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From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

Sri Lankas president was desperately locked in moves to secure allies as her minority government risked losing the crucial Speakers post when it faces its first test in parliament, officials said.
President Chandrika Kumaratunga was also battling to retain her junior coalition partner, the Marxist JVP, and ensure it accepts four portfolios allocated to it before parliaments first sitting Thursday, they said. rn

rnThe first test for Kumaratungas Freedom Alliance is the election of a Speaker in the 225-member assembly, but she is short of eight seats to have an absolute majority and is looking for allies. rn

rnThe party of all-Buddhist monks with its nine seats could prop up Kumaratungas candidate for speaker, but a spokesman for the monks said they had decided to remain neutral, a move that will help the opposition. rn

rnThe main opposition United National Party (UNP) is expected to field its own candidate for Speaker in the secret ballot Thursday and could win if all other opposition MPs support