Prospects of change in Sri Lanka in the offing: Fonseka

Prospects of change in Sri Lanka in the offing: Fonseka

Offering himself as a "Sri Lankan acceptable to all," Fonseka a former top army general said he did not belong to any political party, implying that he was in the hustings as a apolitical candidate.

"The time has come for a change to take place in Sri Lanka," Fonseka said.
Unveiling his 10-point election manifesto titled "Believable Change", the general turned politician who has emerged as a common opposition candidate to oppose the incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa in the race for Presidential elections on January 26, also promised to cut taxes on essential food items and bring in welfare nation.

He also promised Rs 10,000 pay-hike for public servants, removal of pension anomalies and giving a better price for paddy to farmers.

Fonseka who became the first politician to tour Tamil-minority dominated areas of northern and eastern Sri Lanka promised more benefits to resettle war displaced people in their homes, revamping of health and education policy and boosting up employment opportunities.

The election manifesto was released at a public rally attended by his powerful backers, including leader of the opposition and former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, JVP chief Somawansa Amarsinghe and other parliamentarians.

Fonseka's election prospects received a boost when the political proxy of the Tamil Tigers, TNA announced on Wednesday their backing for his candidature.

Hoping to cash-in on his leading the country to a win over LTTE, Rajapaksa called for early elections, but the surprise candidacy of Fonseka may have upset his applecart as it has divided the loyalties of the dominant voting community Sinhalas and put the Tamils into an almost kingmaker role.

To woo the Tamil voters, Fonseka has promised to free thousands of Tamil youths suspected of having links with the LTTE and to grant amnesty to those who fought against the Army. 

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