Gotabaya Rajapaksa confirms presidential run

19 May 2019 06:15 am - 8     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, accused by rights groups of war crimes during the final months of Sri Lanka's long-running civil war a decade ago, has confirmed he plans to run for the presidency in the wake of the Easter Sunday attacks that have shattered the country's uneasy peace.

Rajapaksa, the brother of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, told Al Jazeera that he would stand as a candidate in elections due by late 2019.

"Definitely I'm contesting," Rajapaksa said with a chuckle during an interview in the book-lined study of his home in the capital, Colombo, photos from his military career hanging from the walls.

"I have decided long time. Otherwise, there's no need for me to renounce my US citizenship."

There has long been speculation that Rajapaksa, a Sri Lanka-US dual citizen, will campaign for the presidency.

Rajapaksa has to renounce his US citizenship in order to run for president. His name does not appear on the most recent quarterly filing to the US registry on those who have lost their citizenship, which covers the three months until the end of March.

He insists he is not being an opportunist in revealing his plans in the wake of the attacks on churches and luxury hotels that killed more than 250 people and have fuelled a wave of mob violence against Muslim communities.

"I don't consider it as an opportunity," he told Al Jazeera. "It is not the elections, but it is our country and nation. Something I focused on is destroyed. I'm worried and saddened because of that."

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  Comments - 8

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  • DHA Sunday, 19 May 2019 09:35 AM

    No matter what at this juncture we need tough leaders who could take the country forward and instead of people who support terrorism for votes....I recommend Gota team up with SF again to bring this mess to an end !!!

    TripleX Sunday, 19 May 2019 11:42 AM

    Hope no one knew when he ran away to the US when LTTE was terrorising.

    Raj K Sunday, 19 May 2019 11:43 AM

    NOT tough leader - the law and order

    Raj K Hatton Sunday, 19 May 2019 11:46 AM

    he is NOT the solution as many think - the law and order

    Diminu Sunday, 19 May 2019 11:49 AM

    Great ! Moreover one term is enough for him to sell remaining SL’s assets to China( why not India too)

    Jacob Sunday, 19 May 2019 12:37 PM

    Dimunu, You see anything different happening now?

    Sharon Monday, 20 May 2019 11:04 AM

    Long awaited news. All the best Gota...

    Bryn path Monday, 20 May 2019 03:56 PM

    Goya is my man who can turn the country around and bring back stability .the current Muppets cannot even organise a hopper feed for the hungry peasants at the president's luxury domain.


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