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Sri Lanka: Gotabaya Rajapaksa wins a court battle

This is major furtherance to the main opposition predominated by Rajapaksa family

The special three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal headed by Justice Yasantha Kodagoda has dismissed the petition questioned his dual citizenship 


The special three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal headed by Justice Yasantha Kodagoda has dismissed the petition filed by civil rights activists Mr Gamini Viyangoda and Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara regarding the citizenship of Gotabaya.

As the country dismissed the petition, former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Presidential bid from Sri Lanka Podujana Party is eligible to contest the forthcoming presidential elections scheduled to be held on November 16 this year. This is major furtherance to the main opposition predominated by the family members of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. 

The Criminal Investigations Department previously told the court that the Immigration Department had informed them that dual citizenship matters had been handled by the Defence Ministry in 2005. 

Accordingly, the petitioners claimed that the certificate had been issued by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa when a cabinet of ministers had not been functioning. However, Presidents Counsel Romesh de Silva appearing for Rajapaksa argued that former President Rajapaksa who was the Executive President at that time could exercise the powers of ministers when a cabinet was not functioning.

Meanwhile, as an alternative option, before the court announced the decision, the eldest brother of Rajapaksa family and former Speaker of the Parliament, MP Chamal Rajapaksa has placed the deposit for the Presidential Elections as an independent candidate.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa
Born in 1949, Mr. Rajapaksa joined the Ceylon Army as a Cadet Officer on April 26, 1971, when Sri Lanka was still a dominion of the British Commonwealth. Following his basic officer training at the Army Training Centre, Diyatalawa, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant on May 1972, in the Ceylon Signals Corps.

Later he served as second in command of the 1st battalion, Gajaba Regiment with the rank of Major under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Vijaya Wimalaratne. The 1st Battalion was deployed to the Jaffna peninsula between 1983 to 1984 and again 1985 with the escalation of the Sri Lankan Civil War.

Following his voluntary retirement, he was migrated to the United States in 1998 and worked in Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, U.S. as a Systems Administrator.

Later in 2005, he came to Sri Lanka as a citizen of USA to assist the Presidential Campaign where his second elder brother was a bidder. Subsequently, the victory of the elections in the same, Mr Rajapaksa appointed as the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

In 2015, Mahinda Rajapaksa was defeated in his bid for a third term by Maithripala Sirisena and Gotabaya Rajapaksa has resigned from the Ministry.

On August 2019, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced that Gotabaya Rajapaksa will be their candidate for the 2019 Presidential election.

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