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Fonseka to begin new innings as parliamentarian

world Updated: Apr 11, 2010 15:29 IST
Detained former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka

Detained former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka is keen to start a new political innings as he enters Sri Lanka's parliament as a newly elected lawmaker, winning a seat despite his incarceration, his wife has said.

Covered by a parliamentary privilege, Fonseka is expected to attend the parliamentary sittings that may begin on April 22, along with four other representatives of his coalition who managed to make it to the legislature.

Fonseka, 59 who are now in military detention will be able to speak in public since he is now covered by parliamentary privilege after winning Thursday's general election, Anoma Fonseka said.

The ex-Army Commander who has been in detention since February at the Navy Heaquarters received 98,458 preference votes in the Colombo District gaining a seat in the next Parliament.

"He is all set to attend the Parliament sittings where he will be able to speak out," Anoma was quoted as saying by the Sunday Times.

Anoma, who acted as a proxy and spokeswoman for her incarcerated husband during the election campaign said the victory, was "something against the government and something good for my husband".

She said Fonseka gave a silent smile when the good news was broken to him on Friday.

"It was the same smile he gave when he was informed that the war had been won," the newspaper quoted her as saying.

"I am happy to have done what I did and will continue to do what I have to do until justice is done to my husband. The authorities cannot stop me or, for that matter, my husband," she said.

By obtaining 98,458 from a total of 110,683 votes received by the DNA, the former Army Chief commandeered the single largest percentage by any candidate in any of the districts, she pointed out.

She also said she was present all the time in the counting centre when the General's votes were being counted.

"I was present in person at the counting centre, and some politicians attempted some intimidation tactics but they did not work. However some elections staff and even police officers were helpful and sympathetic towards my plight," the newspaper quoted Anoma to say.

Fonseka's Democratic National Alliance (DNA) which is dominated by the marxist JVP have won five seats in Parliament so far. Results of 45 more seats are yet to be announced in an election that was sweeped by the ruling Mahinda-Rajapaksa led UPFA coalition.

A photograph in the newspaper showed Anoma readying the dress to be worn by Fonseka on the first day of Parliament later this month.