Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa
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Sri Lankan MPs vote in sweeping powers for president

Sri Lankan MPs have approved proposals to let President Mahinda Rajapaksa seek an unlimited number of terms, in a move critics say could lead to dictatorship.

The constitutional amendment also hugely boosts the president's powers.

Amid protest and counter-protest in the capital Colombo, MPs in the 225-member parliament voted for the proposals by 161 to 17 against.

The main opposition United National Party boycotted the vote, but many of its MPs voted with the government.

The lifting of the two-term presidential limit allows Mr Rajapaksa to stand again in 2016.

Charles Haviland reports from Sri Lanka.

  • 08 Sep 2010
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