11/11/2009

Ground clearing for Sri Lanka's former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka to vie for the Presidency


(November 11, Colombo - Lanka Polity) Sri Lanka's former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka that spearheaded the total annihilation of the Tamil liberation struggle of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) now looks comfortably securing the candidacy for the upcoming Presidential of Sri Lanka.


General Fonseka, a US Green Card holder, returned to Sri Lanka earlier this month rejecting the attempt of the US Home Security Department to interview him over allegations on war crimes in the last phase of the war. Ever since, the ground can be seen clearing for him to tender himself as a candidate for the all powerful executive Presidency of the South Asian nation.


Both major opposition rightist United National Party (UNP) as well as leftist People's Liberation Front (JVP), the king maker in recent times, have pledged support to his candidacy setting forth conditions basically to abolish the dictatorial executive Presidency and to empower the legislature.


General Fonseka has neither commented nor denied the news. He is still the Chief of Defense Staff, a newly created post that some critics say, aimed at sidelining him after the defeat of the rebels. Armed forces members cannot contest for the Presidential under Sri Lanka's law and many associates have reportedly advised the President not to accept resignation of the Chief of Defense Staff to avoid his candidacy.


However, the President himself cleared the doubts stating to a group of Ministers that he would accept the resignation of the Chief of Defense Staff if he wants to run for the Presidential election. However, he has reportedly assigned arch Sinhala nationalist Wimal Weerawansa, the leader of the National Freedom Front to mobilize a Buddhist force to prevent Fonseka coming to the contest.


Fonseka is a Sinhala hardliner who said to Canada's National Post in September 2008 quite openly that Sri Lanka belongs to the majority Sinhala community. (I strongly believe that this country belongs to the Sinhalese but there are minority communities and we treat them like our people...We being the majority of the country, 75%, we will never give in and we have the right to protect this country...We are also a strong nation ... They can live in this country with us. But they must not try to, under the pretext of being a minority, demand undue thing.)


There are doubts if the 25% minority whom he wants "under the pretext of being a minority, not demand undue thing" will support him despite they have clear reasons to vote Rajapakse out since he suppressed their struggle for rights without granting them any. However, Colombo based Tamil politician Mano Ganeshan of the Democratic People's Front has already pledged support to Fonseka depicting the frustration and the need of the Tamil community to get rid of Rajapakses by hook or by crook. 


Opposition leader Ranil Wikramasinghe has announced that he will set forth additional condition of granting a cabinet portfolio for the major Tamil constituency of the northern and eastern Tamils, Tamil National Alliance, under Sarath Fonseka's Presidency. 




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