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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 81

Sri Lankan presidential election: SLFP candidate ...........

[b]Sri Lankan presidential election: SLFP candidate issues a manifesto for communal violence and war[/b]
By Wije Dias - Presidential candidate for the Sri Lankan Socialist Equality Party[/b]

The candidates of the two main bourgeois parties in the November 17 Sri Lankan presidential election—Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe of the United National Party (UNP)—have both produced manifestos with long lists of election promises.

Only the gullible would believe these empty pledges. Rajapakse now presents himself as a born-again saint with a magic wand to resolve all the problems of the masses. Since 1994, however, his SLFP has led coalition governments that continued the open market economic policies introduced by the UNP and thus share responsibility for the social devastation imposed on working people for the benefit of foreign and local investors.

The UNP and SLPF have ruled the island since independence in 1948—the UNP for 34 years and the SLFP for 22 years—and have created one disaster after another. Widespread poverty is worsening and the island’s limited public education, health and welfare services are being gutted to make way for private profit-making bodies. In response to political opposition, both parties have invariably attacked democratic rights and whipped up anti-Tamil chauvinism to divide the working class.

The outcome was a devastating 20-year civil war to maintain Sinhala Buddhist political supremacy over the island. Both Wickremesinghe and Rajapakse were cabinet ministers in governments that drowned the island in blood from 1983 to 2002 with more than 66,000 dead, many more injured and maimed and over a million people displaced, either overseas or in local refugee camps.

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