The main Marxist ally of Sri Lanka's ruling coalition government has quit in protest over a plan to share the distribution of tsunami aid with the Tamil Tiger rebels.
The People's Liberation Front, popularly known as the JVP, has 39 seats in the 225-seat parliament in which President Chandrika Kumaratunga has only a five-seat majority.
President Kumaratunga wants to share the distribution of tsunami aid with the Tamil Tigers as an opportunity to forge peace with them. The donors also have insisted on a joint aid-distribution mechanism.
But the JVP and the country's influential Buddhist monks have opposed the move, saying such an agreement would help the rebels' cause for a separate state.
Reports from Colombo say the pullout may not bring the government down because the president has secured support of some of the opposition lawmakers in parliament.