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General Sarath Fonseka to run in Sri Lankan Parliamentary elections

Gen Fonseka
Gen Fonseka has signed the documents to run in April's Parliament elections, though he remains in government detention   Photo: AP

Today, opposition spokesmen announced that the currently detained, General Sarath Fonseka, would lead a new opposition alliance as the party's candidate in April's Parliament elections.

Sri Lankan authorities have also announced this week that in addition to a pending military court case against the former general, several civilian charges will also be brought against him.

The government is preparing to charge Fonseka with allegations that he helped his relatives make illicit profits, created disaffection in the armed forces, harbored deserters and broke foreign exchange laws.

Tiran Alles, a close associate of General Fonseka called the charges "bogus" and asserts that the actions of Sri Lanka's government shows the determination of the authorities to keep the general incarcerated either by military or by civilian law.

"We point-blank reject any of them," he said.

Fonseka will have an uphill battle in the coming elections though, as the coalition that supported him during his January presidential run has split-up into several blocs, leaving his support much weaker.  Such a split only increases President Mahinda Rajapaksa's chances of winning a commanding majority in the next parliament.

The current parliament saw a flood of defections from its ranks to the government side since Rajapaksa retained power, and many in the opposition fear that more will follow if the governing alliance repeats its victory.

Of course the tactics being undertaken by the current government are designed to do just that.  General Fonseka is being made an example of by President Rajapaksa for opposing him, and this has sent the signal out to other opposition leaders that they better get in line with the president or face a similar fate.

Such underhandedness only cheapens and robs the Sri Lankan people of having a true democracy and allowing for a healthy political discourse of which one is built.


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