Former Defence Secretary Gotabya Rajapaksa said the recent news that he is about to contest at the forthcoming General Election is a hoax.
“This has nothing to do with my citizenship issue,” he said, adding that however he has already taken measures to cancel his dual citizenship. “I’ve already handed over the relevant documents to the US embassy, in this regard” he said.
He told Ada Derana that he has no intention to contest at the election and enter the parliament. “There is no need to get elected as a parliamentarian to serve the country,” he added.
Earlier, the former Defence Secretary also dismissed media reports that he would enter parliament through the National List and be a minister in the Rajapaksa government.
Gotabaya had told newspersons at a Buddhist temple in Padduka in Colombo District on Saturday that he would not enter politics. However, a source said that this is only a “ strategic move” with a greater goal in mind and that it is not to be taken as “face value.”
Explaining this, the source said: “By not being a candidate, Gotabaya will be free to campaign for the Rajapaksa group’s candidates all over the island nation. He is the second most popular leader in Lanka and every electorate will need his services as a campaigner.”
“Secondly, by not standing for election, Gotabaya will avoid creating divisions and animosities within the Rajapaksa group. He will not be competing with the other candidates of the group for preferential votes. “
“Colombo District, from which he could make a bid, will also have many stalwarts of the Rajapaksa group in the fray. Gotabaya will have to compete with them for preferential votes and create bad blood.”
In the Lankan electoral system, where parties put before the electorate not an individual candidate but a list of candidates, preferential votes decide who all from a party list will go to parliament.
It was also reported that former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa likely will not contest at the election as well. A source close to the UPFA says that former Minister Basil Rajapaksa has also not yet decided whether to contest or not at the polls.