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General (Retd) Mahesh Senanayake Joins Samagi Jana Balawegaya to Lead New Wing

LNW (Colombo) Sri Lanka – General (Retd) Mahesh Senanayake, former Army Commander of Sri Lanka, has officially joined the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and will lead its newly established affiliate, the ‘Samagi Ranawiru Balawegaya.’

Senanayake, who served as the 22nd Army Commander and Chief of Staff before retiring in 2019 with a promotion to General, is no stranger to the political arena. He previously contested the 2019 presidential election, where he finished fourth.

The move marks a significant shift within the SJB amidst ongoing legal disputes involving the party chairman, former Army Commander Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka.

Previously, SJB leader Sajith Premadasa faced similar scrutiny when he brought former Army Commander Daya Ratnayake into the party. Now, with Senanayake’s entry, Premadasa aims to bolster his position ahead of the next presidential election. Sources close to Premadasa indicate that Senanayake’s military background and leadership experience will strengthen Premadasa’s presidential campaign.

Including former military personnel in political campaigns is a trend across the political spectrum. Anura Kumara Dissanayake (AKD) has similarly enlisted several ex-military and retired police officers to support his campaign efforts. Meanwhile, presidential aspirant Dilith Jayaweera has actively engaged with veterans, presenting his vision for the country.

In contrast, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has notably refrained from courting former service members in his re-election campaign strategy, setting a distinct approach from his rivals.

As Sri Lanka heads toward its next presidential election, the involvement of military figures in political campaigns continues to shape the landscape, promising a competitive and dynamic election season.

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