COLOMBO, Aug. 11, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa (L) hugs his brother, former defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, at a Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party conference held in Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka, Aug.. Image Source: IANS News

Colombo, Oct 14 : Four foreign monitoring teams have been granted permission to observe Sri Lanka's presidential election on November 16, the island nation's Election Commission said on Monday.

Three of the teams have already arrived in the island on the invitation of the Election Commission, reports Colombo Page.

The fourth group of foreign observers was due to arrive in the coming few days.

A record 35 candidates have filed their nominations for the November 16 polls so far.

Former Defence Minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the candidate for Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has been considered a favourite among the 35 hopefuls.

He formally launched his presidential campaign on October 9. Gotabaya has been backed by incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

The other important face in the fray is the current Minister of Housing Construction and Cultural Affairs Sajith Premadasa, who is the candidate of the New Democratic Front.

Premadasa has been backed by the ruling United National Party, which has refused to contest under its own elephant symbol for a third consecutive time.

The third important candidate is leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) party, Anura Kumara Dissanayaka This will be the island nation's eighth presidential election, with Sirisena's term coming to an end in January 2020.

Sirisena has refused to contest for a second term in office.

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