ibnlive » World

Jan 22, 2010 at 08:33pm IST

World look closely as Sri Lanka goes to polls

Colombo: All eyes are on Sri Lanka where a fierce electoral battle is on for the post of the president.

The main competitors are President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Sri Lanka Army chief General Sarath Fonseka.

Rajapaksa is on a campaign for votes in a presidential election that he advance by two years after the Sri Lankan Army killed LTTE chief V Prabhakaran in May 2009.

Rajpaksa hoped the military victory would turn into an electoral victory but that advantage was neutralised when the General Fonseka emerged as the challenger in the political battle field.

But Rajapaksa claims he is not worried about General Fonseka.

"Forget about him," Rajapaksa replied when asked President about fighting the ex-army chief,

But the larger challenge in Sri Lanka cannot be forgotten. Eight months after the annihilation of the LTTE there's still no concrete road map for reconciliation and a political solution for the Tamil question.

"The solution will have to emerge from the people. It cannot be brought from the politicians. It will be a permanent solution, not patch work," says Rajapaksa.

There's no commitment on when that solution emerge leaving the international community disappointed and sections of the Ramil diaspora and sections of the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance which is perceived to be close to New Delhi against Rajapaksa.

Adding to that are embarrassing allegations that USA and Norway are backing General Fonseka.

It's been strongly denied by both countries but it's reminder that the world is watching the Island and it's presidential elections very closely

It's an election that's not just about Sri Lanka and the way forward in the Island. It's also an election that could impact the international balance of power in the region.

That's exactly why New Delhi would be following the developments in the Island very closely.