Sri Lankan opposition hopeful of coalition gov't

08:57, March 22, 2010      

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Sri Lanka's opposition parties contesting the April 8 parliamentary election are hopeful of forming a coalition government of national reconciliation.

"We can form a government by all opposition parties joining together," Anura Kumara Dissanayake, a senior member of the opposition Democratic National Alliance (DNA) said on Sunday in addressing an election rally in the northwestern district of Kurunegala.

Dissanayake said the government would be headed by former Army chief General Sarath Fonseka.

Fonseka, the common opposition presidential candidate defeated by the incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa in the January 26 presidential election, is currently held under military custody.

With his defeat the opposition became fragmented with the main opposition United National Party deciding to contest independent of the opposition alliance which backed Fonseka.

However, the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) is the clear favorite to win the parliamentary election.

The UPFA seeks a two-thirds majority or 150 seats in the 225- member assembly.

The government says they need clear-cut parliamentary majority to implement development program for sustained economic growth and electoral reform in an extensive constitutional package.

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