Highlights

  • Sri Lanka’s Leader of Opposition Sajith Premadasa withdrew from Presidential polls
  • To support breakaway SLPP candidate Dullas Alahapperuma
  • Premadasa was top contender in the race for President's post going to polls on July 20

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Sri Lanka top presidential contender Sajith Premdasa withdraws from race, supports SLPP's Dullas

Premadasa contested the presidential elections in 2019 as a United National Party (UNP) candidate but lost to Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Sri Lanka’s Leader of Opposition and the top contender for the post of President Sajith Premadasa on Tuesday announced the withdrawal of his candidacy from the race to support rival candidate Dullas Alahapperuma.

Elections for the President’s office in the crisis-ridden island nation are scheduled to be held on July 20 after the post fell vacant following Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation last week.

Premadasa tweeted, “For the greater good of my country that I love and the people I cherish I hereby withdraw my candidacy for the position of President. SJB and our alliance and our opposition partners will work hard towards making @DullasOfficial victorious.”

Premadasa contested the presidential elections in 2019 as a United National Party (UNP) candidate but lost to Gotabaya. He then went on to form the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, a political alliance led by him, to contest the 2020 parliamentary election.

As a leader, he is quite popular among Tamils and Muslims in Sri Lanka.

Dullas Alahapperuma, a journalist-turned-politician, whom Premadasa and his SJB are now backing, is from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). He was a Cabinet minister in the previous Rajapaksa government.

Earlier, the SLPP had officially announced its backing of interim President Ranil Wickremesinghe but was met with internal resistance. The party’s chair GL Peiris had reportedly said the party must back Alahapperuma, the breakaway SLPP candidate who has already put himself forward to the vote.

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