2nd Lead (Adds details)

Sri Lanka President, Sinhala nationalists strike deal

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 14 January 2004, 12:25 GMT]
The Sinhala nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and President Chandrika Kumaratunga's Sri Lanka Freedom Party will sign the long delayed agreement to form a political alliance on 20 January 2004, spokesmen for the parties announced Wednesday. The JVP has been campaigning for the cancellation of the cease fire agreement between Colombo and the Liberation Tigers.

An SLFP spokesman said the "historic document" would be signed the Bandaranaike Memorial International Hall in Colombo.

Political analysts in Colombo say that the alliance can defeat Prime Minister Wickremesinghe's United National Front given the combined votes both parties polled at the 2001 December general Election.

The joint statement issued under the signatures of the SLFP generals secretary Mr.Maithiripala Sirisena and JVP general secretary Mr.Tilvin Silva Wednesday said "the SLFP-JVP political alliance is vital to resurrect the country."

Talks between the leaders of the SLFP and JVP had been held for the last ten months to forge an electoral alliance between the two parties to defeat the ruling United National Front alliance government in a general election.

At a crucial discussion held Monday between the President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge and the JVP leaders Mr.Tilvin Silva and Mr.Wimal Weerawanse several matters concerning the electoral pact were sorted out paving the way for signing the MoU, sources said. SLFP general secretary Mr.Maithiripala Sirisena also participated in the discussion.

A top level committee including the Leader of the Opposition Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse, Mr.Maithiripala Sirisena, Mr.Nimal Sripala de Silva, Dr.Sarath Amunugama, Wimal Weerawanse, Mr. Vijitha Herat, Mr.Anura Dissanayake and Western Provincial Governor Mr.Alavi Moulana have been appointed to make elaborate arrangements to celebrate the event, political sources said.

Meanwhile JVP high command has instructed its district branches to organize cultural events in their areas to coincide with the signing of the MoU, JVP sources said.

The JVP is reported to have agreed to hold the provincial councils first instead of a general election. Earlier the JVP insisted that general election should be held first soon after signing the MoU to form an electoral alliance.

According to JVP sources, the electoral alliance with the SLFP is only for general election and not for provincial council elections.

 

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