According to sources, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has decided not to run the country's presidential election next month. According to the Election Commission records, his name was not mentioned on the 41-candidate list who paid deposits by Sunday's noon deadline to contest the November 16 presidential poll.
Sirisena had caused a reckless constitutional crisis the previous year when he assigned ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former political rival as Prime Minister, replacing Ranil Wickremesinghe. However, later Supreme Court ruled against Sirisena's action and reinstated Wickremesinghe. Sirisena had to face severe criticism by the angered public over the government's handling of an intelligence report warning of the Easter Day bombings that killed 250 people.
In the year 2015, Sirisena won the presidency promising to bring positive changes in the functioning of government organizations, including introducing anti-corruption measures and punishing those who plundered public funds under the Rajapaksa administration, according to reports.
However, his entire tenure has been a disappointing ride for many Sri Lankan voters, as all his desperate tries to garner support to able to mount a re-election bid in recent months has gone to waste, leaving him no choice but to accept that he is not going to make it, said a source.
Nominations for Sri Lanka's election will be accepted on Monday. The 41-candidate list consists of two members from the influential Rajapaksa family. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a former secretary to the Ministry of Defence during his brother's decade in power is the frontrunner, but faces several court cases over corruption allegations and the validity of his Sri Lankan citizenship.
He says he has renounced the United States citizenship he obtained in 2003. The court dismissed a case seeking the cancellation of Gotabaya's citizenship, clearing the way for him to register as a candidate, on Monday. However, according to sources, the family is also playing the cards of elder brother Chamal, a former speaker of parliament, as a backup. Some 15.99 million men and women over the age of 18 years are eligible to vote in the election.
(with inputs from agencies)