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DateLine Tuesday, 26 August 2008

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Government Gazette

In response to UNP’s challenge:

Govt ready for snap poll

COLOMBO: The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) in the immediate aftermath of their landslide victory in the Provincial Council Elections for Sabaragamuwa and North Central Provinces yesterday said they were ready for a General Election if the main Opposition United National Party (UNP) stands by their pre-poll claims for one.

Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma addressing the media questioned whether the UNP still stands by their challenge which they made during the PC polls campaign and added that the Government was ready to accept the challenge within a few months.

The Minister added that any decision regarding a General Election would be taken after giving careful thought to the masses’ aspirations. The Minister also claimed that the UNP which based their campaign on virulent lies and personal attacks against the Government and the President, was now seeking cover behind mere statistics for their heavy defeat.

The Minister pointed out that during the Presidential Elections in 2005, the UPFA

had lost five electorates within these PCs to the UNP but had wrested them back with a bigger margin this time adding that the UNP today could not even get simple arithmetic right.

At a time when the whole country was behind President Rajapaksa and the Government’s efforts at ending LTTE terrorism and driving away Prabhakaran, the UNP went to the voters asking them to send President Rajapaksa home, the Minister said.

Alahapperuma pointed out that this single act amply demonstrated the lack of foresight and insensitive attitude to the people’s aspirations by the UNP which was one of the main reasons behind their heavy defeat.

The Minister while pointing out that the UPFA never stooped to such low levels, stressed that the cornerstone of the UPFA victory was their scientific and disciplined campaign which was based on broader themes such as needs of the people, their aspirations and issues pertaining to the country in general.

The media briefing was attended by other members of the UPFA steering committee on elections including Media and Information Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene, Education Minister Susil Premajayantha, Environment and Natural Resources Minister Champika Ranawaka, Constructions and Engineering Services Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Agriculture Development and Agrarian Services Minister Maithripala Sirisena and Minister of Power, Mahindananda Aluthgamage.


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