Hanky Panky

Sri Lanka’s main opposition Sunday demanded the postponement of the annual budget until after the presidential vote next month, arguing that the government may use it to boost its electoral fortunes. Sri Lanka’s main opposition Sunday demanded the postponement of the annual budget until after the presidential vote next month, arguing that the government may use it to boost its electoral fortunes. The opposition United National Party (UNP) said it wrote to outgoing President Chandrika Kumaratunga asking that the budget for next year be deferred until after the November 17 elections.

The government has scheduled the budget for November 8.

“The presentation of the budget on this day amounts to nothing more than a propaganda exercise for the government to mislead the people by making empty pledges that have no prospects of fulfilment,” UNP deputy Karu Jayasuriya said.

He said UNP candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe and his main rival, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, have separately offered a series of new revenue and expenditure proposals which should be incorporated in the budget for 2006.

“Given that the budget sets government fiscal policy up to the end of 2006, it is only fair tha