Sri Lanka govt. faces collapse as Muslims leave
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 20 June 2001, 09:16 GMT]
The Sri Lanka's ruling People's Alliance regime is facing collapse following the decision of its main coalition partner, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, Wednesday to pull out of the government. The SLMC decision is the culmination of a month long crisis sparked by a pogrom against Muslims in the provincial town of Mawanella. The Sri Lankan President sacked Mr. Rauff Hakeem, the co-leader of the SLMC and Minister for Internal and Internal Commerce from the cabinet last night.
The ruling PA came to power by cobbling together a shaky coalition of 116 MPs in the Parliament which has 225 seats. Of the 116 seats of the PA coalition 11 belong to the SLMC.
Political sources speculated that the radical Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna that has 10 MPs now hold the key to the government's future. The government needs at least 113 seats to stay in power.
The JVP has been saying that it would not permit an ethnic minority party to hold the government to ransom to promote its divisive aims and self interests. The Sinhala extremist Sihala Urumaya that has one MP also says that it would not let the Muslims bring the government.
However, the PA is unlikely to depend on the support of neither the radical Marxist JVP nor the Sinhala extremists to patch another coalition analysts said, pointing out that President Chandrika Kumaratunga could scarce afford to govern if she were to accommodate the demands of the two parties.
The SLMC decided this afternoon that its all its members holding positions in the government and statutory bodies under it should resign forthwith.
Reports from the Parliament say seven Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Parliamentarians crossed the floor to sit in the opposition Wednesday afternoon.
Two SLMC Parliamentarians, Ms Ferial Ashraff and Mr.Maruthoorkani were not present in the Parliament at that time. The only SLMC Parliamentarian who did not cross the floor with his leader was Mr.M.I.M.Mohideen of the Ampara district.
Sri Lanka's opposition comprises:
UNP (including the speaker) - 89 seats
Tamil United Liberation Front -5
Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation - 3
All Ceylon Tamil Congress- 1