Search

 

Cablegate: Sri Lankan Presidential Elections Scheduled For

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS COLOMBO 001648

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR SA/INS
USPACOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS SCHEDULED FOR
NOVEMBER 17

REF: COLOMBO 1639

1. (U) On September 19 Election Commissioner Dayananda
Dissanayake announced that presidential elections will be
held on November 17. Nominations are to be filed on October
7. So far, only the two largest parties, the Sri Lanka
Freedom Party (SLFP) of incumbent President Chandrika
Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and the United National Party (UNP)
have announced their candidates: Prime Minister Mahinda
Rajapakse and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe,
respectively.

2. (U) The SLFP will hold its first official election rally
in Colombo on September 20. Joining Rajapakse on the podium,
according to SLFP sources, will be representatives from the
Sinhalese nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). The
Buddhist nationalist Jathika Hela Urumayu (JHU), which, like
the JVP, has pledged to support Rajapakse's candidacy in
exchange for commitments to uphold the "unitary" nature of
the Sri Lankan state, is not planning to appear on stage with
Rajapakse at the rally. UNP candidate Wickremesinghe held
his own rally in Colombo on September 18. Members of the
pro-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Tamil National
Alliance, which is widely expected to back the UNP, traveled
to Kilinochchi last week to huddle with the LTTE leadership
before formally announcing its support for either candidate.


3. (SBU) The rally takes place against a backdrop of
continued controversy within the SLFP regarding Rajapakse's
decision to ally himself with the jingoist JVP and
JHU--effectively turning his back on Kumaratunga's approach
to the peace process. The battle lines may already be
forming: Kumaratunga allies Finance Minister Sarath
Amunugama and Buddhist Affairs Minister Ratnasiri
Wickremenayake have turned down invitations to speak in
support of Rajapakse's nomination at the September 20 rally,
according to SLFP sources. Kumaratunga, who is not expected
to return from overseas until later this week, jumped head
first into the intra-party fray with remarks before the Asia
Society in New York on September 15, reported in the local
press, that negotiating a peaceful resolution to the conflict
"will involve transforming the State from a unitary one to
one that is plural and federal in nature"--a direct
refutation of Rajapakse's commitment to his nationalist
allies. The ongoing long-distance spitting match between the
President and her anointed successor continues to fuel
speculation that a more direct confrontation between the two
SLFP leaders--with the President possibly angling to dump
Rajapakse as the party's standard bearer--is brewing.
LUNSTEAD

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Climate Change: Record Northern Heat, Fuels Concerns Over US Wildfire Destruction

More than 78,000 acres of forest in the Sierra mountains in California has been lost due to wildfires. Photo: San Francisco Fire Department The northern hemisphere experienced its warmest August ever, the World Meteorological Organization ( WMO ... More>>

UN: Guterres Condemns Killing Of Journalists, Following Beheading Of Mexican Crime Reporter

© UNESCO | International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. Following the gruesome death of a Mexican journalist specializing in crime reporting, who was found beheaded on Wednesday, UN chief António Guterres has issued a statement condemning ... More>>

UN: WHO Warns Against Potential Ebola Spread In DR Congo And Beyond

Ebola is spreading in a western province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), raising fears that the disease could reach neighbouring Republic of Congo and even the capital, Kinshasa, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. ... More>>

WWF: Living Planet Report Reveals Average Two-Thirds Decline In Wildlife Populations Since 1970

According to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020 released today, global populations* of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish have suffered an average two-thirds decline in less than half a century. The decline is due in large part to the very ... More>>