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UPDATED: 19:43, November 01, 2005
Sri Lankan opposition may boycott budget presentation
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Sri Lanka's main opposition says it may be forced to boycott next week's parliamentary presentation of the government budget for 2006.

The United National Party (UNP) spokesman Tissa Attanayake told reporters here Tuesday that the party would soon make a decision.

The UNP maintains that the presentation of the budget before the Nov. 17 presidential election would give the ruling party candidate Mahinda Rajapakse an undue advantage in the election.

Attanayake said that "the government can make popular pledges to people in the budget just to hoodwink them in order to win the election."

The UNP late last month wrote to President Chandrika Kumaratunga, calling for her intervention to delay the presentation scheduled for Nov. 8.

Attanayake said Kumaratunga had informed the UNP that their request had been forwarded to Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama for a reply.

According to local press reports, the minority Tamil and Muslim party allies of the UNP have also criticized the presentation of the budget before the presidential election. They have termed it an undemocratic act.

Source: Xinhua

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