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Last updated: 22 June, 2009 - Published 13:48 GMT
 
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President to be in power 'for ever'
 
President Mahinda Rajapaksa with Army Commander, General Sarath Fonseka
Chief minister says the president is successfully handling development work "after establishing peace in Sri Lanka"

Mahinda Rajapaksa will be the executive president of Sri Lanka for life after next general elections, a senior leader of the ruling party said.

Chief Minister of north central province Berty Premalal Dissanayake said that nobody will be able to change President Rakapaksa becoming the lifetime president in Sri Lanka.

He made the remarks addressing the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Central Committee in Seruvila electorate on Sunday.

"It is very clear that Mahinda Rajapaksa will be the lifetime president of this country once we amend the constitution following a victory in the general elections," he said.

'No elections'

Any change to Sri Lanka's constitution needs to be approved by a two thirds majority in parliament.

 It is very clear that Mahinda Rajapaksa will be the lifetime president of this country once we amend the constitution following a victory in the general elections
 
Berty Premalal Dissanayake

However, any extension to the term of office of the president should be approved by a referendum.

The chief minister of the north central province was confident that the ruling party will be able to get a two thirds majority in a future general election.

Earlier, Local Government Minister Janaka Tennakoon has told Sunday Times newspaper that the government plans to extend the term of the president without holding a presidential election.

However, in a statement, Media minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa has said the government has no such plans.

"We believe in people's mandate and the democratic right of the ballot and this we have demonstrated many times.The people have positively responded in large majorities to elect representatives to all bodies in a democratic manner," the minister was quoted by the government Information Department.

 
 
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