Did Gota vote in 2005 when he was still an American?

The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) is calling on the Elections Commission to investigate a complaint made by a journalist against SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa that his name was in the annual electoral list used for the 2005 Presidential Election at a time when he was not a Sri Lankan citizen. 

It is also alleged that Rajapaksa voted in the election.

CMEV points out that according to the Sri Lankan Constitution, a person who is not a Sri Lankan citizen is not entitled to vote at a Presidential Election, General Election or at a referendum. “Voting in such a situation is an offence and is punishable in terms of the Presidential Elections Act No. 15 of 1981” it adds.

In a press release CMV states quoting Media reports that candidate Rajapaksa “obtained his US citizenship in 2003. He arrived in Sri Lanka on the 04th of September 2005 on a tourist visa and had campaigned and or assisted the election campaign of Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2005. This, it is alleged is an offence in terms of section 45(1) (a) of the Immigrants and Emigrants Act no 20 of 1948.”

The release also calls on Rajapaksa to fully cooperate in the investigation to clear his name.

“Anything less would bring into question Rajapaksa’s commitment to Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, its Constitution and the rule of law” the release adds.

“Furthermore, Rajapaksa’s silence in the face of these allegations and the allegation that he has failed to renounce his dual citizenship, is extremely problematic. As a potential candidate for the highest elected office in Sri Lanka, it is incumbent upon him to demonstrate a greater commitment to the electoral process.”

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