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Former Sri Lankan strongman’s brother to run for president

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was a livewire in Sri Lanka’s military campaign to end a long civil war but faces allegations of human rights violations, has been nominated as the opposition’s candidate for the presidential election scheduled for later this year.

Gotabaya, a brother of former strongman President Mahinda Rajapaksa, was a powerful defense bureaucrat under his brother’s government, which defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels’ 26-year insurgency in 2009.

Rajapaksa announced his brother’s candidacy to cheering supporters at a rally Sunday in Colombo, the capital. Earlier at the rally, Rajapaksa was named leader of the Sri Lanka People’s Front, under which Gotabaya will contest.

Gotabaya is a hero to many majority Sinhalese, who see him as a prospective strong leader, but is feared by minorities and victims of rights abuses.

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