Colombo, Oct 19: A Sri Lankan lawyer has become the first ever Asian woman to be short-listed by Britain's leading political party as its candidate for the London Mayor's post.
Chamali Fernando, a 28-year-old barrister from Finchley, the youngest candidate, will have to beat the other two candidates from her own Liberal Democrat party and then defeat the high-profile Labour incumbent Ken Livingstone while warding off the challenge of Conservative celebrity politician Boris Johnson, to win the mayor's post.
The Mayor of London is one of the most high profile political jobs in England with overall control of 32 Boroughs and a budget of 10 billion Pounds.
When asked how she would tackle such senior political heavyweights, Ms Fernando said her daily courtroom battles with senior legal figures have prepared her for what lies ahead.
Her parents are well known members of the Sri Lankan diaspora in the UK. Her mother, Wanitha Fernando (born in India to Sri Lankan parents from Moratuwa) is a Magistrate and previously lectured in Midwifery having studied and trained in England 40 years ago.
Chamali's father Sumal Fernando (from Kalutara) is a respected solicitor-advocate who made political history in the UK when he became the first Sri Lankan ever to contest a parliamentary seat in England, the Daily Star reported.
She strikes as a serious contender in a serious political race and continues to practice as a barrister handling both civil and commercial cases as well as representing suspected criminals in some very high profile cases.