The tsunami of December 26, 2004, the biggest natural disaster to strike Sri Lanka in centuries, dominated the scene in the first half of 2005. Disputes within the government on arrangements to distribute international aid in cooperation with the major militant Tamil rebel group resulted in political turmoil. While the economy continued to grow in the absence of open war, both the government and the Tamil Tigers tried to gain military and political advantage. In the second half of the year, a presidential election presented voters with some striking policy alternatives.

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