15 other political parties have supported SLPP's presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa who also served as the former chief of defence taking the number to above 40, according to the reports. Around 35 candidates are in the line for the presidential polls to be held on November 16. Over 15 million are eligible to vote. According to the media reports, fifteen political parties signed Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party on Monday, November 4, to support Rajapaksa.
The report revealed that the number of political parties backing Rajapaksa has crossed 40. The 15 other parties were Akhila Ilangei Dravida Mahasabha, Sri Lanka Telo Party, Sri Lanka People's National Party, Janatha Sevaka Pakshaya, Eksath Janatha Jathika Pakshaya, New Democratic People's Front, Deshapremi Eksath Jathika Pakshaya, Pragathisheeli Janatha Sevaka Pakshaya, National Front, United Democratic People's Party, United Lanka People's Party, Patriotic Progressive People's Front, Democratic People's Congress, Islam Socialist Front and People's Party of Indian Origin.
Rajapaksa, 70, served as the defence chief during the last few years of the thirty-year long civil war that ended in 2009 with the death of LTTE leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran. He was serving under his brother and the then President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa. He played a key role in the military and under his leadership, the Sri Lankan army defeated the Tamil Tigers also known as LTTE. He was one of the primary targets of the Tamil Tigers and escaped an assassination attempt in December 2006 by a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber. He joined the Ceylon army as a cadet officer on April 26, 1971, when Sri Lanka was still a dominion of the British Commonwealth.