Presidential Elections: three-pronged battle takes shape

19 January 2024 08:33 am – 33      – 3456

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Colombo, Jan 19 (Daily Mirror) – In anticipation of the upcoming Presidential Elections scheduled towards the end of the year, the political arena is witnessing a flurry of activities as various parties and groups strategically position themselves for the impending electoral contest.

The National People’s Power (NPP), led by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), has taken an early plunge into the electoral fray by announcing Anura Kumara Dissanayake as its presidential candidate and conducting countrywide rallies. Sajith Premadasa, the Opposition Leader, is widely expected to lead the charge for his Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB).

The United National Party (UNP) has thrown its hat into the ring by nominating its leader, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, as the presidential candidate. With this development, the political landscape is shaping up for a three-pronged contest.

It is not yet clear whether the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will field its own candidate or back President Wickremesinghe who is in alliance with the party in the government.

The NPP is going around the country with major election rallies. They have started the campaign earlier than others and even created a kind of a momentum triggering doubts whether they will be able to sustain it in the long run. The proclamation announcing the presidential election has to be issued only in the middle of September 2024 in accordance with the constitutional provisions.

It means there are eight more months for the election. As such, the political parties have swiftly launched into action. The SLPP, as a party, slipped out of the public eye in politics in the face of severe economic woos that even led to the untimely of resignation Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa from office. Recently, the party conducted a workshop for its activists primarily to educate them on how to counter allegations against it over the present economic predicament of the country. The workshop was organized with the involvement of MP Namal Rajapaksa. It is a strategy to position the party well ahead of the elections and strengthen the rank and file ideologically – albeit challenging it be.

Next, the party is planning to educate its leaders at the local level. The party is not prepared to initiate a fully-fledged election campaign at the moment, since it is impractical to sustain such a movement for eight months. It has not yet declared its presidential candidate, though. However, political indications lead to the conclusion that it will back President Wickremesinghe.

Besides, the political group led by MP Anura Priyadharshana Yapa will launch its electoral addresses on January 27 in Ja-Ela, Gampaha. That is to galvanize the electoral support of people for the possible candidacy of President Wickremesinghe. The group is also planning to form an alliance ahead of the elections. As the political chessboard continues to evolve, these early moves and strategic alignments set the stage for a gripping presidential contest in the months to come.


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