Believers celebrate the new government in Sri Lanka.

By April 8, 2004

Sri Lanka (MNN)–Sri Lanka has a new government. The Freedom Alliance narrowly won parliamentary elections, beating out the Buddhist monks. 280 Buddhist monks are campaigning for the first time as a single political force, under the National Heritage Party.

The move concerned believers after one cleric said “Christian churches and Muslim mosques should be shifted out of the sacred city.” Simmering tensions between the Buddhist clergy and the Christians, who are accused of aggressive conversions, came to a head early this year and led to increased oppression.

The new parliament is expected to be sworn in April 22. But a sigh of relief can yet be granted, with the prolonged instability in the nation.

The good news in all this is that the new president wants to open peace talks with rebels. Gospel For Asia’s KP Yohanon welcomes the declaration with open arms because: “The negotiation with the Tamil Tigers will continue, which is the peace process, which means in God’s grace and mercy, there’s a good possibility that finally, after decades of civil war, there may be peace, which will give us freedom to continue to preach the Gospel.”

Yohanon says there is an implied blessing to the elections’ results–an answer to prayer. “The very fact that [the] Buddhist political party lost completely will give us some freedom to continue to do the work, even there will be some persecution.”

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