Sri Lanka president rules out snap poll

July 22, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s president has ruled out a snap parliamentary election to increase his slender majority, after battlefield success against the Tamil Tiger rebels boosted his government.

President Mahinda Rajapakse said he was keen that the current parliament serve its full six-year term. It was elected in April 2004, while the president came to power in November 2005.

“I am not interested in calling a snap election,” the president told AFP late Saturday on the sidelines of his first public rally, in Nawalapitiya, central Sri Lanka, after troops captured the rebels’ final bastion in the east.

“This is a very favourable time for our party, but I don’t want to go for another general election and spend two billion rupees (18 million dollars) to conduct that election.

“I can build a few more roads with that money. We have a stable government and I want other parties too to unite and move forward.”

Blue flags signifying his party and banners welcoming him as a hero were raised across Nawalapitiya.

“Welcome our hero,” said one blue-and-white banner. “Mahinda to secure our tomorrow,” said another.

Maithripala Sirisena, the secretary of Rajapakse’s Sri Lanka F