Sri Lanka will not be forced to hold snap polls: minister

Sri Lanka’s shaky minority government said Friday it expected to survive a crucial budget vote later this year and would not be forced to hold snap elections, despite losing the support of its main Marxist ally. Sri Lanka’s shaky minority government said Friday it expected to survive a crucial budget vote later this year and would not be forced to hold snap elections, despite losing the support of its main Marxist ally. Sri Lanka’s constitution requires that the government resign if a finance bill is defeated on the floor of the house. Unless the opposition agrees to take over power, the country must face a snap election.

“We are confident that the government will go on,” said government spokesman Nimal Siripala de Silva. “We are not afraid to face elections, but we don’t pray for an election.”

De Silva, who is also the health minister, argued that the opposition could not defeat a “people-friendly budget” and therefore the government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga could survive without the Marxist JVP, or People’s Liberation Front.

The JVP walked out last month protesting a tsunami aid-sharing deal with Tamil Tiger rebels.

The ruling party narrowly won the April 2004 parliamentary ele