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|Monday, August 06, 2001, updated at 10:57(GMT+8)|
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Denies Talks with OppositionSri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremenayake has denied that the government was holding talks with the main opposition United National Party with the object of forming a national government or a government of national reconciliation, the state-run Daily News said on Monday.
The prime minister denied reports in Sunday newspapers that he had initiated talks to set up a national government to overcome the current political crisis. He added that the referendum would definitely be held.
While admitting a new political culture was essential, he called on opposition members who wanted to protect the interests of the country to join hands with the government.
In July the government faced a political crisis when the joint opposition now holding the majority of 115 seats against the government's 109 seats in 225-member Parliament proposed a motion of no-confidence against the government.
To overcome the situation President Chandrika Kumaratunga prorogued Parliament for two month and called for a referendum on August 21 to change the constitution, which she was unable to get it adopted through Parliament as she did not have the required two- third majority.
To garner support for the upcoming referendum, Kumaratunga and her cabinet ministers are under heated negotiations with opposition parties leaders to bring in a new constitution.
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