Sri Lankan presidential election will be the 8th presidential election,which will elect new president for next five years On November 16.
Sri Lankans will go to the polls to elect a new president, a landmark vote as the island nation struggles with a sluggish economy, security challenges and increasing political polarisation.
This year’s election has a record 35 candidates running, from across the political spectrum.
Incumbent Maithripala Sirisena, elected in 2015, will not be seeking re-election, leaving the fight down to the two main candidates according to analysts.
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The ruling United National Party’s (UNP) Sajith Premadasa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa from the opposition Sri Lanka People’s Front (SLPP) party.
A cabinet minister in current Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government, Premadasa is backed by Sri Lanka’s ruling United National Party.
The son of a former president who was assassinated by Tamil rebels in 1993, Premadasa has been in and out of power since entering politics in 1994.
While he is backed by Wickremesinghe, the two have not always gotten along, including when it came to the question of Premadasa being fielded as the UNP-backed candidate in this election.
Premadasa is standing as the candidate for the United National Front (UNF) alliance.
Premadasa is also promising economic reform and will be relying on support from Sri Lanka’s minority Tamil and Muslim populations to get him over the line against a strong Rajapaksa candidacy.
The two minorities together form about 20 percent of Sri Lanka’s 21 million population.
Anura Kumara Dissanayake leads the People’s Liberation Front (JVP) alliance, a leftist political movement that abandoned armed struggle against the government to join politics in 1994.
He is a member of the Parliament of Sri Lanka for Colombo and was chief opposition whip until December 2018.
Despite being in the opposition, Dissanayake became known for speaking out vehemently against the 2018 constitutional crisis which would have unseated Prime Minister Wickremesinghe.
Dissanayake is standing as the candidate backed by the National People’s Power (NPP) alliance.
Sri Lanka’s recently retired army chief, Mahesh Senanayake, is seen by many as the candidate for the apolitical voter.
Senanayake retired in August 2019, having served in the military for 36 years, including through the civil war.
His career was not, however, without controversy: In 2010, he fled the country following a presidential election won by Mahinda Rajapaksa, fearing reprisals for having supported Rajapaksa’s opponent.
He returned in 2015 when Rajapaksa was defeated by Sirisena.
Sri Lankans will vote in November 16 presidential election with security and economy at the top of their minds.