01 December 2009

Sritharan of EPRLF-P Wary of Fonseka’s Military Background

Presidential candidate and former army commander Sarath Fonseka is losing support from some Tamil political parties because of his military background. The latest to join the team of supporters for President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the upcoming presidential election is the Eelam Peoples’ Revolutionary Liberation Front – Pathmanabha (EPRLF-P).

“We want to maintain the democratic tradition,” says EPRLF-P leader T. Sritharan. “For that, we will work with progressive and left forces.”

Asked of his opinion on Fonseka’s candidacy, Sritharan says he is concerned that Fonseka, if victorious, will run the country like he commanded the army.

“Personally, I am not against anyone,” Sritharan says. “(Fonseka) is a former military man. I fear when a retired military man comes to power.”

Sritharan isn’t the only Tamil politician with such concerns. In an interview last week, the head of the People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) Dharmalingam Sithadthan cited the same concern, noting that his organization will never support a candidate with a military career.

The EPRLF, before it split into two groups, was banned by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 1986 and has been working with the government since the defeat of the LTTE in May. Sritharan says the “eradication of Tamil terrorism” is important to his party in establishing Tamil democracy.

With no group as formidable as the LTTE claiming to be sole representatives of the Tamil people, the Tamil-speaking communities, particularly in the north and east, will have to choose among a handful of candidates vying for the top job. That decision will likely be influenced by other factors.

“We also want devolution of power, a multiethnic society and freedom of movement,” says Sritharan who believes those issues are already “on the table” with the current government.

Rajapaksa and Fonseka are the two leading presidential candidates – both were key players in the government’s success against the LTTE. Support of Tamil political parties could determine who succeeds in the election.

Source- Sri Lanka News Network

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