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Sri Lanka president promises Asia's miracle
12 Jan, 2010 07:32:48
Jan 12, 2010 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's president Mahinda Rajapaksa said he wanted to make Sri Lanka 'Asia's miracle' if elected to a second term and also vowed to combat corruption, a key battle cry of the island's opposition.
"We want to change people leaving the country and make it an attraction for people," Rajapaksa said launching his manifesto Monday.

"We want to make Sri Lanka Asia's miracle."

"We are building enough infrastructure for the next 100 years. Only upgrades will now have to be made."

He also promised to combat corruption.

"You can't develop a country when the corrupt is shouting against corruption," he said. "After the 27th I'm dedicating all my time and effort to rid corruption."

"We are going to put an end to the era of politicians giving broken promises."

Sri Lanka was ranked number 97 in an index compiled by Transparency International, an anti corruption watchdog, in 2009.

In the last four years Sri Lanka has slipped 13 places on the corruption index.

Political analysts have said that a government based on rule of law and its ability to deliver law and order and other services has been undermined since 1972 when a new republican constitution was introduced.

Critics have said that under a constitution in 1978 when public appointments came under the president, the situation deteriorated further.

An amendment to the constitution in called the 17th amendment was aimed to make public appoints through a clutch of commissions appointed by an independent constitutional council.

But the current administration has not implemented the amendment and the country's former chief justice has said the constitution is being violated.

Opposition candidate ex-general Sarath Fonseka has made pledge implement the constitutional council a key part of his platform.

Fonseka headed the country's army in a campaign against Tamil Tiger separatists which ended in May.

"Now the LTTE (Liberation of Tamil Tigers of Eelam) is finished but the ones who hate this country are festering old wounds," Rajapaksa said. "They are opening the path for another Eelam war. The ones that supported the Tigers in the past have joined hands now."

Fonseka is supported by a broad coalition of forces, the right wing United National Party, Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and the Tamil National Alliance.

Rajapakse from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party is seeking a second term two years ahead of schedule.

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