Rajapaksa all set to call early Parliament elections

Updated on May 21, 2009 02:19 PM IST

Riding the crest of military success, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is all set to call early elections to the country’s Parliament. “You will see an announcement very soon,” sources close to the president have told the Hindustan Times. Amit Baruah reports. See pics: End of Sri Lanka's war | Victory Speech by Rajapaksa | Listen to podcast

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Hindustan Times | ByAmit Baruah | Foreign Affairs Editor, New Delhi

Riding the crest of military success, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is all set to call early elections to the country’s Parliament.

“You will see an announcement very soon,” sources close to the president have told the Hindustan Times.

With Sri Lanka displaying the body of LTTE chief, Velupillai Prabhakaran, and the end of the Tamil Tigers as a fighting force, the time is right for President Rajapaksa to announce fresh elections.

The six-year term of the current Parliament, which was elected on April 2, 2004, will run out in April 2010.

“It’s quite possible that the President will go in for early parliamentary elections,” an Indian official familiar with the Sri Lankan scene told this correspondent.

Rajapaksa, an executive President with wide-ranging powers, has run a successful military campaign since being elected the head of state and government in November 2005.

Under the country’s constitution, a president can serve two terms only. Rajapaksa is due for re-election only in 2011 so it’s possible that he would like to serve out most of his term before going in for a re-election bid.

Proclaiming victory over the Tigers in Colombo on Tuesday, the president hinted at taking “clear decisions” for “national renewal”.

“As we have been victorious in the battle to defeat terrorism, we should also take to the required successful end the struggle to build our land. It is necessary for us to take the required clear decisions for this. We must now be ready to direct our motherland to that new era of national revival,” the text of his speech said.

“Time is now raising a new challenge before us. It is the challenge of building the motherland…Just as I accepted the earlier challenge (of defeating the LTTE), I accept this new challenge too.

“In doing so, I look forward very much to the fullest cooperation of all Members of Parliament and Ministers, and of my dear people in our motherland,” Rajapaksa added.

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