The General will speak out in parliament: Anoma

By Leon Berenger, Pic by J. Weerasekera

Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka who is now in military detention will be able to speak in public since he is now covered by parliamentary privilege after winning at Thursday's General elections, his wife said.

The ex-Army Commander who has been in detention since February this year at the Navy Heaquarters in Colombo received 98,458 preference votes in the Colombo District thereby gaining a seat in the next Parliament and is set to attend the sittings where he will be able to speak out, his wife Anoma Fonseka said.

Anoma Fonseka gets ready the traditional national garb that will be worn by her husbandwhen he attends parliament, at their Queen’s Road residence yesterday.

Ms. Fonseka who acted as a proxy and spokeswoman for her husband during the election campaign said Thursday's victory was "something against the government and something good for my husband".
"I am happy to have done what I did and will continue to do what I have to do until justice is done to my husband. The authorities cannot stop me or, for that matter, my husband," she said.

"By obtaining 98,458 from a total of 110,683 votes received by the DNA the former Army Chief commandeered the single largest percentage by any candidate in any of the districts, she pointed out. She said her husband gave a silent smile when the good news was broken to him on Friday that he had been elected from the Colombo District. "It was the same smile he gave when he was informed that the war had been won," she said.

She also added that this time around they did not take any chances at the counting centres. "I was present in person at the counting centre, and some politicians attempted some intimidation tactics but they did not work. However some elections staff and even police officers were helpful and sympathetic towards my plight," she said.

She said that on Friday her husband was hauled before another court martial hearing, but unknown to the Major Generals and others present in the room, the man in the dock had just received a mandate from the people of Colombo, to serve the country as an elected Member of Parliament.

The General's Democratic National Alliance (DNA) backed by the Janatha Vimukthi Perumana (JVP) won five seats in parliament. Meanwhile DNA General Secretary Vijitha Herath said the General's victory was a defeat to the Government's repeated efforts to silence him during the campaign.

"This is the first time in history of this country that a political leader was able to achieve such a mandate through a proxy while being prevented from even uttering a single word during the campaign.

This only goes on to prove that the former Army Commander cannot be stopped in what he plans to achieve for the future of the country and we will carry his message to every corner of the country," Mr. Herath said.

He said the DNA was set up only weeks before the elections and it was encouraged by the five seats it won. He said the DNA would fight on to become a new political force.

Mr. Herath also thanked the people who voted for the DNA, saying that it was interesting to note that they had not lost their faith in the former Army Commander despite all the obstructions and harassment before and after the elections.

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