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Rajapaksa brothers lead campaign ahead of August elections

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Rajapaksa brothers lead campaign ahead of August elections

Sri lanka
Photo: Tharaka Basnayaka via Getty

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will today join PM Mahinda Rajapaksa in spearheading the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) campaign for the country’s August 5 parliamentary elections.

Major political parties have struggled to define their core parameters in stunted campaigns largely defined by the COVID-19 pandemic. As restrictions have precluded the possibility of mass rallies, the playing field has been levelled in favour of more cash-strapped candidates who can swing preference votes via social media rather than district-wide meetings. However, Rajapaksa’s vocal stances on corruption and national security have amplified the likelihood of a landslide SLPP victory.

Next month’s vote will pit the SLPP against the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB)—two recently formed splinter groups—in an unprecedented departure from the traditional battle between the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and United National Party (UNP). Expect the eleventh-hour rift between members of the opposition coalition to deliver SLPP victories in key districts. The party will likely prioritise the achievement of a two-thirds majority, which would allow it to repeal the controversial 19th amendment and re-centre power in the executive branch.

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