Sri Lanka Muslim lawmakers resign to contest provincial poll

Audrey Azoulay

April 02, 2008 (LBO) – Three members of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), a minority Sri Lankan political party, have resigned their parliamentary seats to contest the forthcoming provincial council poll in the eastern province. . The party has a strong base in Eastern Sri Lanka where a sizable population of Muslims live.

SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem, general secretary Hasen Ali and Basheer Segu Dawood will contest the eastern districts of Trincomalee, Amparai and Batticaloa, a senior SLMC official said.

The SLMC has struck a deal with the main opposition United National Party (UNP) to form an alliance to contest all three districts in the poll scheduled for May 10.

The UNP and SLMC have agreed to contest the elections together on the UNP ticket.

The decision to form an alliance with the SLMC was taken to pose a challenge to the government at the forthcoming provincial council polls, UNP general secretary Tissa Attanayaka was quoted as saying.

According to Attanayaka, no agreement has been reached so far regarding the Chief Minister's post with the SLMC.

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