Battle for Sri Lanka

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Wickremesinghe, on the campaign trail, speaking to soldiers

There are not many elections where candidates campaign behind razor wire, surrounded by 14 bodyguards and watched over by helicopter gunships. But then there are not many elections that could make the difference between war and peace. To press his case in this week's vote for Sri Lanka's presidency, opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has flown a plane of reporters north to an army base at Palaly, a peninsula of shrimp ponds and sandy jungle which is both a spiritual home to the island's Tamil minority and a key battleground for its Tamil guerrillas. While Wickremesinghe chats amiably to the soldiers, there...