Lanka's main Tamil party may support Opposition UNF

Last Updated 23 December 2019, 17:00 IST

Sri Lanka's Tamil National Alliance on Monday said that the party may support the Opposition coalition of the United National Front (UNF) to form a government if it falls short of the required 113 seats after the Parliamentary elections.

"We are ready to help the UNF form a government depending on the number of seats they win," TNA spokesman and legislator M A Sumanthiran said.

Sumanthiran said the party was hopeful of wining more seats than the current 13 they have in the 225-member assembly.

"After helping the coalition we would work towards ensuring the rights of the Tamil community by furthering a solution based on the 13th Amendment. We will not abdicate our responsibility to help Tamil people win their rights," the lawyer-cum-politician said.

The Tamil minority party seeks a power devolution arrangement to give autonomy to the traditional Tamil regions in the north and east of the island.

However, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who won the November presidential election with overwhelming support from the majority Sinhala community, has ruled out any form of devolution to the Tamil regions.

Rajapaksa has made it clear that without the consent of the Sinhalese no mechanism of devolution could be put in place. Instead, he has pitched for a stronger development model.

Rajapaksa is expected to dismiss the current parliament by late-February for Parliamentary elections in late April or early May.

The president has asserted that he would want two-thirds parliamentary support or 150 seats for the implementation of his programmes.

The UNF is currently in disarray after Rajapaksa's victory.

A section in the UNF's main party, United National Party, has sought their party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe's (70) resignation, a post he has held since 1994.

Bowing under pressure, Wickremesinghe made UNP's deputy leader Sajith Premadasa the leader of the main Opposition.

(Published 23 December 2019, 17:00 IST)

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