‘Staggered polls beneficial to Govt.’
‘Opp. common candidate should be from UNP’

Addressing an election rally in support of the Muslim Congress candidates, contesting the forthcoming Southern Provincial Council elections, President of the SLMC, Rauff Hakeem said staggered elections were beneficial to the government and it could not achieve the same results at a countrywide election.

Addressing propaganda rallies in Matara and Weligama, Hakeem said an increase of minority votes for the Government could help change the attitude of the international community towards Sri Lanka.

He pointed out that the SLMC had been instrumental in introducing the Proportional Representation system in 1988 and it had benefited parties like the JVP and the Up-country Peoples Front.

Explaining why the SLMC had decided to go it alone in the South, Hakeem said it was difficult for a Muslim candidate to poll many votes if the party contested on the ticket of a major party. Furthermore, several Muslim organisations in the South had urged the SLMC to contest separately, Hakeem said.

The SLMC leader said: "Winning the war has placed the Government at an advantageous position to win elections but weakening the main Opposition will endanger democracy. It is important for the Opposition to name a common candidate to contest the presidential elections but naming such a candidate from outside the main Opposition UNP will not bring the desired results."

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