Sri Lankan Candidate Comes Out Against Crown

Mithripala Sirisena, who is running for president of Sri Lanka against incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa, has pledged to cancel a casino license given to Crown Resorts Ltd. if he wins the vote. The election is January 8.

Incumbent challenged by allegations of corruption, war crimes

Mithripala Sirisena, the New Democratic Front candidate for president of Sri Lanka, has said he will cancel the casino license granted to Australia’s Crown Resorts Ltd. if he is elected. Sirisena made the statement in a manifesto released last month.

The former health minister for incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sirisena resigned in November to run as an opposition candidate, reported Reuters. Rajapaksa, who is credited with helping to end the nation’s long civil war, is seeking his third term in office but is facing allegations of corruption, nepotism, war crimes and human rights violations, the news bureau reported.

Sirisena, who is trying to appeal to the Buddhist vote, also has found support among ethnic minority Tamils, Muslims and Christians. The main opposition United National Party supports him.

In the manifesto, he lambasted the current government, saying, “The extent of corruption in Sri Lanka in the last few years is unprecedented and unheard of. I would achieve for the country 10 times the development that actually occurred during the past six years.”

In 2013, Rajapaksa awarded Crown Resorts a license to build a $400 million mixed-use resort that includes a casino.

Voters will go to the polls January 8.