Sri Lanka's election commission announces presidential polls on November 16

Maithripala Sirisena

Sri Lanka's election commission on Wednesday announced to hold presidential polls in the country on November 16.

Filing of the nomination papers will start from October 7, the National Election Commission said.

Nearly 15.9 million people are eligible to vote, it said.

According to constitutional provisions, the polls must be held one month before the end of the current president's term.

President Maithripala Sirisena's five-year term is scheduled to end on January 8, 2020.

On May 30, speaking to media in New Delhi after attending Prime Minister Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony, Sirisena had said that he was yet to decide on seeking another term.

With today's announcement Sirisena would be making his exit as president two months before the expiry of his full term.

Sirisena was elected for a five year-term on January 8, 2015 when he challenged the incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa. The former strongman had called snap elections two years ahead of the end of his second term.

Sirisena, backed by the then main Opposition United National Party (UNP), became the common Opposition candidate against his former boss Rajapaksa.

Although Sirisena has not so far declared his intention for a re-run, his souring of relationships with the UNP of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has indicated that the UNP would be fielding its own candidate.

Sirisena in October last year sacked Wickremesinghe, who elevated him to the presidency, and replaced him with Rajapaksa. The move led to a constitutional impasse, which lasted over 50 days. After the intervention by the Supreme Court, Wickremesinghe was restored as the prime minister.

Meanwhile, the SLPP has announced Gotabaya Rajapaksa as their presidential candidate, while JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake is set to contest the poll on National People's Power movement ticket, according to media reports.

The UNP and the SLFP are yet to announce their presidential candidates.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel