Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka ruling coalition partner vows to quit government

COLOMBO, Jun 10, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The main partner in Sri Lanka's ruling coalition vowed to quit the government in protest over Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's attempt to enter a joint deal with the Tamil Tigers.

Somawansa Amerasinghe, the leader of the JVP or the People's Liberation Front, told reporters here Friday that "we will resign the government on June 16 unless the president gave up her decision by midnight on June 15."

The JVP said that the proposed joint mechanism between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to deliver tsunami relief aid to Tamil regions impinge on the sovereignty of the Sri Lankan state.

"We are accepting the false idea that the LTTE are the sole representatives of the Tamil people," said Amerasinghe, adding that the mechanism "gives official approval to the LTTE's fascist ideals."

Kumaratunga under pressure from the international donors to implement the mechanism has vowed to go ahead with the deal even if it meant severe political crisis.

The JVP has 39 seats in the Kumaratunga government and its leaving would signal the end to the United People's Freedom Alliance regime installed in office in April 2004.

Kumaratunga's advisors say despite the threats the JVP would not topple the government for the fear of the prospect of the main opposition United National Party (UNP) annexing power.

Amerasinghe also said his party "will not allow the UNP to take advantage (of its impending resignation)."

Kumaratunga would be compelled to call a snap parliamentary poll should the JVP walks out.