Sri Lanka presidential election no bar to Pope's visit: Bishop of Trincomalee
The scheduled visit of Pope Francis to Sri Lanka will take place despite the speculation of a snap presidential election, Bishop of Trincomalee has said.
Colombo: The scheduled visit of Pope Francis to Sri Lanka will take place despite the speculation of a snap presidential election, Bishop of Trincomalee has said.
Kingsley Swamipillai, the Bishop from the eastern port district of Trincomalee, said that the proposed election will have no bearing on the papal visit.
"The election, whenever it will be held, will be of no hindrance to the visit", Bishop Swamipillai said yesterday after attending a high level meeting wherein the arrangements for the pope's visit were discussed.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa is thought to be wanting to declare a snap presidential election during the first week of January.
The Pope's visit has been scheduled for 13 to 15 January.
The prospect of election dates clashing with the Pope's visit surfaced due to the Vatican policy of not scheduling papal visits in times of elections.
Swamipillai, commenting on the government's ability to take political advantage of the visit in the election, said it would not be possible in the Buddhist majority island Sri Lanka where Catholics are a small minority.
The main opposition United National Party, yesterday in parliament, urged for the postponement of the election in view of the Pope's visit.