Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya distancing himself from his party candidates at the Parliamentary poll
ECONOMYNEXT – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa does not want candidates of the Sri Lanka Nidahas Podujana Peramuna (SLNPP) for the August 5 Parliamentary Poll to use his photograph in their campaigns.
The SLNPP alliance that brings together the President’s party the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the Ceylon Workers Congress and other allies backed his candidacy for President in last year’s resounding win.
It is not clear whether the President will join the campaign. Up to now Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the best-known political figure in the country, has been leading the alliance’s vigorous campaign aimed at getting a two-thirds majority in the House.
Last week speaking at a public rally in the Kurunegala district, where he is a candidate, the Prime Minister said he will be “doing the politics.”
He told the meeting “you know how hard the President works, from early in the morning until mid-night he is at work.”
“He told me, aiya (elder brother) I will do the work, you do the politics.”
“I am happy with that,” the Premier said.
In a statement released last night July 1, the Presidential Secretariat also said that the ban on public officials engaging in any political activity will be strictly enforced.
“No public official serving in security forces, government service, Corporations, Boards and Statutory Bodies should engage in political activities,” the President further instructed, the statement said.
Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundera in a letter sent yesterday to all Governors, Ministry Secretaries, District and Provincial Secretaries, Heads of Corporations, Boards and Statutory Bodies and other heads of divisions stated that information has been received that candidates contesting the election are using pictures of the President in their campaign to secure the services of Army officers and public officials and promise jobs to voters.
Jayasundera in his letter, with a copy to the Chairman of the Elections Commission, has instructed to ensure that all the government officials strictly follow these orders. (Colombo July 2, 2020)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana