[ti:Rajapaksa Brothers Set to Control Sri Lankan Politics Again]
[00:00.04]One brother is considered likely to become Sri Lanka's president in elections this weekend.
[00:10.04]Another brother is thinking about seeking the prime minister's job
[00:15.42]after parliamentary elections early next year.
[00:21.64]Two other brothers shape policies for their Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna party.
[00:31.56]One of them may become the speaker in parliament.
[00:35.28]Three members of the family's next generation are also active in politics.
[00:45.64]The Rajapaksas are back at the center of Sri Lankan politics,
[00:52.24]and some of the country's citizens are worried.
[00:58.20]The four brothers are famous for the defeat of Tamil rebels
[01:03.08]as well as moving the island nation away from the West and towards China.
[01:10.88]While there are no opinion studies of likely voters, former defense secretary
[01:17.49]Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the favorite to win the presidential election on Saturday.
[01:25.76]His chief opponent is Sajith Premadasa, a government minister.
[01:32.76]Gotabaya led the military operations against Tamil Tiger rebels
[01:38.60]when his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa was president.
[01:44.24]Gotabaya has faced legal action in Sri Lanka and the United States
[01:50.40]over reports of staged killings of Tamil separatists, critics and journalists during the war.
[02:00.76]Both brothers deny the accusations and say they are a part of a Western plot
[02:07.59]to interfere in the nation of 22 million.
[02:13.16]Sri Lanka has long had conflict between the majority Sinhalese Buddhists and minority ethnic Tamils.
[02:23.88]In recent months, the Sinhalese have also targeted the island's Muslim community.
[02:32.12]Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the 2015 presidential election to Maithripala Sirisena.
[02:43.44]Out of office, the family's influence decreased.
[02:49.88]Last April, attackers bombed hotels and churches, killing more than 250 people nationwide.
[02:59.16]The Easter Sunday bombings nearly destroyed Sirisena's presidency.
[03:06.20]He has announced he will not seek re-election.
[03:12.00]The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks.
[03:18.24]The bombings have increased public support for the Rajapaksas
[03:23.76]and their politics of Sinhalese nationalism.
[03:29.64]Mahinda is barred by law from seeking another term as president,
[03:35.25]so he is campaigning for his brother, Gotabaya.
[03:41.48]Another brother, Basil, oversees the party's finances.
[03:46.88]He also makes agreements with competing groups,
[03:51.14]while a fourth brother and former speaker, Chamal,
[03:55.77]campaigns in the family stronghold in the south of the island.
[04:03.00]Currently, Mahinda is the leader of the opposition in parliament.
[04:08.28]He is the clear choice for prime minister when parliamentary elections are held next year,
[04:15.78]said Keheliya Rambukwella, the Gotabaya campaign's spokesman.
[04:24.04]Chamal Rajapaksa would be the choice for parliament speaker,
[04:29.12]a position he held in the past, political experts say.
[04:34.18]In all, seven members of the family are involved in politics,
[04:39.76]and some of the others could also end up in parliament.
[04:45.44]"We are going to see family rule again, and all the excesses
[04:50.85]that came up with it the last time," said Health Minister Rajitha Senarathne.
[04:59.12]The state-operated newspaper Sunday Observer wrote in an editorial
[05:05.15]that it was "afraid" of a Gotabaya presidency and appealed to voters to make the "right choice."
[05:14.24]"A wrong choice will send the country...toward authoritarianism," it said.
[05:21.84]Gotabaya's spokesman dismissed warnings about family rule,
[05:26.95]saying the candidate was quite clear: ability will be the only consideration for top political jobs.
[05:37.76]"When Gotabaya comes to power,
[05:40.64]he will appoint people with qualification to the positions," Rambukwella said.
[05:49.24]During the election campaign, Gotabaya has been talking about the need to strengthen national security.
[05:57.98]He repeatedly has spoken about the Easter Sunday attacks.
[06:04.84]At a campaign event in central Sri Lanka, Gotabaya said he had raised special-forces to stop extremism,
[06:15.02]drug traffickers and criminals during his time as defense secretary.
[06:20.79]He added that the power of these troops had been weakened since he left office.
[06:28.09]I'm Susan Shand. 更多聽力請訪問51VOA.COM