Having called an election two years before it was due, president now faces a real challenge in Thursday's poll.
| by Al Jazeera
( January 7, 2015, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa may have expected to easily secure a third term in office.
But now he faces a real and unprecedented challenge, after his former health minister, Mithripala Sirisena, decided to run against him in Thursday's vote.
Rajapaksa also stands accused of corruption, nepotism and human rights violations during his country's long civil war.
So, will Sri Lankans still give him a third term in office?
Presenter: Sami Zeidan
CA Chandraprema - Political Correspondent for The Island newspaper.
Alan Keenen - Sri Lanka Project Director at the International Crisis Group.
Rajiva Wijesinha - Member of Parliament and former Head of the Peace Secretariat.