While saying that the citizens of the country should discern wisely and courageously on the choice of the presidential candidate, the Catholic Bishops Conference (CBC) of Sri Lanka said the President of the country should rise above party politics.
Issuing a statement, it said the future president should be a person of integrity, who could work in close collaboration with all safeguarding the freedom and rights of the people, upholding the democratic principles and working for the sustainable development of the country.
The statement is as follows:
"Given the brutal attacks suffered by innocent people on Easter Sunday, we also urge our leaders to commit themselves to ensure that religious extremism and racism are eradicated and peaceful coexistence among all ethnic and religious groups in our country is vigorously pursued.
"We expect the future president and the government to formulate national policies regarding: Religious Freedom, National Security, Health, Education, Economy and Responsible Management of Natural Resources meant to serve succeeding generations, to ensure sustainable development of the country. We earnestly appeal to all future political leaders to guarantee justice for all citizens who are equal before the law irrespective of their status or positions.
"Corruption has been the root cause for the setbacks in the development of the country resulting in suffering and poverty of many people. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the future president and leaders to take drastic measures to eradicate corruption at all levels.
"The Church teaches that all citizens should be mindful of the right and also the duty to use their vote freely to further the common good. Accordingly, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka, exhort all Catholics and citizens to exercise their sacred and democratic right to cast their vote at the forthcoming election.
"In the run-up to the elections, we observe unhealthy trends of violation of election laws. We, therefore, appeal to the presidential candidates, their supporters, social media and all authorities responsible in conducting the elections to strictly adhere to the election laws and ensure a free and fair election to safeguard the sovereignty of the people in view of this election.