opposition alliance has resulted in the main allies of the opposition - the UNP and the JVP (People’s Liberation Front) - to depart and contest the parliamentary polls separately.

The UNP-led political parties have decided to contest under the symbol of elephant, while the JVP and Fonseka have decided to contest under a new symbol “trophy” at the parliamentary polls.

The symbol of “swan” used by the opposition alliance at the presidential election has been dropped by both the UNP and the JVP.

According to Attanayake, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and the Democratic People’s Front had agreed to contest the polls under the UNP symbol of elephant.

He said the alliance has informed Fonseka about the decision and also invited him to join the opposition alliance through his lawyers.

“We hope he will answer our request positively,” Attanayake said.

Meanwhile, the JVP-led new alliance National Democratic Front ( NDF) has invited all political parties to come together to get majority at the parliamentary elections.

Vijitha Herath, the secretary of the NDF said Fonseka will contest from Colombo representing the NDF.

Despite the UNP, JVP and 15 other smaller parties backing Fonseka’s presidential bid, the incumbent President Mahida Rajapaksa recorded a massive victory over Fonseka in the Jan. 26 election.

Fonseka is now under military custody with accusations of military offense while in uniform.

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