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Sirisena says he is undecided on second term


Colombo, Jan 26: With his term set to end in 2020, Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena has said he has not yet decided if he would seek a second term. Sirisena's current term ends in January 2020 and the next presidential election must be declared by November 2019.

His comments came in the midst of his current stand-off with his unity government partner of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP).

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena

Sirisena in the recent weeks has taken the UNP to task while campaigning for the February 10 local council election. He has openly criticised the UNP for corruption, an allegation stemming mainly from the report of a probe he ordered on a scam connected to the issuance of bonds by the Sri Lanka Central Bank.

Then governor Arjuna Mahendran, an appointee of Wickremesinghe, has been accused of insider trading. Sirisena has also faced a stiff challenge by the leadership of former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa. Rajapaksa's new party is expected to create dents in the SLFP support at the local election. Sirisena was backed by the UNP in the presidential election of 2015 against Rajapaksa.

This resulted him from being sacked from the SLFP by Rajapaksa. However, after Sirisena won the presidency, Rajapaksa handed him the party leadership. The UNP is unlikely to back him for another term and in all likelihood Wickremesinghe will be chosen to become the UNP candidate for the election.


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