Sri Lankan opposition vows to end emergency laws

January 5, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s main opposition vowed on Tuesday to immediately end the state of emergency that has been in place on the island for 27 years if its presidential candidate wins this month’s election. The opposition’s candidate, Sarath Fonseka, will scrap the tough laws that have been in effect almost continuously since 1983 to deal with the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels who were defeated in May last year.

“We already have a plan to amend laws and lift the state of emergency in the event of General Fonseka winning the election on January 26,” spokesman Mangala Samaraweera said.

Samaraweera said the opposition alliance had also secured the support of ethnic minority parties whose votes may be crucial in a close fight between Fonseka and his former political boss President Mahinda Rajapakse.

Fonseka led the army in its victory over the Tigers before he quit and launched his bid to unseat Rajapakse.

Rajapakse called the poll in a bid to capitalise on the end of decades of bloody fighting against the Tigers.

Fonseka and Rajapakse have been at loggerheads since the end of the conflict. Fonseka moved into politics after accusing the government of sidelining him and falsely suspecting