, COLOMBO, Nov 23 – Sri Lanka\\\\\\\’s president Mahinda Rajapakse Monday announced he was calling a snap election to seek a second term, six months after his security forces defeated separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.
President Rajapakse said in a statement that he was seeking a fresh mandate after completing four years in office out of his six-year term.
"The work I should have done during my six year term has been completed in four," the president said. "Therefore, I have decided to have an early presidential election. I am not afraid to go before the people now."
However, he did not say when the vote will be held. Local media reports have speculated that the voting could be held on January 23.
Earlier in the day, Media Minister Anura Yapa said the president had told constituent parties of the ruling coalition that he was going for a snap election ahead of parliamentary elections which are due by April.
"This morning the president met with all party leaders (of the ruling People\\\\\\\’s Alliance coalition) and decided that the president election will be held soon," Yapa said.
Sri Lanka\\\\\\\’s constitution allows the president to call a snap poll after completing four years in office. He came to power in November 2005.
The government had been keen to hold early elections to benefit from the Tamil separatists\\\\\\\’ defeat, which finally ended decades of bloody ethnic conflict on the island.
However, former army general Sarath Fonseka, who is widely credited with the military strategy that secured victory in May, is expected to stand against Rajapakse.