A formerly staunch Rajapaksa ally, Dullas Alahapperuma has declared his intention to run for president of Sri Lanka as Sinhala politicians have begun announcing their bids following the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
We take a look at Dullas Alahapperuma’s record.
Alahapperuma is yet another staunch Sinhala Buddhist nationalist and Rajapaksa ally, who was initially with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) before switching to the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).
He started his career as a Sinhala journalist, before contesting the 1993 Provincial Council elections in the Matara District. He was elected as an MP for the region in 1994 until 2001.
After losing his seat in 2001, he reportedly pledged to leave the country but returned in 2005 as a national list MP under Mahinda Rajapaksa. He reportedly when on to “spearhead” Rajapaksa’s presidential campaign.
In 2009, he sat alongside paramilitary leader Douglas Devananda in Jaffna and said Mahinda Rajapaksa would “soon find a political solution,” but rejected previous claims by Devananda that the 13th Amendment would be implemented.
In 2012, as a United Nations Human Rights Council which called for accountability for war crimes was being first considered by the global body, the then Youth Affairs and Skills Development minister vowed that protests would be held in 150 local council sites across the island against such a move.
"Forgetting all differences people must rally to protect the president and the nation," said Alahapperuma.
In 2013, as the Tamil National Alliance released a manifesto for the Northern Provincial Council elections, Alahapperuma compared it to the TULF’s 1976 Vaddukoddai Resolution, and labelled it “a cyanide capsule to the Tamil youth".
In 2014 he told journalists that Tamils who have migrated will never be granted the opportunity to cast votes in an election, as they would help to grow the LTTE movement in the country.
In 2015, whilst in opposition, he criticised the deproscribing of Tamil diaspora organisations – a move which that Gotabaya Rajapaksa regime revoked.
"De-proscription was welcomed if the organizations which are de-proscribed had given up separatism, but the government should be alert if these organizations continued to hold such views," he stated.
In 2015, he was pictured alongside fellow extremist politicians Sarath Weerasekara and Udaya Gammanpila waving a flag emblazoned with only the Sinhala lion. The flags have been associated with the racist ‘Sinha Le’ movement other organisations accused of hate speech.
In 2016, he joined a protest outside the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva where Sinhala demonstrators were denouncing further resolutions on accountability for mass atrocities.
Protestors held placards stating Sri Lankan troops were engaged in a “humanitarian mission” and for the protection of military “war heroes”.
And in 2020, Alahapperuma praised Gotabaya Rajapaksa for getting rid of “frauds, corruptions, malpractices, drug trafficking and underworld gangs”, and added “the President and his administration will bring about a more favourable and conducive environment for every ethnic community to live in peace and harmony”.
I"m announcing my candidacy for the presidency. I ask for the support of fellow MPs, who believe that needs to embark on a new, constructive course. Together, let's commit to guide to the path of econo. prosperity while upholding rule of law & maintaining ethnic solidarity.
— Dullas Alahapperuma (@DullasOfficial) July 15, 2022
He curently joins the war crimes accused Sarath Fonseka and another Sinhala nationalist Sajith Premadasa as having announced their intentions to run for presidency.