Pen Sketches

President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Tamil Tiger guerrilla leader Velupillai Prabhakaran are not candidates in the poll, but their reputations and political future depends on the outcome of the ballot.rn

rnHere are pen sketches of the key players:rn

rnCHANDRIKA KUMARATUNGA: The 59-year-old daughter of two prime ministers and the widow of a prospective presidential candidate, Kumaratunga has risked her own political future by calling Fridays election nearly four years ahead of schedule.rn

rnA drop-out from a French university, she is regarded left of centre and is on record saying she is a “reformed socialist.”rn

rnShe formed an alliance with a Marxist party in January to topple the right-wing government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The alliance raised eyebrows because the Marxists were accused of assassinating her husband in 1988.rn

rnKumaratunga is on her second and final six-year term as president. Unless she manages to secure a parliament that would revise the 1978 constituti