Count Down

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has ruled that President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s final term ends in December, clearing the way for elections between October 22 and November 22. Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has ruled that President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s final term ends in December, clearing the way for elections between October 22 and November 22. Kumaratunga had argued that a left-over year from her first term should mean she could stay in office until late 2006.

But a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Sarath Silva ruled that her second and final term will end on December 22 this year.

“It is a unanimous decision,” Silva told a packed court house where several ruling party politicians had turned up to hear the judges decide the political future of the 60-year-old president.

In terms of the country’s law, the election chief is now required to announce a date for a presidential election any time between October 22 and November 22.

Kumaratunga will not be able to stand as the constitution limits presidents to two terms.

She was elected to her first six-year term in August 1994. She called a snap poll in late 1999, a year ahead of schedule, and won a