Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/611/8832
Sri Lankan president elect, Rajapakse, removes his rival, Fonseka
SRI LANKA'S former army chief and main opposition presidential election challenger, Sarath Fonseka, was dragged from his office late at night last Monday. 150 soldiers under orders from president Mahinda Rajapakse, bundled him into a bus and drove him away. As we go to press, his whereabouts are still unknown.
Fonseka, as the army leader, and Rajapakse, as president of the ruling Sinhala chauvinist government, waged a brutal civil war against the Tamil-speaking population of the north and east of the island in order to defeat the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In the final months, an estimated 10,000 civilians were killed.
Hundreds of thousands of displaced Tamil refugees were confined to open air military prison camps and endured shortages of food, water and medical care.
Fonseka and Rajapakse, both wanting to politically capitalise on the military defeat of the LTTE, were rivals in the recent presidential election which was won by Rajapakse. Fonseka publicly challenged the vote's validity, telling reporters he feared for his life.
The Socialist Party's Sri Lankan counterpart, the United Socialist Party, consistently and courageously opposed the war and contested the presidential election. Its general secretary, Siritunga Jayasuriya, said: "With Fonseka's abduction, Rajapakse is trying to silence his former ally and all opponents, resorting to the classical methods of a dictator. He and his gang want to sabotage the forthcoming parliamentary election.
"If this can happen to Fonseka, who got four million votes in the election, no-one is safe. All opposition parties have today made a call for a campaign of public protests, starting tomorrow, 10 February, at noon."
See www.socialistworld.net for background information and regular updates on Sri Lanka.
In The Socialist 10 February 2010:
Unison general secretary election
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
PCS young members
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
War and occupation