Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa appoints Tamil leader as deputy minister

COLOMBO(TIP): Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today on October 10 appointed senior Tamil parliamentarian V S Radhakrishnan as a Deputy Minister, a move aimed at wining the support of the community ahead of his third re-election bid.

The President’s office announced the swearing-in of Radhakrishnan, a member of the Upcountry People’s Front (UPF), as the Deputy Minister of Botanical Gardens and Public Recreation.

A senior parliamentarian of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), Radhakrishnan contested the 2010 General Election under the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) ticket from Nuwara Eliya District, and came second in preference votes.

The CWC is the large trade union cum political party in the central hill districts. It represents the larger section of the Indian Tamil population in the central districts of Nuwara Eliya and Badulla.

The CWC support enabled the Rajapaksa’s ruling coalition UPFA to win the Uva (south eastern) provincial council election held on September 20. However, the ruling coalition suffered a significant loss in votes in the face of a stiff challenge posed by the main opposition UNP.

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Ahead of the Uva election, Rajapaksa rewarded two more allies representing the Tamil community with similar deputy ministerial positions.

Sri Lanka President is widely believed to call a snap presidential election in a bid to win his third term.

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