Sri Lankan opposition aims to defeat government

Colombo: Sri Lanka's "Joint Opposition", staunch supporters of former President Mahinda Rajapakse, on Sunday said it will defeat President Maithripala Sirisena's government in the coming months and form a new regime. Joint Opposition MP Udaya Gammanpila told Xinhua news agency that a procession by the Joint Opposition that had begun from Kandy in central Sri Lanka on July 28 had received "tremendous support" from the public. Thousands had already joined the procession which will conclude in capital Colombo this week, Gammanpila said. "Despite the hindrances by the government to stop this procession, we are going to go ahead and make sure we gain a majority in parliament soon." Certain members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) who are part of the existing coalition government had also shown their support and had informed their supporters to join the procession, he said. Sirisena, in a statement on Saturday, said any street protests would not shake his regime and the government formed between the SLFP and the United National Party (UNP) would continue for the next five years, reversing an earlier decision of working together for two years. Sirisena said his government has dedicated itself to fulfilling the mandate given to the people and would continue with its economic and development plans.