Gota’s eligibility in doubt – election monitor, civil society group

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Commenting on the on-going controversy over the citizenship of SLPP Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, two prominent civic action groups have said that “there should be no doubt about eligibility of person to be elected president”.

“The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) have expressed deep concern about anomalises with the affidavit submitted by SLPP candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa,” a CPA media communique said yesterday.

The CPA communique states: “A different affidavit was submitted by Rajapaksa’s Counsel, President’s Counsel Ali Sabry.

“Apart from the basic question as to why two distinct affidavits were produced in support of Rajapksa’s candidacy, a question is also raised as to whether Rajapaksa meets the criteria provided in the Constitution as per Articles 91 and 92 of the Constitution in terms of whether he continues to be a citizen of the United States of America.

“The fact that two different certificates claiming loss of nationality were publicly shared contributed to the confusion and months of debate, with no credible answers provided by the candidate or his team to quell doubt.”

CPA/CMEV said they were also alerted to a third affidavit shared by Sabry on his Facebook page which was attested by a Kularatne with no signature belonging to Rajapaksa.

“Whilst we are not able to comment on the authenticity of these documents, we note that all affidavits were produced by the candidate’s legal team and urges the authorities to immediately investigate the legality of these affidavits and take necessary action,” the CPA release noted.

“This is essential in the presence of multiple documents that may mislead the voter and rob them of an informed choice. The conduct also begs the question whether an attempt is being made to subvert the electoral process and the rule of law in Sri Lanka.

“In a matter of days Sri Lanka will elect a new President and it is imperative that no doubt remains as to the eligibility of the person elected to the office of first citizen in Sri Lanka. It is also paramount that the Election Commission and other officials are independent and impartial and take all necessary steps to protect the integrity of elections,” the statement said.

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