National security will be top priority: Lanka candidate
October 15 2019 01:25 AM
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Supporters carry placards showing Sri Lanka’s former defence secretary and presidential candidate, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, as they gather for the presidential election rally in Kadawatha.

IANS/Colombo

Sri Lankan presidential candidate and former defence minister, Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that he was committed to make his country a secure, prosperous nation where all communities could co-exist in harmony.
Addressing a mammoth election rally in Mahara yesterday, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) candidate stressed on the need for a departure from the present political culture in the greater interest of society, reports the Daily Mirror 
newspaper. 
He said there should be a positive political culture in the country.
“We cannot behave aggressively. I don’t approve of indecent, aggressive behaviour. There are a number of parties that have teamed up with us because of our policies. Today, the Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) led by MP Arumugam Thondaman has decided to support us. We are armed with a people-friendly vision,” he said.
Rajapaksa said the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) had been a source of strength for him, enabling to increase the vote base from 60% to 72%.
“We warmly welcome the SLFP into our fold. The SLFP is the party founded by S W R D Bandaranaike and D A Rajapaksa. It is the party that led the 1956 revolution. That is the party that introduced a host of people friendly measures which we enjoy today. Mahinda Rajapaksa became the president of this country twice representing the SLFP,” he said.
Asserting that national security would be prioritised if he was elected as the new president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa said a Cabinet driven by neo-liberal thinking and acting according to the whims of the NGOs would never be able to strengthen or uphold national security.
The former defence minister, who called the 21st century the knowledge driven, said he had planned his knowledge-based economic policy.
“We always believe in the development of human resources. We will introduce an IT-driven economy,” he added.
On October 9, Gotabaya Rajapakse, who is also the brother of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, formally launched his campaign for the island nation’s upcoming presidential election on November 16.
A record number of 35 candidates have so far filed their nominations for the polls, where Gotabaya is considered a favourite.
Four foreign teams to 
observe presidential poll: Four foreign monitoring teams have been granted permission to observe Sri Lanka’s presidential election on November 16, the island nation’s Election 
Commission said yesterday.
Three of the teams have already arrived in the island on the invitation of the Election Commission, reports 
Colombo Page.
The fourth group of foreign observers was due to arrive in the coming few days.
A record 35 candidates have filed their nominations for the November 16 polls so far.
Former defence minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the candidate for Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) led by former president Mahinda Rajapakse, has been considered a favourite among the 35 hopefuls.
He formally launched his presidential campaign on October 9. Gotabaya has been backed by incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).
The other important face in the fray is the current Minister of Housing Construction and Cultural Affairs Sajith Premadasa, who is the candidate of the New Democratic Front.
Premadasa has been backed by the ruling United National Party, which has refused to contest under its own ‘elephant’ symbol for a third consecutive time.
The third important candidate is leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) party, Anura Kumara Dissanayaka. 
This will be the island nation’s eighth presidential election, with Sirisena’s term coming to an end in January 2020. Sirisena has refused to contest for a second term in office.



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