Saturday, August 8, 2009

World Agenda: President Rajapaksa looks set for eight more years

Mahinda Rajapaksa, the President of Sri Lanka, must look to the future with satisfaction. After his history-making triumph over the Tamil Tiger insurgency in May his electors look set to hand him a new mandate that will stretch to 2017.
Local elections today in the southern province of Uva and northern towns of Jaffna and Vavuniya, and a subsequent poll in Mr Rajapaksa’s native Southern Province, are seen as curtain-raisers for a presidential election that he can call as early as November.

If re-elected, under a constitutional quirk he can stay at the helm for eight years without being put to another vote.

Much of the Sri Lankan population reveres Mr Rajapaksa and many believe that re-election will be his reward for ending a gruelling 26-year war. Yet it is not only his rivals in politics who have cause to blanch at the thought of eight more years of Mr Rajapaksa.

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