Fresh split in Sri Lanka Marxist-nationalist party

April 04, 2008 (LBO) – A split in Sri Lanka's Marxist-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) is emerging with moves to oust its firebrand spokesman Wimal Weerawansa, party insiders said Friday. But Weerawansa said he had not been informed of a decision to remove him, amid reports that the party's central committee has voted to replace him as its parliamentary group leader.

Weerawansa is a charismatic public speaker who helped popularize the concept of 'removing the plug' or insulating Sri Lanka from world market prices with government subsidies in 2004.

Though small, the JVP is an influential force in Sri Lanka's politics and has a much-respected ability to make popular its policies based on a large government, tax-free government jobs and subsidies, and opposing reforms in state enterprises.

It has had unbeatable success in persuading ordinary Sri Lankans that such policies are needed though they resulted in high budget deficits financed with central bank credit (printed money) which depreciated the rupee and created high inflation.

It is also opposed to devolving power to the island's minority Tamil people living in the north and east through a federal structure, and favo

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