Although Sri Lanka has ended its 37-year civil war the in today's presidential election, fortune tellers and astrologers still play a large part in the countries' politics.
Apparently the decision to call the snap election, the exact date of voting and the emergence of opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka is the result of astrologers' advise.
Astrologers' forecasts are accepted as more reliable than the more conventional methods of gauging the poll results.
In this superstitious country many politicians have personal astrologers and all events are seen to be determined by the planets.
The national parliament has its sessions at times times dictated by astrology .
There was a case where former president, Ranasinghe Premadasa, even used air force helicopters to sprinkle blessed soil over key cities. He also used psychics to ward off an impeachment against him in 1991. However, his fortune tellers could didn't predict that he would be assassinated without warning in a suicide bombing in May 1993.
In this presidential contest, President Mahinda Rajapakse, a lawyer by profession, is standing against his former army chief and close friend Sarath Fonseka with whom he defeated the country's Tamil Tiger rebels last year, ending their 37-year battle for a Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka.
However the friendship was strained after a Buddhist monk and respected astrologer predicted that Sarath Fonseka was going through a "raaja yoga", which means a sign of "great things" usually seen in the astrological chart of a statesmen.
Rumours say that Mahinda Rajapakse's government saw Sarath Fonseka, who is regarded as a national hero after the war, as a threat, as he could successfully pull off a coup given his powerful celestial position and popularity.
Sarath Fonseka then quit as head of the armed forces in November and entered politics, saying that the government suspects him of mutiny and has moved to sideline him.
Mahinda Rajapakse decided to call the presidential election 2 years earlier before the end of his term relying on several astrological predictions saying that January 26 2010 is the most favourable date for him should the poll be held.
Both sides appear to have soothsayers on their side predicting their win.
In Asia, it is not uncommon for leaders to rely on the supernatural to regulate their lives and the fortunes of their countries on the basis of superstitious beliefs.
In Malaysia, local politicians consult bomohs to obtain advantages against their adversaries when the party or general election looms close.
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