Rajapaksa to seek second term as Sri Lanka crisis deepens20 July 2021
Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced on Monday he would stand for a second term, reversing a promise to only stay for five years, media reports said.
The 72-year-old nationalist leader told top media executives he needed more time to fix Sri Lanka's worsening economic crisis, reports said. During his triumphant 2019 election campaign, Rajapaksa said he would be a one-term president. He reaffirmed in March last year that one five-year term was sufficient to implement his ambitious manifesto, triggering a succession struggle within the powerful Rajapaksa family that dominates the government. Elections are not due until 2024, but Rajapaksa now says he needs five more years to implement his "Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour" manifesto after the economy contracted by a record 3.6% in his first year. The government has banned many imports because of a foreign currency crunch.