Sri Lanka`s Muslim Congress defers poll decision
A Sri Lankan Muslim party has deferred to July 13 its decision on contesting the upcoming polls for eastern provincial council.
Colombo: A Sri Lankan Muslim party, which is an ally of the ruling UPFA, has deferred to July 13 its decision on contesting the upcoming polls for eastern provincial council, where it is keen to install its own member as chief minister.
After a lengthy session of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress` (SLMC`s) High Command, it was decided to defer the decision-making to Friday, when another meeting of the body will be convened, a senior SLMC source said.
The party deliberated over three possible scenarios -- to contest in an alliance with the main Tamil party TNA; to contest independently under its own `Tree` symbol; and to contest under the ruling UPFA`s `betel leaf` symbol.
The source said each of the three positions gained almost equal support from among the high command members.
Those who supported the alliance with the ruling UPFA urged that a memorandum of understanding which allowed the party to act independently in the council administration be signed to safeguard the broader interests of the party.
Other political sources, however, noted that the possibility of the SLMC leaving the ruling coalition was unlikely given its leader Rauff Hakeem`s position in the government as the Minister of Justice.
Another complex issue is the position of the chief minister in the council, as incumbent Sivanesaturai Chandrakanthan has made it clear that he wanted to continue in the job.
Chandrakanthan, a former Tamil militant, has held the post since 2008.
The SLMC, with wide Muslim support in the multi-ethnic province, is keen to have its own member as the chief minister of the province.