Sri Lanka JVP split widens with more support for Weerawansa

April 08, 2008 (LBO) – Differences within Sri Lanka’s Marxist-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) exploded dramatically Tuesday with controversial lawmaker Wimal Weerawansa speaking out publicly and gaining the support of nine others. Charismatic speaker and propaganda secretary Wimal Weerawansa fell out with the party hierarchy ostensibly over his public support for saying that a breakaway Tamil Tiger faction in the East of the island should be allowed to bear arms.

Weerawansa made an impassioned speech in parliament saying he had learnt that he would be removed from the party after upcoming provincial council elections in the East of the island.

Nine JVP lawmakers said they disagreed with a party decision to oust Weerawansa and said they would work as an independent group in parliament.

“We will work with him [Weerawansa], but we will continue to be in the JVP as an independent group,” lawmaker Weera Kumara Dissanayake told reporters at a hastily called media conference.

“We condemn the moves to oust comrade Weerawansa.”

The JVP has 38 members in parliament with one member, Nandana Gunathilake, already supporting Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition independent of the party line.

In a dramatic move, Ranaweera