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President dissolves Lankan Parliament paving way for polls

Colombo: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has issued a special gazette notice, dissolving the Parliament and declaring parliamentary elections to be held on April 25.

In the special gazette released by the Presidential Secretariat, Rajapaksa dissolved the Parliament from March 2 midnight and summoned a new parliament to meet on May 14, Xinhua reported.

The gazette also said that the nomination period for the upcoming elections will be held between March 12 and March 19, where nominees can file their nomination papers to election officers.

Sri Lanka’s Parliament is being dissolved after four and a half years, which is the legal limit, paving the way for polls to elect 225 members in the House.

During the dissolution period, the country will be run by a caretaker government with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and a cabinet of ministers, local media reports quoting political experts said, while all state ministers and deputy ministers will lose their posts.

An estimated 16 million people are expected to cast their votes in the April elections.

Sajith Premadasa launches new alliance

Former Sri Lankan presidential hopeful Sajith Premadasa has launched the new Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) alliance ahead of the April 25 parliamentary elections, saying it was a long-term effort to build a new political culture beyond the polls, it was reported.

The SJB, a largely United National Party (UNP) creation, was launched with the participation of a number of the ruling party MPs, minority party politicians and civil society supporters at an event, the Daily Financial Times newspaper reported.

The launch saw 12 political parties and civil society groups sign an agreement to formally join the alliance.

Premadasa is slated to contest the polls from Colombo district, where former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is also in the fray.

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