Sri Lanka News: Why China and India focused on Sri Lanka's election?

Sri Lanka News
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Country's security concerns and future economic policy model, voting is now being held for the presidential election in Sri Lanka on Saturday (October 16).

A record 35 candidates have landed in the electoral fray, but former Home Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Housing Minister Sajit Premadasa are the two candidates who are being considered as the tough contest.

The new president will have to handle many tasks quickly because parliamentary elections are to be held in 2020 and the country's economy is in the grip of sluggishness, corruption is at its peak and ethnic tensions also prevail.

In April, the Islamic State (IS) carried out eight blasts targeting churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on the occasion of Easter Sunday, in which more than 250 people were killed.

Due to which the tourism industry, which is very important for the economy of the island, got hit hard.
Sri Lanka News
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Have to get 50% of the votes to win?

The number of voters in Sri Lanka, with a population of about 2.1 crore, is around 16 million. At the time of voting, they have to choose their top three leaders.

The candidate who will get more than 50 percent of the votes will be elected as the President.

If no candidate is able to get 50% of the vote, then the winner is selected by the second and third preference votes.
Sri Lanka News
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Who is ahead in the presidential race?

In the election, there is a direct contest between two big leaders Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajit Premadasa.

The current President Maithripala Sirisena has decided not to stand for elections this time. His Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has spoken of Rajapaksa's support.

Rajapaksa has been an important member of his elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa's government. Both of them are credited with ending the decades-old civil war in 2009, but the younger brother was accused of war crimes. But he has been denying any such wrongdoing.

Despite the popularity, Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his Sri Lankan Podujana Perumana (SLPP) party have been controversial over their harsh policies towards minorities.

Informed apprehensions that if Rajapaksa is elected, religious and ethnic tensions could arise in the country.

Indian strategic affairs expert Brahma Chellani wrote in the daily Mint, "There are certainly fears among minorities, media and those who raise voice for civil rights before the decision is made about the possibility of an alleged war crime accused becoming president."

Premadasa represents the National Democratic Front (NDF), which is a member of the alliance with the right-leaning ruling United National Party (UNP).

The former president's son Premadasa is currently the UNP deputy leader and the minister for housing, construction and cultural affairs in the government.

Apart from these, MP Anura Disnayake and Mahesh Senanayake, who have been commanders in the army, are two other big names in the election ground, but no one is expecting any serious challenge from these two.