The Sri Lankan elections department Friday announced that the presidential election will be held Jan 8 next year.
Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said nominations will be called for Dec 8 and the next available date to hold the election is Jan 8, Xinhua reported.
The election will see incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa contest against his former health minister and general secretary of the ruling party Maithripala Sirisena.
Sirisena announced Friday that he has decided to contest as the candidate of the opposition as he felt the government has gone astray in the recent past.
Rajapaksa's office announced that Sirisena, fisheries minister Rajitha Senaratne and deputy minister M.K.D.S. Gunawardana have been removed from their ministerial posts.
As chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), the president has also removed the defectors led by Maithripala Sirisena from the party membership, the president's media division said.