A senior minister of the Sri Lankan government said Sunday that a national government with the participation of all political forces is needed to solve the problems faced by the island country.
D. M. Jayaratne, minister of Plantation Industries, told the VFM radio that "we all must get together and try to solve the problems faced by the country."
Jayaratne said that the present government headed by President Mahinda Rajapakse has not been able to solve the ethnic and the economic problems faced by Sri Lanka.
"We need a strong government. But under the present electoral system there is no chance of a strong government getting elected," Jayaratne stressed.
However, Tissa Attanayake, the general secretary of the main opposition United National Party (UNP), said the opposition has no intention to share power with the government.
"We will topple the government and force a parliamentary election. Only through that process we will ever gain power," Attanayake stressed in the same radio program.
He said the UNP extended the hand of friendship to the government in October 2006 by signing an cooperation agreement with the president.
"But our support was disregarded by (the president's action of)taking our members to the government," Attanayake added.
Some 24 of the original 82 UNP legislators elected in the April 2004 election have defected to the government, enabling the government win the second reading of the 2008 budget Monday.
The opposition now says it has the required votes to oust the Rajapakse government at the third and final vote on the budget scheduled for Dec. 14.
According to Sri Lankan constitution, if the budget is defeated, the government is required to present a second budget. If the second budget is defeated again, parliament should be dissolved by the president.