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A popular pro-government news website has reported that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will not contest the next presidential election.

 
According to 'Lanka C News', the President has stated this at a meeting of party leaders held recently.
 
A parliamentarian who took part in the meeting had told 'Lanka C News' that the President had assured that he was ready to field a candidate who could garner minority votes at the next presidential election. He had also intimated his desire to contribute to efforts that would help that candidate garner enough votes from the Sinhala vote base.
 
A senior Minister noted that pro-government nationalist forces including Minister Wimal Weerawansa are making a concerted effort to field Gotabaya Rajapaksa for the next presidential election as well.
 
However, he said that the Rajapaksa family has already decided to field Basil Rajapaksa as the next presidential candidate and to nominate Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa as the prime ministerial candidate.
 
Meanwhile, a Minister with close links to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that the President is yet to make a final decision on the next presidential election. "Let these rumors float around. There's still time left," he said.

"He was brought in as the candidate at the last minute. It will be the same next time as well," he added.