Gota’s American status precludes presidential run – Welgama

Kumara Welgama

UPFA Parliamentarian Kumara Welgama on Saturday said former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa cannot run for presidency as he is still an American citizen. Speaking to news media after attending a public event in his electorate in Matugama, Welgama pointed out that a foreign national is not permitted to run for presidency under current Sri Lankan laws and the Constitution.

A former minister in the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa regime and known Joint Opposition stalwart, Welgama is also known to have consistently opposed the nomination of the former President’s younger brother as the presidential candidate of the SLPP.

Gotabaya the younger brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was named as the presidential candidate of the SLPP.

Welgama posed the twin questions whether an American citizen will feel Sri Lanka and whether a person who had fled the country seeking refuge overseas was suitable to lead the country.

“I know that political leaders like Mahinda Rajapaksa, Chamal Rajapaksa, Dinesh Gunewardene love this country and always think about its wellbeing. A person who had fled the country will never feel that way. We never left this country and will not do so in the future as well. We are people who love this country”

While noting that he will always be a SLFP member, Welgama said although a few people had left a majority of party supporters were still with the SLFP. Welgama was of the opinion that it was too early to name a candidate from the SLFP for the upcoming presidential election.

(Source: Daily News)