Sri Lankan court dismisses poll petition against President

Sri Lanka`s SC dismissed an election petition seeking to remove Prez Mahinda Rajapaksa from office.

Colombo: Sri Lanka`s Supreme Court Friday dismissed an election petition seeking to remove President Mahinda Rajapaksa from office, a court official said.

Rajapaksa was re-elected for a second term in January.

The petition was filed by former army commander Sarath Fonseka, who unsuccessfully challenged the incumbent, and now is serving a 30-month prison sentence after being found guilty of favouring a family member by awarding him four business contracts with the army.

A five-judge bench ruled that Fonseka had failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove allegations of malpractice and corruption in the Jan 26 polls.

Fonseka petitioned to annul Rajapaksa`s election, citing election irregularities, including the misuse of government resources, such as vehicles, manpower and state media; intimidation of opposition voters and irregularities in vote counting.
Rajapaksa received 57.88 percent of the vote, compared with Fonseka`s 40.15 percent.

Rajapaksa, who was first elected as president in 2005, is to complete his first term of office next month and would then be sworn in for his second six-year term.

The ruling United People`s Freedom Alliance, which is led by Rajapaksa, in August approved amendments to the constitution that would allow him to run for a third term.


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