SRI JAYAWARDENEPURA KOTTE, Sri Lanka, July 2 (UPI) -- Former President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa said he will return to politics by running for the parliamentary elections in August soon after losing the presidency.
Rajapaksa, who was in office since 2005, was defeated in a shock result by Maithripala Sirisena after a bitterly contested election in January.
"For the sake of the country... we will contest the upcoming election," Rajapaksa told a crowd of supporters. "I ask all patriotic forces from all parties to join us in this struggle to regain the integrity of our motherland."
Sirisena became the new leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, which Rajapaksa was also a member of, so it is not clear which party Rajapaksa will represent.
Sirisena dissolved parliament on Friday and Rajapaksa's decision to run may harm the current president's chances of forging a new parliament that supports the reform programs he ran on.
Rajapaksa's parliamentary ambition has been criticized by his own former party members, opponents and human rights groups, for alleged human rights abuses and for ruling in an authoritarian manner when he was president.