News

Chamal seeks replacement option

By Easwaran Rutnam

Former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa has sought a way out from contesting the upcoming presidential election and has sought the opinion of the Election Commission (EC) on the possibility of being replaced at the last minute.

The Sri Lanka Nidahas Podujana Peramuna placed the deposit at the Elections Commission (EC) on Friday on behalf of Chamal Rajapaksa.

Rajapaksa was to contest as an independent candidate in the event Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa was prevented from contesting due to legal issues.

EC sources told The Sunday Morning that after the deposit was paid, Chamal Rajapaksa’s representatives had asked the Commission if they can replace the candidate at the last minute, if required.

The EC had responded saying the Commission would need to meet and discuss the issue to decide on the matter.

The opinion had been sought before the Court of Appeal dismissed the citizenship case filed against Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday.

The SLPP said that Chamal Rajapaksa was a “back-up plan” in the event Gotabaya Rajapaksa was prevented from contesting.

SLPP Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Friday night that the SLPP had taken precautions to ensure that even if by today (Sunday) Gotabaya Rajapaksa was prevented from contesting, then there was an alternative in place.

Handing over of nominations by the presidential candidates will take place today.

Chamal Rajapaksa will either withdraw from the presidential race or be replaced by a candidate who will simply be a “dummy candidate” supporting Gotabaya Rajapaksa.