A senior Sri Lankan minister strongly criticised social media giant Facebook on Monday, November 11th, for censoring comments he made raising doubts about the citizenship of presidential frontrunner, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
As the election date on November 16th approaches, the nationality of Rajapaksa, brother of former strongman president Mahinda Rajapaksa may make his candidature ineligible as Sri Lankan law prohibits citizens of dual nationality from holding elected office, AFP has reported.
In a Facebook post on his official ministry page on November 10th, the Communications Minister, Harin Fernando, asked whether Rajapaksa could be allowed to stand, pointing out he was still a US national. "Is Mr. Rajapaksa legally able to contest a Presidential election in Sri Lanka?" Fernando asked in the now-deleted post. "If elected, will he be able to take oaths and discharge the duties of the office?"
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa migrated to Los Angeles and became a US citizen in 2003, giving up his Sri Lankan passport following a 20-year military career. He returned to Colombo in 2005, when he says he reclaimed Sri Lankan citizenship and was appointed defence secretary in his brother's administration.