COLOMBO, Aug 14: Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse openly challenged his successor Friday, demanding he respect the "will of the people", after the country's new leader vetoed his ambitions to become prime minister.
In a tersely written letter, Rajapakse rejected President Maithripala Sirisena's accusations against him as "baseless" and hinted he should head the government if his party won the vote. The two men belong to the same party and were allies until late last year, when Sirisena quit as health minister to stand against the veteran strongman in the January 8 presidential election.
On Thursday, Sirisena accused Rajapakse of fuelling communal hatred on the island and said he would choose one of seven senior members of their United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) as prime minister should it win Monday's general election. "Even if I have to intervene to form a coalition, you will not be the prime minister," Sirisena said in a five-page letter to Rajapakse. Rajapakse lambasted the president over the claims.
"The allegations you have made against me are
baseless. You have relied on outsiders to form these
accusations," said Rajapakse. ?AFP