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Sri Lanka candidate pledges laws against religious extremism

October 31, 2019 GMT

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s governing party presidential candidate has pledged to refocus the country’s security policy and introduce tough laws to tackle religious extremism and terrorism.

In his election platform, Sajith Premadasa identified religious extremism, illegal drugs and corruption as three issues that require urgent attention.

His platform, released Thursday, says the new laws will allow better monitoring, investigation and prosecution of religious extremists, and will provide severe penalties for hate speech and misinformation.

National security in the aftermath of deadly Easter Sunday bomb attacks has taken prominence in the election campaign as it enters the final two weeks.

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The voting will take place Nov. 16, with Premadasa and former defense official Gotabaya Rajapaksa seen as the leading candidates.