Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, former Sri Lankan defence secretary, was named as the presidential candidate of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party for the election scheduled for later this year.
PTI, had reported that the brother of former strongman President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabhaya, 70, headed Rajapaksa’s military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) between 2006 and 2009. He attained superhero status among the Sinhala Buddhist majority of the country for ending the three-decades-long civil war with the LTTE.
Ending months of speculation, Rajapaksa named his younger brother Gotabhaya as the presidential candidate and additionally took over the leadership of the new political party formed by the Rajapaksa family, the SLPP.
Rajapaksa thus ended his long association with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) of which he had been a member since the mid-1960s, and elected twice as the president from the SLFP.
“My brother is your brother now, we need discipline and law to uphold, Gotabhaya is the man for that,” Rajapaksa said while addressing the gathering.
“Security is of foremost importance in a country. I assure you the safety of your children. I will not let extremism lift its head in the country,” Gotabhaya said in his address. “I have always did my duties going beyond boundaries and limits.”