Fear of snap election as Sri Lankan president at odds with allies

Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga could call a snap election before the end of 2005 because of friction with her Marxist allies over economic reforms and peace talks with Tamil rebels, analysts said Sunday. Under the island’s constitution, Kumaratunga is now allowed to sack parliament and call an early election following the passing at midnight Saturday of the first anniversary since her coalition government gained control of the legislature.

Analysts say Kumartunga may take the chance because she believes her handling of the December 26 tsunami relief operations is widely appreciated in the country. Nearly 31,000 Sri Lankans died in the tsunamis and one million were initially made homeless.

The president may call an early election to see if her party can rule without the help of the Marxist JVP, or People’s Liberation Front, which opposes peace talks with the Tamil Tiger rebels and plans to sell or privatize state-owned companies, a source close to her Freedom Alliance party said.

“She can go before the people to seek a fresh mandate to carry out the reforms and enter talks with the Tigers,” the source said. “But it will be a high risk enterprise.”

Political and military analyst Harr