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Sri Lanka voters elect two men allegedly involved in murders to Parliament

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan voters have chosen two men, one accused of murder and another convicted of killing and sentenced to death as representatives in Parliament in last Wednesday’s Parliamentary General Election.

The first is Premalal Jayasekara who is currently on a death sentence for a murder committed during the 2015 election campaign and the other is Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan who is in remand custody on a murder charge.

Both will join the ranks of the government which won an unprecedented two-thirds majority in a proportional poll in the election.

Jayasekara came second with 142,037 preferential votes in the Ratnapura District according to the Elections Commission.

He was sentenced to death by the Ratnapura High Court last 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.

The Chairman of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said that Jayasekara’s “nomination was valid” as he had not been sentenced at the time he was nominated.

The Elections Commission has told EconomyNext that it would seek legal advice when he is elected as to whether he can enter Parliament.

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Chandrakanthan, who is better known by his LTTE nom de guerre, “Pillayan” is the former Chief Minister of the Eastern Province and is currently in remand custody for the alleged murder of former Member of Parliament Joseph Pararajasingham during Christmas Mass in a Batticaloa church in December 2005.

The Batticaloa Court permitted Chandrakanthan to submit his nomination papers in the remand jail.

He was elected with 54,198 preferential votes as the only Member from his party the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (Tamil People’s Liberation Tigers.)

He will also be the second LTTE fighter to sit as a Member in the Sri Lankan Parliament and the first to be directly elected.

Vinayagamoorthy Muraleetharan, or “Karuna Amman” was the first but he was appointed on the national list.

“Pillayan” and Karuna were both in a faction of the LTTE that defected to the government in 2003. The two are now at odds at each other. (Colombo, August 7, 2020)