Sri Lanka: Buddhist monk among 19 candidates in race for presidential polls

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Colombo, Dec 8: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, seeking a record third term, was among 19 candidates who filed nomination today for contesting the country's presidential election next month.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is seeking a record third term.
Rajapaksa last month had called the snap election, two years before his second term ends. Besides Rajapaksa, his former health minister Maithripala Sirisena also filed his nomination.

Sirisena had defected on November 21 to become the Opposition's main candidate in January 8 presidential elections.

The papers from the 19 candidates were handed to Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya.

"I have over ruled two objection raised against the President Rajapaksa's and the candidacy of Mr Maithripala Sirisena," Deshapriya said.

A Buddhist monk and one candidate each from the Tamil and Muslim minorities also in the race. Some 14 million people are eligible to vote at the country's election.

Rajapaksa - who was elected in 2005 and 2010 - is seeking re-election amid signs of a drop in popularity and demands of his powers to be curbed.

In local elections in September, his United People's Freedom Alliance suffered its worst losses, losing roughly 20 per cent support among voters.

PTI 

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