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Presidential candidate in Sri Lanka vows to scrap powerful presidency system if he wins

  • Former Sri Lankan Health Minister and presidential candidate of the common opposition Maithripala Sirisena prays during an event in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. Sirisena on Monday signed an agreement with opposition parties, trade unions and professional groups to scrap the country's powerful presidential system and carry out other democratic reforms if he beats incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa and wins January's presidential election. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

    Former Sri Lankan Health Minister and presidential candidate of the common opposition Maithripala Sirisena prays during an event in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. Sirisena on Monday signed an agreement with opposition parties, trade unions and professional groups to scrap the country's powerful presidential system and carry out other democratic reforms if he beats incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa and wins January's presidential election. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former Sri Lankan Health Minister and presidential candidate of the common opposition Maithripala Sirisena waves to his supporters during an event in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. Sirisena on Monday signed an agreement with opposition parties, trade unions and professional groups to scrap the country's powerful presidential system and carry out other democratic reforms if he beats incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa and wins January's presidential election. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

    Former Sri Lankan Health Minister and presidential candidate of the common opposition Maithripala Sirisena waves to his supporters during an event in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. Sirisena on Monday signed an agreement with opposition parties, trade unions and professional groups to scrap the country's powerful presidential system and carry out other democratic reforms if he beats incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa and wins January's presidential election. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former Sri Lankan Health Minister and presidential candidate of the common opposition Maithripala Sirisena, left, and former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunge attend an event in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. Sirisena on Monday signed an agreement with opposition parties, trade unions and professional groups to scrap the country's powerful presidential system and carry out other democratic reforms if he beats incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa and wins January's presidential election. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

    Former Sri Lankan Health Minister and presidential candidate of the common opposition Maithripala Sirisena, left, and former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunge attend an event in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. Sirisena on Monday signed an agreement with opposition parties, trade unions and professional groups to scrap the country's powerful presidential system and carry out other democratic reforms if he beats incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa and wins January's presidential election. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)  (The Associated Press)

A former Sri Lanka health minister has signed an agreement with opposition parties, trade unions and professionals to scrap the country's powerful presidential system and carry out other democratic reforms if he beats incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa and wins January's presidential election.

Maithripala Sirisena led a revolt in Rajapaksa's Sri Lanka Freedom Party last month and announced he will run in the Jan. 8 election, with the backing of the country's main opposition United National Party.

Sirisena pledged Monday to make the police, judiciary and government bureaucracy independent from political interference within 100 days of being elected.

He has accused Rajapaksa of nepotism, corruption and turning the country into an autocracy. Eight other ministers and lawmakers have also defected from the government to support Sirisena.