Colombo, Nov 6: Over 148 foreign observers are expected to arrive in the country next week to monitor the November 16 presidential election in Sri Lanka, the Elections Commission said on Wednesday.
The Commission said that the 148 foreign observers would include 47 representatives from the Asian Election Observation Organization and 15 other representatives from India, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and South Korea.
Over 80 foreign observers from the European Union Election Observation Mission will also be be in across the island nation on and before the election day. A record 35 candidates have filed nominations to take part in the election, nearly twice as many as participated in the last poll in 2015.
Political analysts see Sajith Premadasa, housing minister in Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party. and former wartime defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa of the opposition Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna as the two leading contenders for the post of president.
Premadasa is son of former president Ranasinghe Premadasa who was killed by a Tamil Tiger rebel suicide bomber in 1993.
Sri Lanka’s current president, Maithripala Sirisena, has decided not to seek re-election and his party Sri Lanka Freedom Party has either not officially picked a candidate, or indicated whether it will back any of the 35 candidates. (UNI)