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Resounding victory for PM, says Mangala
 

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse who is the only Presidential candidate having a Sri Lankan identity will register a resounding victory at the next Presidential election, Ports and Aviation Minister Mangala Samaraweera said yesterday.

Addressing a press conference at the SLFI yesterday, Samaraweera pointed out that Rajapakse has become the common Presidential candidate of all parties, and people of all ethnicities, caste, creed and faith.

"He is above political idealogies and the only candidate who represents Sri Lanka. All others represent not Sri Lanka, but other reactionary and alien forces who profess obsolete and disastrous agendas for our country," the Minister said.

Eight political parties have already pledged support for Rajapakse and some others too were negotiating to close ranks with him very soon, he said.

It is envisaged that before the nominations, more parties and progressive forces would rally round Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse to make him the victor at the Presidential election to guide the country's destiny, Samaraweera said.

Three independent surveys have revealed that Rajapakse is well ahead of Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. The survey by a Dutch organisation has indicated 63 per cent in favour of Rajapakse. Samaraweera said certain statements to the media by Wickremesinghe recently, was a threat to democracy and the people's franchise.

Wickremesinghe had said that if he wins the Presidential election, he will retain power for the next 15 years. "This is ludicrous and a grave threat to democracy. His dictatorial attitude is well illustrated by these deliberations which should be totally condemned by all democratic citizens of the country," he said.

Samaraweera said that judging the UNP's history where they sabotaged the Jaffna District Council elections and the Mahara by-election, this was no surprise.

"They even introduced the 19th Amendment for a dictatorial rule," he said.

Cabinet spokesman and Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said there is no conflict between the policies of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Rajapakse on crucial issues such as the peace process.

The policies will be put forward soon.

It will be evident then that there is no rift in the policies, he said. Samaraweera also refuted speculation on a General Election as reported by certain media.

"This is false propaganda of the UNP media machinery created deliberately to misinform and mislead the masses in fear of a definite defeat for Ranil Wickremesinghe," he said.

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