As many as 35 candidates on Monday filed nominations for Sri Lanka’s Presidential election scheduled this November. This is a record number of nominations for the contest to the country’s highest office, Election Commission officials said.
On Sunday, when a total of 41 hopefuls paid deposits for nominations, it became clear that President Maithripala Sirisena was not seeking a re-election. Six of them withdrew from the race on Monday, a senior official told The Hindu.
Among those who filed nominations on Monday are the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP)’s Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a powerful ex-defence secretary and the brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the ruling United National Party’s deputy leader Sajith Premadasa, the leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’s Anura Kumara Dissanayake and former army commander Mahesh Senanayake.
Additionally, former MP of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) M. K. Sivajilingam filed nominations as an independent candidate, as did former Easter Province Governor M.L.A.M. Hisbullah.
The main contest this election is expected to be between Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Mr. Premadasa, while Mr. Dissanayake too is generating considerable interest, particularly among voters disillusioned with the main parties.