His proclamation to seek re-election was issued this afternoon at an auspicious hour, presidential officials said. A message on the Rajapaksa's twitter account said he signed the proclamation declaring his intention to hold a presidential election seeking another term.

Rajapaksa became eligible to call an election on Friday after completing the mandatory four years in his second term.     Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya's office said the presidential proclamation has been received and the due nominations procedure would follow.

The election is speculated to be held in the early half of January. The President has already kicked off his re-election bid with posters carrying his portrait appearing throughout the island since on Thursday.

The next step is for the Elections Commissioner to accept nominations. The candidates must file their nominations between 16 and 22 days from today. A minimum 28-day period will thereafter be allowed for campaigning. The main opposition challenger to Rajapaksa will be named soon, opposition sources said.

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