In Sri Lanka, the opposition alliance led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said, it is considering to seek legal opinion on whether Mr. Rajapaksa can be a candidate for the Presidential elections scheduled for next year. The 19th amendment to the constitution had revived a clause which stipulated that no person who has been twice elected to the office of President, shall be qualified thereafter to be elected to such office by the people.
Leader of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Prof. G.L. Peiris today said the amendment has no retrospective application and two term limit will apply only to presidents who are elected after the enactment of the 19th Amendment. However, a constitutional expert and serving MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickremaratne asserted that there is no lacuna or provision in the 19th Amendment and its application allowing former President to contest the upcoming election.
Mahinda Rajapaksa has already served two terms by winning elections in 2005 and 2010 but lost during 2015 polls. Mr. Rajapaksa had removed the bar of two year term during his second term of Presidency by bringing 18th amendment. Media circles have been awash with rumors about a candidate from opposition side for the last few months and the name of Mahinda’s brother and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been doing the rounds prominently.