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Sajith Premadasa Strengthens Position in Sri Lanka Elections

Published Nov 05, 2019
Updated Feb 06, 2020

The contest to replace Maithripala Sirisena as Sri Lankan president has intensified with the two main contestants ruling United National Party (UNP) leader Sajith Premadasa and former defence secretary and SLPP candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa expanding their outreach.

The minority vote may swing the polls and in this Sajith Premadasa has attained a lead.

Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) the main constituent party of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has decided support the New Democratic Front (NDF) Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa at the 2019 presidential elections.

The decision to unconditionally support Premadasa was taken at the meeting of the party’s central committee on 03 November.  TNA leader R. Sampanthan and the leader of the ITAK, MP MavaiSenathirajah took a final decision regarding the party’s position at the presidential election.

Meanwhile on 04 NovembreAll Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC), Sri Lanka Muslim party, headed by Minister RishadBathiudeen hailed the decision by Sri Lanka’s leading Tamil coalition to back New Democratic Front (NDF) candidate Sajith Premadasa in the forthcoming Presidential election.

“I praise Tamil National Alliance’ decision to support NDF candidate Sajith Premadasa in the Presidential election. Their unconditional support is good news and it makes us very happy,” said ACMC leader, Minister of Industry and Commerce RishadBathiudeen. Addressing a pre-election rally in support of Premadasa in Salambakulam, Vavuniya yesterday (Nov. 03)

ACMC Leader Bathiudeen reminded that Sri Lankan minorities were united during 2015 Presidential elections too. “Tamils and Muslims supported the Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena in the 2015 Presidential election and got him elected as the President. The minorities are uniting this time to elect Sajith Premadasa and Sajith will be the winner this time,” Bathiudeen said adding that the majority of the Sri Lankan minorities now support Sajith Premadasa.

“The racists within the opposition Presidential Candidate’s camp will be silenced once Sajith wins this election. They harassed our Muslims after Easter Sunday attacks to fan the flames of communalism within the majority community so that their votes would increase within the majority, thereby returning them to power,” Minister Bathiudeen said.

ACMC Leader cautioned that “If the opposition Presidential Candidate wins and returns to power, the minorities of Sri Lanka should be ready to face lawless, racist tyranny.” ACMC has pledged its support to Presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa of the UNP led alliance New Democratic Front (NDF) at the election on November 16.

The support by Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa may put him in favour however the adverse backlash from the Sinhala population would have to be assessed.

[Based on inputs from Colombo Page]