Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday said there were no barriers to contesting the upcoming Presidential Elections as a candidate, as his US citizenship was relinquished on 17 May.
Rajapaksa, together with Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, attended a meeting of Local Government Chairmen at SLPP headquarters on Thursday, where he said that he had also obtained a Sri Lankan passport after notifying the Immigration and Emigration Department that he had relinquished his dual citizenship.
“There are many untrue statements being made about my citizenship, and within them there appears to be an effort to create legal issues for me. But I wish to state there are no barriers to my Presidential candidacy. National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa has created a plan for us to win this election, so we must ensure there is no wrongdoing so that strategy can proceed smoothly,” he told the gathering.
Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, speaking at the same event, said irrespective of who the United National Party (UNP) selects as the Presidential candidate, it would not prevent the splintering of the party, the SLPP Media Unit said in a statement.
“A party cannot be unified when there are party members who defy the party leadership. Today a group of detractors have emerged from within the UNP, and no matter who is named as the Presidential candidate, these clashes will only intensify. Even if Ranil Wickremesinghe, Karu Jayasuriya and Sajith Premadasa come together and contest the Presidential Elections, there will be no change to the people’s decision to elect the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna,” he said.