The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 194

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The Lanka Academic is delighted to introduce the second guest for our online "Question and Answer" session: Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku, the spokesperson of the United National Party. Answers to the first batch of questions have been posted.
ENDS OCTOBER 22, 2000 More...
· Overview of Results
· LAcNet Election Center
The Lanka Academic carried an online "Question and Answer" sessions with the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr. Mangala Moonesinghe from September 1, 2000 through September 24, 2000. You can view the questions from visitors like you and the answers by Mr. Moonesinghe here.
The Constitution of the Republic of Sri Lanka
[PDF Version]

(The proposed new constitution)
Current Colombo weather
CNN Colombo forcast
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Satellite pix (infrared)
Where is MIR today?
Bandula Jayasekera, in Colombo. She has done so much for the country's arts, culture, environment, and its society. She was a member of the Environmental Authority and continues to run the organisation 'Rukrekaganno' from her house. That too because she was asked to vacate the premises the organisation occupied earlier. Once Gamani Fonseka said of her "With her talent she could have won many Oscars if she had been born in America." President Chandrika calls her affectionately 'Chandi Nanda' and Ranil Wickremasinghe is her close relation too. She is the inimitable Irangani Serasinghe. More...
US State Department. Colombo, 4 August 2000 - The U.S. State Department announced on July 31 that the mail-in period for the next U.S. Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Program (DV-2002) will run from noon, October 2, through noon, November 1, 2000. There is no application fee and no special application form is required. The application with the necessary information can simply be typed on a blank sheet of paper. More...
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To make way for party nominees Three JVP members to resign
Island, 17 October 2000. Three of the JVP members elected to Parliament after swearing in as MPs on Wednesday will resign to accommodate three other nominees of the party. Propaganda Secretary of the JVP Wimal Weerawansa said yesterday that from the eight elected members five would remain while the other three would resign for the party to nominate three others to enable the JVP parliamentary group to act in a more effective manner. Among those elected are former MP Nihal Galappaththi, JVP Propaganda Secretary Wimal Weerawansa and JVP Presidential candidate Nandana Gunetilleka. Wimal Weerawansa denied reports that its self exiled leader Somawansa Amarasinghe will be nominated on the National List. More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 23:03:45 EDT 2000
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JVP leader to return from self-exile  - The Hindu NUS

Ask Karu! Ends Oct. 22nd Send in your questions to the spokesperson of UNP, Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku.
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TULF to challenge Jaffna Result
Saroj Pathirana in London, Monday 16 October 1800 GMT. TULF is to go to the courts challenging the Jaffna district results, as there were more votes than the actual voters in Jaffna district polls. According to TULF, voting had already started at 9pm on 9th October, twelve hours before the official voting started,in EPDP controlled Delft island.
Published: Mon Oct 16 14:14:01 EDT 2000

CMEV says Lankan election was rigged
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.30 a.m. SLT Monday October 16. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) has concluded its analysis of the violence and violations that took place throughout the country on election day, October 10, 2000. CMEV stands by its preliminary report submitted to the Elections Commissioner in which the appeal was made to annul the poll in 17 electoral divisions comprising 1081 polling centres, since the nature and extent of violence in these electoral divisions was such as to irrevocably mar the outcome of the poll.

CMEV wrote to the Election Commissioner that the nature and extent of violations have been so widespread and serious in the following electorates as to render the final outcome in these areas utterly meaningless. In addition, the level and degree of violence in these areas during the campaign period too was higher than in other parts of the country, CMEV, therefore, urged the Commissioner of Elections, by virtue of the powers vested in him by Sections 48 A, 128 and 129, of the Parliamentary Elections Act No 1 of 1981 to annul the voting in these electoral divisions, in order to restore credibility to the electoral process in other regions of the country.

Though these areas were the most violent, election-rigging was not confined to these areas. CMEV received reports of serious election violations, including instances of murder, bombing, stuffing of ballot boxes, removal of ballot boxes, systematic impersonation and ballot rigging, threats and intimidation of both polling agents and voters, and the use of firearms including automatic weapons, as well as the misuse of state resources including military vehicles and personnel, from 578 polling centres in 101 electorates. This constitutes approximately 6% of all polling centres in the country, and is 11% of the 5203 centres monitored by CMEV in all 22 districts.

In considering this information, it is clear that at the very least the Kandy District needs to be re-polled if any semblance of faith in the democratic process is to be maintained. For instance, the majority of the winning party in the Kandy District is one-fifth of the votes cast in the 182 flawed polling centres CMEV monitored in the district.

It is CMEV’s considered assessment that taken as a whole the 2000 General Election was significantly marred by violence and election-related violations. In addition, the ongoing offensive in the Jaffna peninsula, as well as the de facto deprivation of voting rights to approximately 250,000 Tamil voters in so-called uncleared areas in the North-East Province has resulted in the election being a fraud in this province. In the rest of the country, 35 of CMEV’s monitors and observers were threatened and intimidated by supporters of the People’s Alliance.
Published: Mon Oct 16 02:15:54 EDT 2000

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Sri Lankan army braces for Tamil rebel attacks
Times of India (Breaking News), October 17. Police blew up a three-wheel motor scooter they suspected of carrying a bomb in downtown Colombo, as the army braced for new Tamil rebel attacks after a lull during parliamentary elections.Residents alerted the police after the scooter rickshaw was found abandoned in the busy Union Place area. Officials of the anti-terrorist Special Task Force carried out a controlled explosion. There were no casualties."Whenever there is lull in terrorist activities, we get concerned," said Defense Ministry spokesman Brig. Sanath Karunaratne. "Our forces are on a full alert to counter any terrorist attack." More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 09:41:30 EDT 2000

Only eight out of record 117 women candidates to enter Parliament
CDN, 17 October 2000. Parliamentary general elections held last week saw 117 women candidates - the highest number of women to contest at an election in the history of Sri Lankan Elections, in the running. But only 8 of them succeeded in the bid to enter Parliament. Former Minister Sumedha G. Jayasena, Former Deputy UNP MP Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Former Kuranegala district, Amara Piyaseeli Ratnayake, UNP candidateAnuradhapura district Chandrani Bandara, NUA candidate Ferial Ashraff from Digamadulla,Kurunagala PA candidate Soma Kumari Tennakoon and PA Puttlam district candidateShriyani Fernando are the successful andidates.Former Women's Affairs Minister Hema Ratnayake, Former Deputy Minister Nirupama Rajapakse, Kalutara district Food and Trade Deputy Minister Sumithra PriyanganiAbeyweera were among the candidates who lost their seats. More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 20:40:41 EDT 2000

Lanka Cabinet swearing-in put off to Wednesday
Times of India, 17 October 2000 . The swearing-in of the new Sri Lankan Cabinet, which was scheduled for Monday, was put off till Wednesday as President Chandrika Kumaratunga was struggling to accommodate in the new Cabinet various allies whose support enabled the People's Alliance to form the new government.Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) has pledged ''unconditional support'' to the new government and Kumaratunga has apparently asked Douglas Devananda what ministries his party would prefer to hold during the six-year term. Ferial Ashraff, wife of former minister and NUA leader M H M Ashraff who was killed in a helicopter crash, is likely to be inducted into the Cabinet. More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 20:21:55 EDT 2000
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Tough time ahead for Chandrika  - TOI
Troubled waters ahead for Lanka's shaky coalition  - India Abroad
Sri Lanka's shaky coalition delays cabinet  - Virtual New York
35 Ministers in PA govt.’s new cabinet?  - The Island
Lanka Cabinet swearing-in postponed  - The Hindu NUS

Sri Lanka clergy and business appeal for national government
Virtual New York, Monday, 16 October 2000 14:01 (ET). Sri Lanka's powerful Buddhist clergy and business leaders Monday appealed to President Chandrika Kumaratunga to form a national government. The demand came even as the ruling People's Alliance struggled to complete the list of federal ministers and its ally, the National Unity Alliance, made attempts to fend off rebellion in the party. More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 15:09:47 EDT 2000
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Sri Lanka markets nervous as vote goes to court  - Voila-UK
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Buddhists, businessmen seek broad-based Sri Lankan government  -

Sihala Urumaya President quits party
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.10 p.m. SLT Monday October 16. S. L. Gunesekera, President for the Sihala Urumaya today resigned from the party as an internal dispute arose over giving him the one solitary parliamentary seat the five month old party won at last Tuesday's election.

Last week, Champika Ranawaka co-founding member of the party claimed to have polled the highest number of preferential votes. Yet he said he would step down in favour of Gunesekera who polit bureau members said was the most suitable to represent the Sinhala dominated party in parliament.

However internal fighting broke out when on Sunday General Secretary of the party Tilak Karunaratne claimed that he was the most suitable to represent the SU in parliament and would accept the post if offered. Insinuations were also made against Gunesekera not being a Buddhist. The leading lawyer is a baptized Anglican by faith but claims to be an Aethist.

Sihala Urumaya was formed on principles of preserving the lost rights of the Sinhala race and was largely perceived by the public to be a racist party.
Published: Mon Oct 16 10:58:52 EDT 2000

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Sinhala nationalists squabble and split  - TamilNet
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S. L rocks Sihala Urumaya.
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 3.30 a.m. October 16. General Secretary of Sri Lanka?s new political party Sihala Urumaya, Tilak Karunaratne told "The Lanka Academic" today that he is saddened by the sudden resignation of party president S. L. Gunasekara. He said " I have the highest respect for Mr. S. L. Gunasekara and I wish that he will change his mind and re-join the party"

S.L. Gunasekara resigned from the party this morning. The exact reason for his resignation is not known and he has not made an official statement as yet. However it is believed that Gunasekara is unhappy regarding the party's decision to make way for Gunasekara, General-Secretary Karunaratne and National Organizer Champika Ranawaka to serve two-year terms each in the new parliament. Sihala Urumaya had earlier decided to nominate only party President S. L Gunasekara as their Member of Parliament. The new political party has just one seat and that too from the national list.

Karunaratne admitted that Gunasekara's resignation has left a very bad taste in the mouth of Sihala Urumaya supporters . He said "We will have an aggressive campaign to try and explain to the public the exact position of our party".
Published: Mon Oct 16 05:42:10 EDT 2000

Vajpayee congratulates Chandrika
The Hindu NUS, 20.00 hrs (IST) on October 16, 2000. New Delhi, Oct. 16. (PTI): Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has congratulated Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga for the performance of the Peoples' Alliance in the recent parliamentary elections in the island nation. In a message to the Sri Lankan President, Vajpayee, who is recuperating in Mumbai after a knee surgery, felicitated the Sri Lankan people on their commitment to democratic values in difficult circumstances. More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 20:23:29 EDT 2000

Coca Cola Cup: Sri Lankans determined
The Hindu NUS, 20.00 hrs (IST) on October 16, 2000. Sharjah, Oct. 16. (UNI): CRICKET:The Sri Lankans will like to forget their performance in the ICC knock-out tournament at Nairobi and take on India with a new determination in the opening encounter of the Coca Cola Cup cricket tournament, beginning here on October 20. The Sri Lankan team, led by Sanath Jayasuriya, arrived here yesterday and did some practice at the Sharjah cricket stadium. Sri Lankan coach Dave Whatmore said "losing (in Nairobi) was a small portion of disappointment for everyone, but in terms of effect, I would say that every member of the team would be trying even harder to win the Coca Cola Cup". More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 20:26:59 EDT 2000

Police Elections Secretariat to continue
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.05 p.m. SLT Monday October 16. The Police Elections Secretariat will continue for another thirty days and are expected to submit a report on all election related violences in the next three weeks. Acting Inspector General of Police. T. Anandarajah said today that the police had documented over 1800 incidents of election related violences in the run up to polls and on elections day. The police he said will soon initiate action against the perpetrators of the crimes committed once all evidence had been duly gathered and recorded. Senior Superintendent's of police personnel in all 22 electoral districts were being summoned to help the law enforcement authority document concrete evidence and push charges against all those who had broken the law during and after the General Elections.
Published: Mon Oct 16 02:15:56 EDT 2000

Let my pictures do the talking
Sunday Times, October 15. A Policeman walked out to the road where I was standing and wanted me to come over to the Police Station immediately. When I went in, he told me "they are planning to block your vehicle on the way to Colombo and assault you and the driver. Wait here until we help you out.." I was grateful to this conscientious policeman. Some of his colleagues also joined him and warned me that those who had planned to attack us may hurl grenades or even open fire at us. More...
Published: Sun Oct 15 13:31:07 EDT 2000

Bombings Blind Sri Lankans
yahoo-ap, October 16. Nayantara Gunasekera, whose first name means ``star of the eye'' in her native Sinhala language, has been sightless since the Central Bank was bombed four years ago.The former lawyer who now settles neighborhood spats by phone is one of a growing number of blind Sri Lankans, wounded by flying shrapnel or glass from bombings blamed on the Tamil Tiger rebels.Those who have lost their limbs during the 17-year civil war have received the most attention. Blindness in bomb explosions was a subject little discussed in this island nation of 18.6 million people, which has limited counseling, training or rehabilitation services. More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 07:57:57 EDT 2000

Monitoring body slams Polls Chief
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.55 a.m. SLT Monday October 16. The Centre for Monitoring Eelection Violence is gravely concerned that the Elections Commissioner saw fit to annul only 22 polling centres in 6 districts 13 in the Kandy District, 01 in Matale, 04 in Nuwara Eliya, 01 in Hambantota, 02 in Balangoda, and 01 in Kegalle while he discounted 9,274 votes forcibly stuffed in another 47 polling centres but did not annul these polling centres. In some cases his decision appears to have no rational basis at all. For instance, regarding polling centre number 20 in the Beliatta polling division where one ballot box was forcibly removed from the centre, his decision has been to discount this incident and count the ballots cast in the remaining ballot box! Not only is this a gross travesty of the rights of those legitimate voters whose ballots happened to be in the missing box, it is also explicitly counter to the provisions of 48 A (3) of the Parliamentary Elections Act No 1 of 1981.

In polling centre number 30 in the Hanguranketa polling division, the Elections Commissioner records that 01 (one) ballot was forcibly stuffed, while in Laggala in the Matale District in polling centre number 48, exactly 542 ballots were forcibly stuffed, and in Patha Dumbara in centre number 42 this number was 650. He treats this entire range, from 01 to 650, the same way removing the offending ballots and counting the rest as if nothing untoward had happened.

CMEV’s position is that this course of action is not merely unjust by the hundreds of ordinary voters who were deterred, even prevented, from casting their votes in these areas, it is also not provided for in the Parliamentary Elections Act. CMEV reiterates that the proper and least unfair procedure would have been to annul these polling centres where forcible stuffing was established, as provided for under section 48 A (2), since the stuffing would have eaten into the time available to the voters, thereby breaking the provision for continued access to the polling centre between 7.00 am and 4.00 pm on election day.

In addition, the Commissioner’s decision to annul 42 polling centres in the Kilinochchi polling division and, subsequently, also 49 in the Mullaitivu polling division appears unacceptable at this stage. CMEV has been at pains to emphasise to the Commissioner as well as election officials in the Jaffna District that special arrangements need to be made to accommodate voters living in LTTE-controlled areas, and have met him on two occasions to explain to him the unsatisfactory nature of the arrangements made by his staff in this regard. As regards Kilinochchi, the 42 polling centres in the so-called uncleared areas were nominally recorded as clustered at Jaffna Hindu College, but CMEV understands that they were not in fact operational. Similarly, the 49 polling centres in Mullaitivu were to be clustered in Vavuniya, the only polling centre deemed valid was No 31 which served the Sinhala population of Weli Oya. Hence, for the Commissioner to annul polling centres that he did not have on the ground is unacceptable, particularly since the total number of registered voters in the annulled polling centres of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu are approximately 56,000 and 52,000 respectively, even a fraction of whose votes would clearly alter the result in these areas. In the Jaffna District, for instance, approximately each 10,500 votes delivered a single member of parliament to each of four parties.

Moreover, the concrete process by which these stuffed ballots are eliminated from the counting remains unclear to CMEV, since this would require a serial count of the votes first, which the Elections Commissioner has refused to guarantee to Court (in application number 1041/2000) when requested to do a physical verification of the serial numbers of the ballot papers that have been stuffed into the boxes by issuing an order on the counting officers. CMEV is concerned with the lack of transparency and openness in the decision-making process with regard to determining the course of action to be taken concerning serious violations at polling centres, and in the inaccessibility to information relating to these decisions thereafter.

CMEV further wishes to record its surprise and disappointment at the reports submitted by the Observer Missions of the EU and the British-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Group, and will be taking this issue up with the relevant authorities.
Published: Mon Oct 16 02:15:55 EDT 2000

73 killed as a result of political rivalry
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.45 a.m. SLT Monday October 16. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) states that the incidents reported on election day (October 10, 2000) include 07 murders, which brings the total number of deaths during the election period to 73. It is important to note that CMEV’s analysis of individual polling centres is based on an assessment of events during the entire polling period, and generally involves a series of incidents. CMEV’s election day assessment is based on an evaluation of polling centres and not on the number of incidents recorded, since the effects of these incidents need to be measured in terms of the degree to which they permitted an unfettered exercise of the public franchise.
Published: Mon Oct 16 02:15:54 EDT 2000

S. Asia Sees Modern Matriarchies
yahoo-ap, October 16. The world's first woman prime minister died just minutes after casting her ballot in national elections. She was survived by her daughter, who is president of Sri Lanka, and her son, an opposition leader. Sirimavo Bandaranaike's death at 84 last week came also on the 60th anniversary of her marriage to another former prime minister, who was murdered in 1959.Her story is not unique. In South Asia, where women are for the most part treated as second-class citizens, they have often been thrust into power by the slaying of their husbands or fathers, or named as figureheads by male power brokers - but in practice have turned out to be far from pliable. More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 07:59:43 EDT 2000

NUA in crisis
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 a.m. SLT Monday October 16. The National Unity Alliance which set a 100 day deadline for President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge to adopt a new constitution is heading for an internal crisis. Political sources say that the NUA had pledged conditional support to form the coalition government after Tuesday's election pointed to a hung Parliament. Since then however reports assert that many of the NUA's constituent members are unhappy with decisions taken by General Secretary of the party Rauf Hakeem.

Hakeem had demanded three cabinet portfolios, two deputy ministership posts, three heads of corporation posts and some diplomatic postings for members of the NUA from the President in exchange for his crucial support to help her form the next government.

The President meanwhile today agreed to certain conditions put forward by the NUA. Rauf Hakeem said that the President had agreed to granting two cabinet portfolios and three deputy ministerships for the NUA including putting forward a new constitution and other proposals within a period of a hundred days.
Published: Mon Oct 16 02:15:53 EDT 2000

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US lukewarm in reaction to Lanka polls
Times of India, October 15. WASHINGTON: The Clinton administration has been lukewarm in its reaction to the Sri Lankan polls, offering only its oft-stated policy that calls for a political resolution to the conflict that has claimed more than 60,000 lives in the island nation in the past 17 years. The US Department of State said in a statement that the US hopes that "following the elections, Sri Lanka will be able to move ahead on ending the ethnic conflict through a negotiated political settlement, providing dignity and security for all Sri Lankans while preserving the country's unity and territorial integrity." More...
Published: Sun Oct 15 16:22:34 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Violence Spills From Civil War Into the Voting Booth
Yahoo, october 15. The twisting roads and verdant vistas surrounding this historic city in central Sri Lanka are full of surprises: bathing elephants, colorful Buddhist temples and crumbling monuments of Sri Lanka's ancient Sinhalese kingdom.On election day last Tuesday, the surprise was armed men who drove up to village polling places, shouting at people to go home. The gunmen fired shots or threw grenades. In many places, residents said, they forced their way into voting booths and stuffed boxes with ballots.Policemen at the polls "did our best, and I am very happy that no one died," said a police official who subdued an angry crowd after a grenade was tossed near a polling place. "I don't want to see blood; I want to see people use their wisdom to vote. But the way the system is set up, this election fight has become a war."In Madewala, a largely Muslim town, residents said jeeps drove up to one polling place and Ratwatte supporters with guns tried to chase voters away. Across the street, someone threw a grenade, injuring 18 people. More...
Published: Sun Oct 15 14:55:43 EDT 2000

EPDP leader on why he decided to support Chandrika.
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 9.40 p.m. October 15. Douglas Devananda leader of Eelam People’s Democratic Party said today that his party decided to extend their support to President Chandrika Kumaratunge’s Peoples Alliance, as PA was more open in finding a solution to the Tamil problem.

Devananda said, “ We put forward three conditions to the Peoples Alliance to extend our support. That is to stop the war, solve our peoples day to day problems and to find a respectable solution to the Tamil problem”

Douglas Devananda also made a public appeal yesterday to President Kumaratunge to bring back the draft new constitution to end the suffering of all the Tamils in the country. EPDP chief made his appeal during his speech at former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaiake’s funeral in Attanagalla in the presence of the Maha Sanga who are opposed to the draft constitution.
Published: Sun Oct 15 11:38:36 EDT 2000

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Sri Lankan FM pessimistic over peace process, Oct 16 2000 20:52 IST. OSLO, Oct 16 (AFP) - Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar said Monday that he was pessimistic about prospects for peace in his country, despite Norway's efforts to mediate in the island's long running civil war. "I am not being particularly...optimist. We want Norway to remain engaged in the peace process but at the moment there is not much of a process," Kadirgamar said following a meeting with his Norwegian counterpart Thorbjoern Jagland. More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 15:04:37 EDT 2000
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Sri Lanka's shaky coalition under threat
Virtual New York, october 15. The three-day old coalition government in Sri Lanka faced a major threat Sunday owing to a split within the minor party extending crucial support to the ruling People's Alliance.A section of NUA supporters attacked the house of its leader Rauf Hakeem Saturday night in the capital Colombo. The irate mob damaged Hakeem's ice cream shop and stoned his house protesting against his decision to back President Chandrika Kumaratunga's alliance.Analysts say that a split in the NUA could lead to the collapse of the PA government. The main opposition United National Party, which needs the support of 24 parliamentarians to stake claim for power, was reportedly attempting to woo some NUA deputies to join its ranks. More...
Published: Sun Oct 15 13:40:12 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka stocks end down on ruling party poll win
Buisness Recorder, October 14. Sri Lanka stocks ended lower on Friday as the main opposition party's failure to win Tuesday's general election prompted more retail investors to bail out.The Colombo all share index ended 0.53 percent or 2.69 points lower at 509 points.Sri Lanka's ruling People's Alliance coalition emerged on Thursday as the winner but fell short of an absolute majority.Government officials said on Friday the PA had won the support of the largely Muslim National Unity Alliance, giving it a working majority in the hung parliament.The main opposition United National Party (UNP) is also trying to cobble together a coalition."With chances slimmer for a UNP government, retailers opted to sell across-the-board," said a broker at a local brokerage. More...
Published: Sun Oct 15 14:36:59 EDT 2000
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Sri Lanka markets nervous as vote goes to court  -

Sri Lankan hard-liner reinstalled as prime minister
Seatlle Times , october 15. Stung by the voters in her attempt to grant more autonomy to the Tamils, Sri Lanka's president yesterday reappointed a hard-line prime minister who believes the government should keep waging the war against the rebels. President Chandrika Kumaratunga had called Tuesday's election to try to win enough seats to push through a new constitution giving the minority Tamils greater autonomy in the north and east as a way to end the 17-year war waged by the Tamil Tigers for a homeland. The war has left 63,000 dead. More...
Published: Sun Oct 15 14:26:38 EDT 2000
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Sri Lanka's turmoil - An Editorial  - Boston Globe

Extreme right make significant gains in Sri Lankan elections - A Commentry
World Socialist Web SIte, October 15. The results of general elections held in Sri Lanka on Tuesday reveal widespread disaffection with the major parties generated by the country's protracted civil war, falling living standards and the growth of unemployment and poverty. But the main beneficiaries have been the Sinhala extremist parties—Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and Sihala Urumaya Party (SUP).The share of the vote won by the ruling Peoples Alliance (PA) declined to 45 percent, down from 48 percent in the 1994 elections. Significantly it lost seats in its strongholds of Polonnaruwa and Hambantota, where poverty-stricken peasants have been agitating for higher produce prices and other assistance. Four PA ministers lost their seats including trade minister Kingly Wickramaratne. It has 107 seats—six short of a majority in the 225-seat parliament. More...
Published: Sun Oct 15 14:00:32 EDT 2000

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