Sirisena to stay neutral in Sri Lanka presidential poll

But his party would support SLPP candidate Gotabaya Rajaksa, SLFP sources said.

Sri Lanka’s Pesident Maithripala Sirisena will stay neutral in the upcoming presidential election but his party will back Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP or People’s Front) candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, according to Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

SLFP general secretary, Dayasiri Jayasekara said Mr. Sirisena had temporarily stepped aside from leading the party to ensure his neutrality.

Party vice president Mahinda Samarasinghe said the decision to support Mr. Rajapaksa was taken in the backdrop of a volatile security situation after Easter Sunday bomb attacks that killed more than 260 people.

Mr. Rajapaksa is a former defence minister, popular for his role in ending a long civil war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Mr. Rajapaksa has also been accused of condoning rights abuses.

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