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ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s ruling class is postponing elections fearing a transfer of power to the people and the government would hold the upcoming local polls without delay if it meant a victory to opposition leader Sajith Premadasa, NPP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said.

Speaking at a rally in Homagama on Sunday March 19, Dissanayake said for every day the local government election is delayed, his party, the leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)-led National People’s Power (NPP)’s, strength will grow.

“The ruling class is trying to delay the election. They’re trying to break the constitution. They’re trying to summon judges to parliament. What for? All to protect their power,” said Dissanayake, addressing a large crowd of party supporters.

“We know, Ranil, that you will go the full distance you can go to protect that power,” he said, referring to allegations that President Ranil Wickremesinghe was putting democracy on hold.

The ongoing gridlock with the local election, now scheduled to be held on April 25 but looking increasingly unlikely, is unprecedented, the NPP leader said.

While the government points to a lack of funds, opposition legislators have slammed the government for blocking funds fearing a humiliating defeat for the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLP))>

“This is an unprecedented situation. If power transfers from Ranil Rajapaksa to Sajith Premadasa, the election will be held,” claimed Dissanayake.

With the likelihood of an electoral collapse of the SLPP still reasonably high despite Sri Lanka’s ongoing recovery efforts under President Wickremesinghe, the Premadasa-led main opposition the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and the leftist NPP appear to be engaged in a low-intensity turf war over the coveted “system change” mandate.

NPP spokesmen have repeatedly express confidence that they’re already ahead, with some opinions polls backing their claim.


Battle between Sri Lanka’s main opposition SJB and popular JVP-led alliance hots up

Dissanayake said a corrupt criminal ring was operating in the country and in the run-up to the local polls, he said, power is about to be transferred to the general public, dealing a blow to this ring.

“They will not allow that easily,” he said.

“We are a group that has worked to protect national assets and to prevent corruption. So Ranil, Mahinda [Rajapaksa], Sajith, you owe a lot to this country. We in the NPP are not in debt to the country, remember that.

“We cannot be stopped through exhaustion. For every day the election is delayed, the NPP’s strength grows,” he said. (Colombo/Mar20/2023)

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