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Monk's party to join Lankan Govt

The Jathika Hela Urumaya has nine seats that could give President Rajapaksa a comfortable majority.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2007 14:48 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
None
Hindustantimes
         

Sri Lanka's only party of Buddhist monks on Wednesday announced that they will join the government and also accept a cabinet portfolio.

The National Heritage Party, or Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), said it will support President Mahinda Rajapaksa who on Sunday inducted a 53-member cabinet to accommodate opposition legislators who defected to his party.

The Buddhist monks' party has nine seats that could give the president a comfortable majority.

Eighteen MP's from the main opposition joined the government Sunday. But even with them, the government has only a one-seat majority.

The joining of the monks will increase the majority to 10.

JHU spokesman Nishantha Warnasinghe said a saffron-robed monk will not enter the cabinet and have instead nominated layman and party strategist Champika Ranawaka.

A Buddhist monk legislator will step down from parliament to make way for Ranawaka. This would increase the cabinet strength to 54 members.

First Published: Jan 31, 2007 14:48 IST