Opposition Leader will be the Presidential candidate from Sri Lanka’s main opposition party

Colombo: Sri Lanka’s opposition and the main opposition United National Party (UNP) Ranil Wickremasinghe will be the candidate for the president from the party at the much anticipated presidential election, a party leader said.

The chairman of the UNP Leadership Council, parliamentarian Karu Jayasuriya said Wickremasinghe, the two-time Prime Minister, is an intelligent leader with an unblemished record.

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe, Boris Johnson (the Lord Mayor of London) and Dr. Liam Fox, chatting outside the Hyatt Hotel in Birmingham during his visit to participate in the UK’s Conservative Party convention in London

Speaking of the presidential election that is speculated to be held in January, Jayasuriya expressed doubts that the election will be free and fair.
He pointed out that the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) on September 25 opened an election office in Colombo and a large number of civil servants of the government, such as ministry secretaries attended the opening.

He said the participation of about 62 officers of the administration services in political functions is a violation of the law and the ruling party’s presidential election campaign has already begun to break the rules.

He said the ruling party without hesitation has already conveyed the message that the government mechanisms and resources will be used for the President’s election campaign.

Jayasuriya said the media has a responsibility to enlighten the public on these blatant violations by the government and expressed hope that media would act accordingly.

The senior UNP leader asked the President to conduct the election freely and fairly and challenged the President to run the presidential race from the same starting line and not from ahead of the others.

Responding to media queries, the Chairman of the Leadership Council said the party agrees with the former Chief Justice Sarath Nanda de Silva’s stance that the President legally cannot run for a third time.

He said the party has sought the opinion of the Supreme Court judges, prominent local and international jurists including the legal professionals of the Commonwealth and all have agreed the former Chief Justice that the President is not eligible to run for a third time. However, if the President contests for a third time then it would be an illegal election, he said.

Jayasuriya said the party has an intelligent, uncorrupted leader in Ranil wickremasinghe and the leadership council is continuing its work on strengthening the party unity and increasing the grassroots support to field the party leader at the elections.

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