Updated 23 August 2019
Sri Lanka attacks boost feared ex-official’s bid for power
- Despite accusations of bloodshed, Gotabaya is a hero among majority Sinhalese Buddhists
- Gotabaya’s hardened reputation and vow to ensure national security has become a selling point
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: The presidential campaign of a feared former defense official accused of condoning rape, torture and disappearances in Sri Lanka is getting a boost after deadly attacks this year.
Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the brother of former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa and the opposition candidate in the presidential election expected later this year.
Despite accusations of bloodshed, Gotabaya is a hero among majority Sinhalese Buddhists for his role in ending Sri Lanka’s long civil war in 2009. Many see him as the best choice to protect the South Asian island nation after the Easter Sunday bombings that killed more than 250 people.
Gotabaya’s hardened reputation and vow to ensure national security has become a selling point as the government faces severe criticism for failing to prevent the attacks at churches and hotels.