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SLPP contestant Jayasekara’s candidature is “valid” despite death sentence – Deshapriya

ECONOMYNEXT – Convicted murderer Premalal Jayasekara can contest tomorrow’s election but if he is elected the Elections Commission will seek legal advice as to whether he can enter Parliament.

The website Newswire.lk quoted the Chairman of the National Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya as saying that Jayasekara’s candidacy “remains valid.”

However if he wins “we have to take legal advice on what to do,” Deshapriya has said.

Jayasekara has said that he will appeal the sentence.

Lawyers we spoke to said there provisions in the Constitution of Sri Lanka which covers this issue.

They also say that it will be the Secretary-General of Parliament at the time who may have to take the call as to whether Jayasekara can become an MP.

Jayasekara, a leading Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna politician, was given the death sentence by the Ratnapura High Court on Friday for the murder of United National Party supporter Shantha Dodangoda during the 2015 Presidential Campaign.

Two other men were injured when Jayasekara and others opened fire.

Jayasekara, also known as “Choka Malli,” was the former Deputy Minister for Power and Energy and before that Deputy Minister of Mahaweli Development.

A former Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman, Jayasekara was an MP in the recently dissolved Parliament.

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He has been in Parliament since 2001 and is 47-years old.

Civil Society groups including the eminent Friday Forum had castigated the SLPP for nominating Jayasekara.

“The fact that a person accused of a serious crime is on bail does not make him eligible for nomination,” the Forum wrote in a media statement released earlier this week. (Colombo, August 4, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana