Sri Lanka presidential hopeful to play policy referee

Sri Lanka's state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene (L) takes part in a press conference in Colombo on April 24, 2019. - A Sri Lankan security dragnet hunting those responsible for horrifying bombings that claimed more than 350 lives has scooped up a further 18 suspects, police said April 24, as pressure mounted on politicians to explain why no one acted on intelligence warnings. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Jan 15, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s opposition presidential hopeful retired general Sarath Fonseka has said he may have to play referee between pro free market United National Party and Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna.

JVP is credited with key initiatives of the post-2004 economic program which proposed expanding state employment, subsidizing fuel and pushing state salaries up by 20 percent without proposing any new taxes on the people to finance the freebies.

Inflation promptly rocketed and the currency fell as money was printed finance to unplanned new expenditures. After several years of high inflation, Sri Lanka’s people are now burdened with a public sector that has expanded by a third to 1.3 million persons.

JVP and the UNP have been arch enemies for decades. The UNP crushed an armed uprising by the group in 1989. In 1971, an earlier uprising was crushed by an administration headed by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The concept of Amerasinghe and Wickremesinghe standing on the same platform was unthinkable a few short months ago.

“You have got two shows for the price of one,” Wickremasinghe said. “You have met the general and seen Somawansa and myself on the sam