Pres­i­den­tial Run

Southasia - - BRIEFINGS -

the an­nounce­ment of an early pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, to be held in Jan­uary 2015, Sri Lankan Pres­i­dent Mahinda Ra­japaksa re­ceived a shock as his health min­is­ter Maithri­pala Sirisena re­signed from his post to be­come the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of the op­po­si­tion par­ties. The move sur­prised many and it is be­lieved that the new op­po­si­tion can­di­date will give Pres­i­dent Ra­japaksa a good run for his money in the up­com­ing elec­tions.

At least five other min­is­ters and party mem­bers of Pres­i­dent Ra­japaksa’s Sri Lankan Free­dom Party also joined the de­fec­tion led by Sirisena, who served as the rul­ing party’s gen­eral sec­re­tary as well. Sirisena was nom­i­nated by a united group of op­po­si­tion par­ties to be the main chal­lenger against Ra­japaksa. The op­po­si­tion par­ties had been claim­ing for months that they would field a joint can­di­date. Sirisena pledged to ap­point Ranil Wick­remesinghe, the leader of the op­po­si­tion United Na­tional Party, as prime min­is­ter if he was elected pres­i­dent.

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