Sri Lanka minister defects to challenge President
Nov 20, 2014 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s health minister Maithripala Sirisena defected to challenge President Mahinda Rajapaksa as common opposition candidate, promising to restore rule of law and abolish the powerful presidency.
Sirisena promised to scrap the presidency within 100 days if he came to power and reform the constitution to give independence to the judiciary and the public service.
He said the country was in the grip of a ‘dictatorship’ of one family.
Sirisena is health minister and general secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the main constituent of the ruling United National Freedom Alliance.
Sirisena said he would restore abolished 17th amendment to give back independence to the public service and also bring back term limits which were scrapped by Rajapaksa.
Sirisena said the scrapping of the 17th amendment was a "great wrong".
Sri Lanka’s main opposition United National Party said it supported Sirisena’s candidacy to end bribery can corruption.
UNP’s Tissa Attanayake said they hoped to introduce a new constitution using the same parliament after defeating the current administration.
Sri Lanka’s elections commission set the date for the poll on January 08, 2014 and nominations on December 08.