Fonseka ineligible for Sri Lanka president vote: government

Sri Lanka's state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene (L) takes part in a press conference in Colombo on April 24, 2019. - A Sri Lankan security dragnet hunting those responsible for horrifying bombings that claimed more than 350 lives has scooped up a further 18 suspects, police said April 24, as pressure mounted on politicians to explain why no one acted on intelligence warnings. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

January 26, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s government said Tuesday that it would challenge the legitimacy of leading opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka, who contested the country’s first post-war presidential election. “We are seeking a court order on the suitability of this candidate because he is not eligible to be declared as a candidate,” Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told reporters.

He said they would seek court action to have Fonseka ruled out of the race after the former four-star general was unable to vote in Tuesday’s election because his name was not on the electoral list.

Responding to suggestions from ruling-party lawmakers that Fonseka could be disqualified, the country’s independent election commissioner gave the opposition figurehead resounding backing in a statement earlier Tuesday.

“Not having one’s name on the electoral list is not a disqualification,” Dayananda Dissanayake said.

Bogollagama said the government would challenge this assessment.

“What the election commissioner has expressed is merely an opinion, but the courts have the ultimate authority to interpret the law,” Bogollagama said. Asked if it was premature for the government to press legal action even before