Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa ready for snap poll

Colombo, April 24: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Thursday he is ready for a snap poll next year if the opposition formally requests this.

Speaking to local newspaper editors, Rajapaksa said he has no plans for a snap poll next year as his term ends in 2016, adding that if the opposition made such a request, he was prepared to consider it, Xinhua reported.

The main opposition United National Party (UNP) has been saying it would push for an early presidential election and was preparing to gather public support to oust the current regime.

The UNP has accused the government of corruption. Last week, it accused politicians of the ruling party of attacking opposition members who tried to inspect some government projects in the southern Hambantota district.

The president said that no one was above the law and legal action would be taken against any politician, even those from the ruling party, if they violated the law.

Responding to the Hambantota incident, the president said that he had instructed the police to take action against those responsible.

Asked about the recent incidents involving Buddhist monks, the president said a special police unit would be set up in the religious affairs ministry to probe incidents involving religious groups.

Sri Lankan police chief N.K. Illangakoon, who was also at the meeting, said that there were no religious extremist groups operating in the country and that there were only isolated incidents, against which legal action has been initiated.


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