Thu, May 08, 2008 - Page 5 News List

President suspends parliament in Sri Lanka for a month

DPA AND AFP , COLOMBO

The Sri Lankan president postponed parliament for a month yesterday amid claims by the opposition that the move was aimed at diverting attention from corruption allegations ahead of provincial elections.

The suspension of parliament went into effect at midnight on Tuesday and sittings will resume on June 5 with a ceremonial session presided over by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“This is one of the ways the government can prevent the opposition [from] raising issues about malpractices in the eastern elections,” opposition United National Party Member of Parliament John Amaratunga said.

Eastern provincial elections are scheduled for Saturday. Fully liberated from Tamil rebels last year, it will be the first time in 20 years that elections will be held in the eastern province.

Meanwhile, a series of battles between government forces and Tamil separatists across the north killed 35 rebels while a blast blamed on rebels killed two civilians, the military said yesterday.

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