Colombo: Sri Lanka`s main opposition United National Party (UNP) will stay away from the Commonwealth celebrations here to protest attack against its MPs allegedly by ruling party politicians.
The UNP alleged that Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is the current chair of the Commonwealth has violated "Commonwealth values of governance".
The UNP statement came as a group of their MPs came under attack last week by ruling party politicians when they were on a visit to inspect a port and an international airport located in the Rajapaksa heartland of Hambantota in the deep South.
"The UNP is of the strong belief that the government has no right to host events related to Commonwealth when its own actions continuously contravene basic tenets of democracy and good governance," the statement said.
UNP leader and former foreign minister Mangala Samraweera had even called for the convening of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to take action against Sri Lanka, chair of the 54-member bloc.
Former Maldivian president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom will be the guest of honour at tomorrow`s Commonwealth Cultural Diversity celebrations at Rajapaksa`s residence to mark the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.
Gayoom recently called for the Maldives to withdraw its membership from the Commonwealth when the country was briefly suspended from CMAG.