- Title: SRI LANKA: SRI LANKA'S BUDDHIST CLERGY LOOKS SET TO WIN A KEY PROTEST VOTE
- Date: 29th March 2004
- Summary: (W3) COLOMBO, SRI LANKA (MARCH 29, 2004) 1. SV KELANIYA TEMPLE 0.03 2. SV/LV BUDDHISTS PRAYING AT TEMPLE (3 SHOTS) 0.18 3. SV CANDIDATE MONKS ARRIVING WITH SUPPORTERS 0.23 4. SV OF FOLLOWERS AT RELIGIOUS CEREMONY LED BY CANDIDATE MONKS (2 SHOTS) 0.41 5. SLV/SV PEOPLE PRAYING (2 SHOTS) 0.53 6. MCU (English) REVEREND OMALPE SOBITHA SPEAKIGN (AUDIO DAMAGED) 1.17 7. SV/MCU OF MONKS PRAYING IN MONASTERY (2 SHOTS) 1.26 8. MCU (English) PAIKIASOTHY SARAVANAMUTTU, HEAD OF THE INDEPENDENT 'CENTRE FOR POLICY ALTERNATIVES', SPEAKING (AUDIO DAMAGED) 1.51 9. SV PRIESTS CAMPAIGNING 1.55 10. SLV CROWD LISTENING 2.02 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 13th April 2004 13:00
- Location: COLOMBO, SRI LANKA
- Country: Sri Lanka
- Reuters ID: LVACY1SPC5VALX1EVOXZKJEN8UJA
- Story Text: Sri Lanka's Buddhist clergy looks set to win a key
Sri Lanka's Buddhist clergy looks set to win a key
protest vote in Friday's (April 2) election, tapping
nationalist sentiment in the face of concessions to Tamil
rebels and bolstered by a population fed up with mainstream
Campaigning for the first time as a single political
force, 280 monks are running nationwide on a platform to
protect the majority Sinhalese -- who are predominantly
Buddhist -- and to rid the country of corruption.
Campaigning monks said their aim was to unite those
divided on party lines and "establish a righteous nation".
"Our purpose is to serve everyone, not only the
Sinhala ethnic groups, all those ethnic groups who are
living in the country, to make them happy, and also they
are integrating and unity. This is the only way, what we
call Dharma Deepaya - the state of justice," said candidate
Reverend Omalpe Sobitha on Monday (March 29), surrounded by
saffron-robed monks at one of Colombo's biggest temples.
But the monks oppose an agreement forged at peace talks
with the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels to pursue a federal
model and say the unity of the nation and a foremost place
for Sinhalese must be preserved in any deal to end the
20-year civil war.
Campaign literature refers to plans to forge a sacred
area around the Temple of the Tooth -- Sri Lanka's holiest
Buddhist site in the hill country city of Kandy -- and to
remove religious and ethnic minorities.
Polls show the monks, who are running under the newly
formed National Heritage Party, could win as many as four
seats in the 225-seat parliament -- an expression of
frustration with the two main parties of President
Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil
Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, who heads the independent
Centre for Policy Alternatives, said on Monday: "I think
that the entrance of 280 odd Buddhist monks under the
banner of one party does suggest that the two main parties
It is an indictment on their ability together
to represent all sections of the Sinhala population. There
is a great deal of disillusionment, there is a great deal
in fact of distaste as well, for the corruption etc."
The monks say it is their party that can bring both
peace and prosperity to the island.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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