Upside Down

A hung parliament resulting from Sri Lankas elections could further hamper efforts to end three decades of ethnic war as a weak government cannot engage in tough talks with Tamil Tiger rebels, diplomats and analysts said.
President Chandrika Kumaratunga called the poll four years early to seek a strong mandate after accusing her rival, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, of conceding too much to the insurgents, but the poll results pointed to instability. rn

rnrn”What we have now is a fragmented parliament representing a fractured polity,” said Jayadeva Uyangoda, the head of the political science department at Colombo University. rn

rnrnHe noted that while Kumaratungas Freedom Alliance had emerged as the largest single party, it would have to depend on smaller parties to remain in power, weakening its position at the negotiating table. rn

rnrnWestern diplomats associated with the Norwegian-led peace process expressed fears that a resumption of talks may not be possible in the near future. rn