Sri Lanka opposition protests constitutional changes

Last Updated: Tue, Jul 06, 2010 08:30 hrs

Sri Lanka's main opposition party staged a protest Tuesday against proposed constitutional reforms that would enable the president to stand for a third term.

United National Party legislators carried placards and chanted slogans at parliament.

'President Mahinda Rajapaksa is trying to remain in power forever,' party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

Rajapaksa's United People's Freedom Alliance, re-elected in April with a nearly two-thirds majority in the 225-seat parliament, is trying to eliminate the two-term limit for president.

Rajapaksa won his second six-year term in January, largely due to the military defeat of separatist Tamil rebels to end a 26-year civil war.

The ruling party needs 150 votes to approve the amendment, but currently has only 144 members and talks are underway with opposition members to canvass support.

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