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Sri Lanka ruling party candidate stresses security

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — The presidential candidate of Sri Lanka’s governing partysays he will put a former army chief in charge of national security if he wins, an apparent move to counter former defence chief and front-runner Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whose campaign centres on security following last Easter’s deadly suicide bomb attacks.

Security has become a key issue in the Nov. 17 election after the bombings, which killed more than 260 people.

Sajith Premadasa pledged Thursday to give priority to national security and “eliminate all forms of terrorism.” He said he would appoint Sarath Fonseka, who led the army when it defeated ethnic Tamil rebels, ending a 26-year civil war.

Premadasa’s main rival, Rajapaksa, is the brother of former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The Associated Press