Sri Lankan ruling coalition partner quits government, demands curb on presidential powers

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A partner of Sri Lanka's ruling coalition has quit the government after accusing President Mahinda Rajapaksa of not heeding its call to prune his powers and implement democratic reforms.

Technology and Research Minister Champika Ranawaka, who represents the National Sinhala Heritage party, announced Tuesday that he had resigned from the Cabinet and that a provincial minister is also expected to quit his position.

He said the decision was taken after Rajapaksa refused to agree to their 35 demands, including a curb in presidential powers and making him answerable to Parliament and the courts. The proposals also included more independence for Parliament and the courts.

The move comes as Rajapaksa campaigns for a third term as president in an election planned for next year.