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Tamils extend support to Premadasa, say he is 'candidate with clean hands'

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

Sri Lanka's Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on Thursday extended its support to presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa, terming him as a candidate with clean hands.

Explaining their stand to support Premadasa against the opposition candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in the presidential poll scheduled for November 16, TNA, in a statement, said the Sri Lankan voter expects the new president to be genuinely committed to democracy, independence of institutions and to honour fundamental and human rights.

Premadasa is the ruling United National Party (UNP) candidate, while former defence chief Gotabhaya is contesting from Sri Lanka People's Party (SLPP) ticket.

Mr Premadasa is a leader with clean hands. In whatever capacity he has functioned, it is accepted that he has done his best, he has reiterated his firm commitment to uniting all the people and taking forward the country towards progress and prosperity, a TNA statement said.

Earlier on Sunday, TNA spokesman and legislator M A Sumanthiran said that Premadasa's manifesto will be more acceptable to Tamils as compared to other candidates.

In his manifesto, Premadasa has pledged "maximum devolution of power within an undivided and indivisible Sri Lanka".

Blaming the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration for its authoritarian rule between 2005 and 2015, the party recalled that the independence of judiciary created after his downfall has been a plus for the country.

The party, in the statement, said that Premadasa has attempted to take forward the process of power sharing with Tamils.

The 13-point plan of the Tamil political parties include the demand to permanently merge north and eastern provinces, granting Tamils political autonomy in a federal solution.

These points are seen as Tamil hardline by the Sinhala majority.

Premadasa's main rival Gotabhaya Rajapaksa relies on the Sinhala majority to be elected president while Premadasa is seen as the more secular choice.

The Tamil and Muslim votes are crucial to form the government.

In 2015, current president Maithripala Sirisena, who was the main opposition challenger, secured most of the minority votes when he defeated Sri Lanka Freedom Party's Mahinda Rajapaksa ending his 10-year rule.

Tamils, however, remain disgruntled as the current government has failed to adopt a new constitution to address Tamil demand for political autonomy.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 07 2019. 23:50 IST