Sri Lanka's president has been accused of untenable arrogance by the prime minister, her rival for power.
President Kumaratunga opposes concessions to the Tamil Tigers
President Chandrika Kumaratunga told the nation on Tuesday that a secret swearing-in ceremony had extended her term by a year - until the end of 2006.
GL Peiris, a spokesman for the prime minister, said the president's move was undemocratic and illegal.
The president and the prime minister's feud has paralysed efforts to make peace with Sri Lankan Tamil rebels.
Talks aimed at ending their decades-long civil war ground to a halt last year, after the president seized several key ministries, claiming Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe had jeopardised national security.
Later on Wednesday, the president's office said her party would sign an electoral pact next week with former left-wing revolutionaries in the People's Liberation Front - the third largest party in parliament.
The BBC's Frances Harrison in Colombo says the decision suggests the president may be thinking of snap polls as a way of breaking the constitutional deadlock.
But she says that few Sri Lankans want another election just two years after the last one.
If the prime minister wins another majority in parliament, the process will not resolve the current stalemate, our correspondent adds.
Mr Peiris told reporters the government believed the president must leave office by the end of next year.
"That degree of arrogance is unacceptable with regard to the tenure of any public position," he said.
"No-one who holds public office is in a position to say that they will decide for themselves when their office comes to an end."
Tamil Tiger rebels have been fighting for two decades
Mr Peiris said the government did not believe there was a legal argument in support of the president's move.
He said he had never heard of a country where the president took part in a secret swearing-in ceremony without the knowledge of parliament and the people.
Observers says it looks as if the president wants to extend her political life, which would normally have ended after two terms in office.
The president's argument is that she still has a year in hand from her first term in office, which she had cut short by calling early elections.
Our correspondent says that even if she has the constitution on her side, she has failed to explain why she did not inform the public earlier.
Mrs Kumaratunga has already said only the chief justice and the foreign minister at the time were present at an oath-taking ceremony no one else in the country knew about.
Below is a selection of your views on this issue.
The president's step doesn't seem to be in salvaging the peace process - rather it seems to be jeopardising the peace process. The nation's interest should be given the first priority rather than president's own interest. She still has to rethink on the last decision she made and should let the talk process of government with LTTE go smoothly otherwise Lanka people will be the ultimate sufferer because of conflict of egoism between two national leaders
Khem Raj Bhusal, Nepal
She is going to be a next dictator from Asia
Harin Peiris, Sri Lanka
World media, especially the BBC, has shown sympthy to LTTE, a barbaric terrorist group that is responsible for the carnage of my beloved country for the last 25 years. Rather than constantly criticising the subsequent Sri Lankan governments why cannot the world media including the BBC, for a change criticise the atrocities of the LTTE...
Sridhara Senarath, Sri Lanka
I think Mrs Kumaratunga doesn't think about her country and her country's developments. She has only war and power in her mind, Sri Lanka can't live with war, Sri Lanka needs peace in time. Tamil Tiger are freedom fighters.
BBC's attempts sometimes to give all the sides of issues is good. But this story does not show the true picture. Sri Lankan president had stated that she can stay for the full term but she might step down. If the numbers of years of a president's term is counted she can stay until 2006. Also the circumstances under which she had to take two oaths was stated clearly. If not for the terrorists' activities it could not have happened. Just like in many other instances we are ready to point at the government when most of the major problems plaguing Sri Lankna now can be drectly or indirectly traced back to the terrorists' activities, who are essentially trying to play violent politics in a democracy.
It's incredible that the President and Prime Minister of a country always seem to be at loggerheads. The one to suffer is ultimately the nation. A 'secret swearing-in ceremony' of a President is unheard of. Why should there be any secrecy?
I'm no expert, but this situation calls for an election which must take place as early as possible to enable the peace process to progress.
Nishanth Logeswaran, Canada
Mrs Kumaratunga is doing the right thing at the right time to save the nation from terrorists.
Mrs kumaratunga is on a big mistake. It's better for her to leave her office honourably. I think its better for Sri Lanka and for her countrymen.
nasir tufail, pakistan
It is high time for President Kumaratunga to stand down in the interests of her nation. Her divide and rule policies have no future and she must respect the mandate of the people given to the PM for peace. The Tamils are not going to sit around and wait forever.These dynastic rulers of Asia are hopefully on their last legs and the demise of the Gandhi clan in Indian politics should be a lesson for all.
The president has the power to do this so why not? The real problem is with the Wickramasinghe government who in a short sighted attempt has negotiated with terrorists and allowed the terrorists to raise funds and abduct more Tamil children and kill more of their adversaries thus denying Tamil people of humane leaders, imposing taxes on residents of the North. That is where the real issue lies that need addressing.
Chitra, Sri Lanka
If someone thinks that she acts democratically, definitely the word democracy should be redefined. She is a real shame for all the Sri Lankans.
S. Kodikara, Australia
BBC only publish articles supporting Tiger Terrorist, Never support the innocent Sihalese People in Sri Lanka, Sinhalese people are suffering mainly as a result of British colonisation of our island...We know the answer to this problem is to defeat the terrorist and bring lasting peace to our island.
Palita Kuruppu, Sri Lanka
Fights among the top leaders have been the bane of politics of the sub-continent. This has held back all development. The people have suffered for the bloated egos of these leaders.
Buroshiva Dasgupta, Eritrea/Iindia
The majority of the people just don't want to see the war again. I think the politicians should just listen to the voices of the majority of the people and work for a peaceful solution. I think the majority of the people have suffered enough and they all deserve a better life, at least a day with three meals. So, for that majority of the people's sake I beg all the party involves in Sri Lanka to try everything you can to better the situation for that majority.... after all, Sri Lanka is a democratic country.
Now world have seen Mrs Kumaratunga's true colours and who is really blocking the peace in the Sri Lanka. She has once again proved politicians only care themself execpt the innocent public.
V. Muraleetharan, UK
It may be that many people doesn't like the president. It doesn't mean she is greedy for the power. She is the person who [has the] only real solution for minorities. If LTTE claim for a seperate state or control, what will happen to the Muslims, Malay , Burger people. They also need a separate state to control.
Henn, Sri Lanka
I believe with President Kumaratunga you see the manner, the arrogance, in which successive generations of political families treat their opponents. It is particularly in the developing world where dynasties can be so easily established or successors groomed: see India, Malaysia, Indonesia, even North Korea, for examples of sons and daughters following their fathers and mothers into politics, based on family (and perhaps popular) expectations to follow through on policies, rather than their wanting to serve the people and the state.
Julian Idle, New Zealand
This is an undemocratic act of the president. Having the sweeping powers of presidency & the backing of the neighbouring country, president is acting out of the way to destabilise the peace process & the country. I think its time for her to go, time for peace to come to the country.
Aruna Ahilan, UK
President Kumaratunga beggars belief...she is a tragedy for her country, a disgrace to it. It deserves better. What to do? Well she should be internationally isolated, and not welcome here in the UK officially or otherwise.
She should do the noble thing and leave office honourable.
Akpananwa Asukpa, Nigeria
It should be noted that in a democratic country, all swearing in ceremonies of elected president or parliament should be publicly made, since people elect them democratically. No secrecy is permissible.
S.A.Rajeswaran, Sri Lanka
The President vs the Prime minister vs some rebel group is an extension of the epic wars of imaginary gods and deities of a timeless past drifting aimlessly into an uncertain future. Sri Lanka, like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, must come to grips with its collective misery and grab from everywhere the lessons of prosperity, security, stability and progress. Introspection with internationalism.
The Sri Lankan constitution gives the absolute right to its president to decide what she wants. The president has the power to manipulate it according to their desire. What is interesting to note here is that the government of Sri Lanka wants to resolve the two decades of ethnic dispute under its existing constitution. How Tamils can expect a fair deal?
Mrs Kumaratunga is making a big mistake. I returned from Sri Lanka 4 weeks ago and my impression from talking to the people there was that, although there is an underlying sympathy with her for her stance against the LTTE, nobody wants a return to civil war - and that is where most of the people I met saw her leading them... Sri Lanka is a country with vast potential but whilst the president is playing games with power she is also playing games with her country's economy and social stability. I got the impression of a country holding it's breath until the power struggle is resolved.
Chris E, UK