Home » Three-way fight for Sri Lankan Presidency; Premadasa withdraws, to back Dullas

Three-way fight for Sri Lankan Presidency; Premadasa withdraws, to back Dullas

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oi-Deepika S

| Published: Tuesday, July 19, 2022, 11:31 [IST]

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Colombo, July 19: Three MPs were nominated on Tuesday by Sri Lankan parliamentarians for the post of President.

Wickremesinghe, 73, will face off against Dullas Alahapperuma, a 63-year-old staunch Sinhala Buddhist nationalist and a key member of the breakaway group of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party and the leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Anura Kumara Dissanayake, 53, it was officially announced in Parliament.

Three-way fight for Sri Lankan Presidency; Premadasa withdraws, to back Dullas File photo of Sri Lankan Parliament

Sajith Premadasa, the 55-year-old leader of Sri Lanka's principal opposition party Samagi Jana Balawegaya, said on Tuesday that he was withdrawing from the race of President to provide support to Alahapperuma.

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Premadasa said that his party and the opposition partners will work toward making Alahapperuma victorious in the Presidential elections.

The 225-member Parliament is expected to elect the new president on July 20.

Alahapperuma is a staunch Sinhala Buddhist nationalist and a key member from the breakaway group of SLPP. The ex-Cabinet Minister of Information and Mass Media and former newspaper columnist is being seen as a left-leaning political ideologue. He has held ministerial positions since 2005 and enjoys the reputation of having a clean public life.

The third candidate in the fray is the leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Anura Kumara Dissanayake. Wednesday's vote would also be a rare occasion when the House Speaker will vote. Never in the history of the presidency since 1978, Parliament had voted to elect a president.

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According to a PTI report, Presidential elections in 1982, 1988, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2019 had elected them by popular vote. The only previous occasion when the presidency became vacant mid-term was in 1993 when president Ranasinghe Premadasa was assassinated. DB Wijetunga was unanimously endorsed by Parliament to run the balance of Premadasa's term.

The new president will serve the remaining tenure of Rajapaksa till November 2024. The 225-member Parliament is dominated by the ruling SLPP party, which has nearly 100 lawmakers.

Story first published: Tuesday, July 19, 2022, 11:31 [IST]

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