Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s former defence secretary accused of leading a military offensive that massacred tens of thousands of Tamils, may run as a candidate in this year’s presidential elections, reports The Hindu.
Political sources reportedly told The Hindu that Gotabaya “is very likely" to represent his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa’s, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).
“A decision was reached at a recent dinner meeting held at the former President’s residence last week,” a source told The Hindu last week. “They think it is premature to name the candidate now since we have at least a few months until elections,” the anonymous source added.
The Hindu also reported that Gotabaya has applied to denounce a US citizenship that he currently holds, as Sri Lankan law prevents dual citizens from holding office.
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Gotabhaya was Sri Lanka’s defence secretary during the final phase of the armed conflict where Sri Lankan troops systematically shelled hospitals, no fire zones and committed widespread sexual violence. In the past he has defended the military’s bombing of hospitals, and even stands accused of giving direct orders to execute surrendering Tamils.