Colombo Telegraph

WikiLeaks: President’s Brother Throws Hat Into Ring

“Late March 2, Anura Bandaranaike, a senior SLFP MP and brother of President Kumaratunga, announced that he wants to be the next SLFP presidential candidate. Bandaranaike’s announcement was an early one: Sri Lanka’s next presidential election will take place in either late 2005 or late 2006. (The exact timing of the election depends on how a complicated dispute concerning the length of President Kumaratunga’s term is settled — see Reftels.) In a lengthy interview with the English-language DAILY MIRROR newspaper published on March 3, Bandaranaike also stated that he would be ‘the last of the Bandaranaikes to be in politics and the dynasty will end with me.’ He also characterized himself  ‘a ruthlessly honest politician.'” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The “Confidential” cable is signed by the US Ambassador to Colombo Jeffrey J. Lunstead on March 09, 2004.

The ambassador wrote; “Bandaranaike, 55, would seem to be a leading contender for the SLFP nomination. First, he is the brother of the President, and both his parents were SLFP prime ministers, which counts for a lot in the SLFP (his father founded the party). He has huge political problems, however. While affable, he is not considered a serious thinker and some even consider him a bit of a buffoon. It is also not clear whether he has the support of his sister, who is thought to distrust him for defecting from the SLFP years ago (he returned to the party fold in 2001). In throwing his hat into the ring, Bandaranaike also has a major rival: senior SLFP MP and former Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapakse is thought to maintain considerable grassroots support in the SLFP.”

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