Colombo: Fifteen more political parties have backed SLPP's presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, taking the number of outfits supporting the former Sri Lankan defence chief to above 40, according to a media report.
As many as 35 candidates are in the fray for the presidential polls to be held on November 16. Over 15 million people are eligible to vote.
Fifteen political parties on Monday signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party to back Rajapaksa, the Daily Mirror reported.
With the agreements signed, the number of political parties backing Rajapaksa have crossed 40, it said.
The 15 parties were Akhila Ilangei Dravida Mahasabha, Sri Lanka Telo Party, Sri Lanka People's National Party, Janatha Sevaka Pakshaya, Eksath Janatha Jathika Pakshaya, New Democratic People's Front, Deshapremi Eksath Jathika Pakshaya, Pragathisheeli Janatha Sevaka Pakshaya, National Front, United Democratic People's Party, United Lanka People's Party, Patriotic Progressive People's Front, Democratic People's Congress, Islam Socialist Front and People's Party of Indian Origin.
Rajapaksa, 70, was the defence chief during the last few years of the three-decade-long civil war, which ended in 2009 with the death of LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran.
He was serving under his brother, the then president Mahinda Rajapaksa.