Lanka's Buddhist party threatens to quit ruling coalition

Sri Lanka's largest party of Buddhist Monks, a key ally of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's ruling coalition, has threatened to leave the alliance if he fails to scrap the executive presidency before the snap polls.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 09, 2014, 20:52 PM IST

Colombo: Sri Lanka's largest party of Buddhist Monks, a key ally of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's ruling coalition, has threatened to leave the alliance if he fails to scrap the executive presidency before the snap polls.

"If the next election is held without carrying out the promised reforms, we will do our best to defeat President Mahinda Rajapaksa," JHU or the Heritage Party MP and monk Athuraliye Ratana said on Sunday.

The party is pressing the President to implement the 19th amendment proposed by it which seeks to scrap the executive presidency and restore the independence of the public service, judges, police and the elections commission.

The talks between the JHU and the ruling coalition on reforms have failed, Rathana said.

"We don't need another presidential election," said monk Maduluwawe Sobitha, who has been trying to bring political parties under one umbrella to press for constitutional reforms.

"What we need is constitutional reforms. If President Mahinda Rajapaksa is unwilling to carry out reforms, we will support anyone who opposes him," he said.

Sobitha said the main issue at the next election will be constitutional reforms and he expected Rajapaksa's challenger to give a written pledge to scrap the presidency within six months of coming to power.

Rajapaksa plans to hold a snap presidential election in January 2015, an year ahead of the scheduled 2016.

He was first elected in 2005 with key support coming from the JHU. One of his main pledges at that time was to scrap the executive presidency.