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Sri Lanka’s ex-army chief to form new political party


Colombo : Former Sri Lanka Army commander Sarath Fonseka Tuesday filed papers to register a new political party in the island nation under his leadership.

Fonseka, who filed his party papers at the Elections Department Tuesday, issued an open invitation for any political party member to join his new party in a move to form a strong opposition, reported Xinhua.

Sri Lanka’s Democratic National Alliance (DNA) MP Jayantha Kettagoda will function as the general secretary of the party, Fonseka said.

Fonseka contested the 2010 presidential elections in the island nation under the Democratic National Alliance but lost the race to President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

As commander of the army, Fonseksa played an integral role in ending the country’s civil war in 2009, defeating Tamil Tiger rebels. He later had a public fall out with President Rajapaksa whom he unsuccessfully challenged in the 2010 presidential election.

Following the end of the war, Fonseka was promoted to a four-star rank in the Sri Lankan army, becoming the first serving officer to hold such a rank. He has been described as Sri Lanka’s most successful army commander.

On Nov 29, 2009, Fonseka formally announced his candidature in the 2010 Sri Lankan presidential election. His candidacy was endorsed by the main opposition parties and Fonseka became the main opposition candidate challenging President Rajapaksa. He campaigned under the sign of a swan.

Following his election defeat, Fonseka was arrested Feb 8, 2010, and the government announced he will be court-martialled for committing “military offences”. He was found guilty of corrupt military supply deals and sentenced to three years in prison. After serving more than two years in prison, Fonseka was released May 21 last year.