COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, June 16 (UPI) -- The Sri Lankan ruling coalition has split after a key party quit in protest at government plans for a tsunami aid deal with the Tamil Tiger rebels.
The Sinhala-nationalist People's Liberation Front, or JVP, left the coalition Wednesday night after an ultimatum for the government to stop the plan expired, the BBC reported.
President Chandrika Kumaratunga has said she plans to distribute $2 billion in pledged aid from the international donor community together with the Tamil Tigers, a militant rebel group. The JVP said this cooperation would give credibility to the Tigers, who want to set up a Tamil state.
The JVP has 39 seats in Sri Lanka's 225-member Parliament, enough to deprive Kumaratunga's government of its working majority by withdrawing.
Kumaratunga has said the proposed aid plan is purely an administrative tool to distribute money and that it could open doors to lasting peace.
Violent demonstrations over the past few days have highlighted the unpopularity of the deal.
Nearly 31,000 Sri Lankans died in the Dec. 26 tsunami, and another half-million were made homeless. Most of those affected were in the area dominated by the Tamil Tigers.