After release, Fonseka to form political party

Colombo: Sri Lanka`s former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka, who had dared to challenge the country`s powerful President in the 2010 electoral battle, will now form his own political party. Fonseka, 61, was released from prison on Monday on a presidential pardon after spending two years in prison.

Jayantha Ketagoda, a member of the Sri Lankan parliament told PTI today that the former Army Commander and presidential candidate will form his own political party, an application for which has already been submitted. "We have submitted the registration application to the elections commissioner under the name Democratic Party (DP)," Ketagoda said. adding "this was done when the General (Fonseka) was in prison".

Fonseka was elected to the parliament on a Democratic National Alliance (DNA) ticket, backed by the main Left party JVP. The former Army Commander was unseated from his Colombo district parliamentary seat as a result of his conviction by military court. Asked about the fate of the DNA after Fonseka forms his own party, Ketagoda said DNA was a broader political front formed out of an alliance with other parties.

He would continue to lead DNA while leading the new party. Despite being freed from jail on a presidential pardon, question marks still hang over his civic rights. The legal opinion is that his conviction and the jail term has disqualified him from being an elector for a period of seven years which also rules him out from contesting elections.