Sri Lanka Marxist rebels form new party

May 12, 2008 (LBO) – A breakaway faction of Sri Lanka’s Marxist-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP- People’s Liberation Front) said Monday that they had formed a new political party. Lead by controversial lawmaker Wimal Weerawansa, the breakaway group, known as the ‘Wimal faction’, claims the support of at least nine of the 38 members of the JVP in parliament.

JVP lawmaker and member of the breakaway faction Piyasiri Wijenayake said they had applied to the elections commissioner Monday morning to register the new party as the National Freedom Front.

The new party’s chairman would be Wimal Weerawansa, secretary Nandana Gunathilake, a JVP member who had already been supporting Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition independent of the party line, and national organiser Kamal Deshapriya.

Wijenayake said the new party would be formally launched in Colombo on May 14.

He said the date was chosen to coincide with the date when the JVP itself was formally established by its late leader, Rohana Wijeweera, who was captured and killed during the group’s second uprising in the late 1980s.

The split in the party became public last month when Weerawansa made an impassioned speech in