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Home >> World
UPDATED: 16:40, February 21, 2006
Sri Lanka govt, opposition in wrangle over local councils
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Sri Lanka's government and the main opposition party are wrangling over the issue of local authorities in the country.

The main opposition United National Party (UNP) said that they would block a government attempts to dissolve the local councils before the local election date of March 30.

Karu Jayasuriya, the UNP's deputy leader told reporters here " obviously there is a political manoeuvre, a sinister move to take over all councils before the elections are held."

The local councils minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon had advised the President Mahinda Rajapakse to dissolve all local councils and put them under the charge of government's civil service administrative officers.

The UNP control over 90 percent of the councils which they won in the election held in 2002.

Tennakoon told the President that the UNP which controls the councils was to use the resources in the councils for party political work leading to the election.

The opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe wrote to Rajapakse on Monday urging him to desist dissolving the councils by using the state of emergency powers.

GL Peiris, the UNP spokesman, said his party had supported the government to impose the state of emergency in view of the national security considerations.

He said "erosion of basic democracy caused by the use of emergency powers for purposes totally unconnected to the maintenance of public security must be condemned."

The Local Government Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon however said that any presidential action on the issue would be based on the opinion given by the Attorney General.

The March 30 election is to appoint councilors to some 330 local councils throughout the island.

Source: Xinhua

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