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Sri Lankan election commissioner says candidates must affirm commitment to unitary state

Sri Lanka's election commissioner, Mahinda Deshapriya, said on Tuesday that all candidates in next month's general election, must reaffirm their commitment to keeping the country as a unitary state, reports The Island.

Speaking at a press briefing, Mr Deshapriya made these remarks in response to allegations that candidates within the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) were promoting separatism.

The deputy election commissioner, M M Mohamed told The Island newspaper that "that nominations for the Aug. 17 had been accepted along with specific declaration that he or she would not directly or indirectly, in or outside Sri Lanka, support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage or advocate the establishment of a separate state within the territory of Sri Lanka."

Mr Mohamed said that any one found to have violated the Sixth Amendment to the constitution which makes it illegal to endorse separatism, would have their parliamentary seat withdrawn.

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