The stage is set for a hotly contested election next month with some 500 parties and groups vying for 196 seats through an interesting mix of seasoned politicians and novices.In the Colombo District, which will return 19 MPs, the competition is stiff, with political heavyweights from all sides listed on the ballot paper. Those contesting [...]


Pumped-up field of heavyweights and tyros Notable contests by district


The stage is set for a hotly contested election next month with some 500 parties and groups vying for 196 seats through an interesting mix of seasoned politicians and novices.In the Colombo District, which will return 19 MPs, the competition is stiff, with political heavyweights from all sides listed on the ballot paper.

Those contesting in Colombo include the leader of the United National Party (UNP) and outgoing prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) leader Dinesh Gunawardena, Democratic Party (DP) leader, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka as well as leading figures Champika Ranawaka and Hirunika Premachandra who joined the UNP recently, while several former ministers of the Unkited People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) will also contest from Colombo.

In the Gampaha District, several seasoned politicians are in the fray with the UNP group being led by veteran politician John Amaratunga while the UPFA group will be led by Felix Perera. Two prominent JVP members, MPs Vijitha Herath, the party’s Propaganda Secretary, and Bimal Ratnayaka will contest from the district.

In the Kalutara District, MP Ajith Perera heads the UNP team which includes Dr. Rajitha Senaratne who crossed over from the UPFA recently. The UPFA candidates include heavyweights Kumar Welgama, Mahinda Samarasinghe and Rohitha Abeywardena.

The Chief Minister of the Western Province, Prasannna Ranatunga, will contest on the UPFA ticket while well-known film actor Ranjan Ramanayaka, who previously contested from the Ratnapura District, will this time contest from Gampaha.

The most closely followed election contest will be in the Kurunegala District where former president Mahinda Rajapaksa will contest for a seat from among 15 MPs who will be returned from the area. The UPFA Kurunegala District group is a formidable one that includes several former ministers including Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, Johnston Fernando, T.B. Ekanayaka and Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera.

Full of enthusiasm: District leaders of the main parties and other frontrunners were in a jubilant mood on nomination day. Pix by Krishan Jeewaka Jayaruk and Sarath Siriwardene

The UNP will be led in Kurunegala by Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariawasam while S.B. Nawinna, Gamini Jayawickrema Perera, Asoka Abeysinghe and Nalin Bandara too will contest. The JVP group in the list is led by former parliamentarian Namal Karunaratne.

In the Puttalam District, the UNP list is headed by Niroshan Perera while Milroy Fernando heads the UPFA list and Ajith Fernando the JVP list. In the Galle District, the UNP will be led by Vajira Abeywardena and the UPFA list by Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody. The JVP group will be led by Provincial Council member Nalin Hewage.

In the Matara District too, several prominent members on all sides are in the fray with the UNP group led by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, while the UPFA list is led by Dulles Allahaperuma. The JVP too will have a strong presence here with former MP Sunil Handunnetti contesting as group leader.

In the Hambantota District a striking feature is the face-off between the sons of two former presidents, Sajith Premadasa, the son of late president, Ranasinghe Premadasa, and Namal Rajapaksa, some of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Another persons who made the UPFA’ s Hambantota list is the area’s former mayor, Eraj Fernando, who gained countrywide notoriety for brandishing a pistol at a group of UNP MPs who were touring Mattala Airport.
In the Anuradhapura District, the UNP group will be led by Chandrani Bandara, the UPFA by Duminda Dissanayake and the JVP by Wasantha Samarasinghe.

In the Polonnaruwa District, the UNP group will include Wasantha Senanayake, while the UPFA list is led by Siripala Gamlath. In the Badulla District, the UNP group is led by Chief Minister Harin Fernando and the UPFA by former minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. The JVP group in Badulla will be led by MP Samantha Vidyaratne.

In the Moneragala district, the UNP group leader is Ranjith Maddumabandara while the UPFA list is headed by Sumedha Jayasena and the JVP list by R.M. Jayawardena. In the Trincomalee District, A.S. Thaufik leads the UNP group while the UPFA is led by Susantha Punchinilame. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will be led by its parliamentary group leader R. Sampanthan while the EPDPs group leader there is Rasia Jayamohanrasa.

While in the Batticaloa District the UNP ís led by S.S. Ameer Ali and the UPFA by M.l.A.M. Hisbullah, the SLMC group in the district is led by S. Ali Saagir Mawlana and the TNA by G. Selvarasa. The Batticaloa District has the largest number of independent groups contesting the election – a total of 30.

In Digamadulla the UNP group leader is Daya Gamage while the UPFA listed is headed by former minister A.L.M. Athaullah. Digamadulle Kumara leads the JVP group. In the Kegalle District, UNP General Secretary Kabir Hashim leads the party while the UPFA is led by former minister Athauda Seneviratne. The JVP group leader in the district is Gamini Rathnayake.

In the Ratnapura District, Talata Atukorala leads the UNP list while Johan Seneviratne and Vasudeva Nanayakkaara will contest for the UPFA. The JVP list includes Shantha Padmakumara.In the Nuwara Eliya District, the UNP group will be led by Naveen Dissanayake while the UPFA list will include C.B. Ratnayaka. The Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC), which is contesting with the UPFA here, has fielded candidates including its leader, Arumugam Thondaman.

In the Mahanuwara District, Lakshman Kiriella is the UNP group leader while Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauff Hakeem will contest with the UNP. The UPFA Mahanuwara District group leader is S.B. Dissanayaka and others on the list include Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Keheliya Rambukwella. Anuradha Jayaratne, the son of former prime minister, D.M.Jayaratne, is also on the UPFA ticket. The JVP group leader is Gayan Janaka Kumara.

In the Matale District, the UNP group is led by Wasantha Aluvihare, while the UPFA list includes Janaka Bandara Tennakoon and Lakshman Wasantha Perera. Gamagedera Dissanayaka will lead the JVP team.

In the Jaffna District, the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) General Secretary Mavai Senathirajah is the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) group leader while other candidates include former MP M.A. Sumanthiran.The UNP list is headed by Vijaykala Maheswaran while the UPFA group in Jaffna is led by Angajan Ramanathan. The presence of an independent group of former LTTE cadre contesting the Jaffna district is a notable feature.

In the Wanni District, the ITAK group is headed by former MP Selvam Adakkalinathan while the UNP group is led by Risad Badhiutheen. The UPFA in Wanni is led by Premaratne Sumathipala.

Website to check whether your name is registered
The Elections Department has provided facilities for voters to check whether their names are included in the electoral register.
The Department will be using the 2014 electoral register for the August 17 Parliamentary elections.
Voters can visit the following website and enter the National Identity card number and district of registration to check if the name is included in the list.

6151 candidates let loose on voters
A total of 6,151 candidates representing political parties as well as from independent groups will contest for the 196 seats in parliament on August 17. Altogether, 537 political parties and independent groups fielded nominations with the Elections Department which rejected 36 of them due to faults in the nomination papers.Of candidates who are vying for a seat in the legislature, 3,653 represent political parties while 2,498 are from independent groups.
Family seats, Sri Lankan style
Several interesting combinations including family members are contesting the polls. Three members of the Rajapaksa family will contest from the Hambantota District including former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, Namal Rajapaksa and Nirupama Rajapaksa, while former president Mahinda Rajapaksa will contest from Kurunegala.In the Gampaha District, three brothers will vie for seats: Arjuna Ranatunga for the UNP and Prasanna and Sanjeewa Ranatunga for the UPFA. In the Matale District, the UNP ticket has two brothers, Wasantha and Ranjith Aluvihare, and two sisters, Rohini and Manel Wijeratne.The father and son duo Dr. Rajitha Senaratna and Chatura Seneratne will contest Kalutara and Gampaha respectively from the UNP. Daya Gamage will contest from the Digamadulla District on the UNP ticket while his wife, Anoma Gamage’s name has been included in the party’s National List.

Two former newspaper editors plan to formally enter politics – former Uthayan editor Nadesapillai Vidyatharan in Jaffna as an Independent and V. Devarajah of the weekly Virakesari in Badulla on the CWC ticket.
Three provincial chief ministers, Prasanna Ranatunga (UPFA-WP), Harin Fernando (UNP-Uva) and Dayasiri Jayasekera (UPFA-North Western Province) are standing for seats in the national parliament.

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