Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna’s (SLPP) presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday launched his election manifesto for the November 16 polls.

Gotabaya, who is also a former Defence Minister, launched the manifesto titled “The Ten Principles of Inclusive Governance” at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre here, reports the Daily Mirror newspaper.

It was launched under the leadership of SLPP leader and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also Gotabaya’s brother.

According to Gotabaya’s co-media spokesperson, MP Keheliya Rambukwella said that the manifesto has been prepared after carefully studying the information obtained through consultations with the public, experts in many sectors, trade unions and various organizations over a number of months, the Colombo Page newspaper reported.

He said that 28 monitoring committees have studied the facts extensively to prepare the manifesto and it was not merely a promissory note but a reality that could and would be fulfilled.

The manifesto prepared with the objective of improving the living standards of the people and developing the economy outlines a clear program to build the country with the national security as the top priority, Rambukwella said.

A record 35 candidates have filed their nominations for the island nation’s eighth presidential election, with incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena’s term coming to an end in January 2020.

Of the 35 hopefuls, Gotabaya and the ruling United National Party’s (UNP) Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa, who is contesting as the National Democratic Front (NDF) contender, have emerged as the two favourites.

Gotabaya, who served as the Defence Minister in his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa’s administration, oversaw the end of Sri Lanka’s brutal 25-year civil war in 2009.

Premadasa is the son of late President Ranasinghe Premadasa, who ruled the country with an iron fist before he was assassinated by a Tamil suicide bomber on May 1, 1993.