World leaders call for early Presidential elections

[TamilNet, Friday, 22 July 2005, 10:35 GMT]
A resolution by the International Democratic Union (IDU) which met in Washington DC Monday under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister John Howard of Australia, expressed concern "at the attempts made by the Government of Sri Lanka to postpone the Presidential Election scheduled for this year [2005]," and called for the elections to be held in 2005, said a press release issued by the opposition United National Party offices Thursday.

Full text of the press release follows:

"Washington, D.C. - July 19, 2005 Under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister John Howard of Australia, the International Democrat Union (IDU) yesterday unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the Sri Lanka Presidential election to be held in 2005.

The resolution stated, ?The IDU expresses its concern at the attempts made by the Government of Sri Lanka to postpone the Presidential Election scheduled for this year. The IDU supports the efforts of the UNP and other democratic organizations to ensure that the sovereignty of the people is upheld and the people of Sri Lanka are able to exercise their franchise for the election of a President of the Republic this year.?

Party Leaders from 26 countries, including 3 Prime Ministers participated at the meeting. This included the Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen, Chairman of the U.S. Republican Party Ken Mehlman and Liam Fox Chairman of the Conservative party of the U.K. Those endorsing this resolution also included the German CDU, German CSU, French Conservative UMP, the Spanish Peoples Party, Canadian Conservative Party, and the Greek New Demokratica.

The meeting Chairman, Prime Minister John Howard congratulated Mr. Wickremesinghe on his unanimous election as Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Democrat Union (APDU). In that capacity Mr. Wickremesinghe becomes a Vice-Chairman of the IDU along with the Foreign Minister of Norway Jan Petersen and Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis.

At Prime Minister Howard?s initiative the IDU party leaders expressed the hope that member parties from Sri Lanka, Norway, Canada, Germany and Honduras succeed at elections due in this coming year.

Later, Mr. Wickremesinghe along with other party leaders met with President George W. Bush at the White House at a roundtable discussion on freedom and democracy. At the meeting, Mr. Wickremesinghe was one of four IDU members to address the global party leaders. U.S. National Security Advisor Steven Hadley was also present at the discussion.

Following a successful visit to Washington, D.C. and meetings with key U.S. and world leaders, Mr. Wickremesinghe returns to Sri Lanka on Friday morning."


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