SL: ‘Opposition must unite to form govt in East’



Colombo: Sri Lanka's main ethnic Tamil TNA has asked all opposition parties to stay together to break the deadlock over the formation of government in Eastern Provincial Council.

No party was able to win majority in last week's Eastern Provincial Council election. President Mahinda Rajapaksa's United People's Freedom Alliance won 15 of the 37 seats, while the Tamil National Alliance secured 11.

The main Muslim party Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) won 7 seats and the main opposition United National Party (UNP) secured 4 seats. The ruling coalition courts the support of the 7 SLMC members while the TNA and UNP claim that they could form the council with SLMC support.

"SLMC opposed the government in the election. So our position is that opposition parties must stay together and form the administration," Rajavarotham Sampanthan the TNA leader told reporters today.

He said the ruling coalition can't stake a claim to the council as parties who opposed them have more seats together.

Sampanthan said that TNA members elected to the eastern provincial council have been offered inducements to join the government.

"We stand by the offer to give a Muslim chief minister to the eastern province," Sampanthan said.

Political sources however say that SLMC was more likely to support Rajapaksa's UPFA form the council.

PTI