Sri Lanka to choose new president

Sri Lanka will vote for a new president on 17 November as left-of-centre Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse is set to face off against his right-of-centre predecessor, Ranil Wickremesinghe, in an election seen as too close to call.

    Peace with separatists and the economy will be key issues

    "The election is on 17 November," the island's elections secretariat said on Monday.

    A De Silva, assistant to Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayakesaid, said the commission would invite formal nominations of candidates by 17 October.

    Outgoing President Chandrika Kumaratunga's second and final
    six-year term ends on 23 December.

    Rajapakse, who is popular with the Sinhalese Buddhist majority and has aligned himself with hardline Marxists and monks who detest the separatist Tamil Tigers, is fervently against privatisation and has vowed to nurture local business to take on foreign competitors.
       
    Business leaders and investors are betting on a win by Wickremesinghe, who is perceived as more market friendly and more likely to reach a permanent peace deal with the Tigers.

    But many worry he is out of touch with the middle class and poor, who voted him out of power in 2004. 
     
    Poll analysts say the vote revolves around two key issues of  how to cement peace with the separatists and manage the economy.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.