Sri Lanka election body declares Rajapaksa winner of presidential poll

Sri Lanka election body declares Rajapaksa winner of presidential poll

Violent backdropSri Lanka's Centre for Monitoring Election Violence reported at least 69 incidents of violence taking place on election day.

One of three Election Commissioners, Ratnajeevan Hoole, said the authorities failed to provide adequate protection to internally displaced minority Muslims in the multi-ethnic northwest.

Sri Lanka's former civil wartime defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa was declared the victor in the presidential election on Sunday, after promising to secure the country against militant threats following Easter bombings this year.

Premadasa contested from the ruling government.

Deshappriya estimated turnout at 80%. While the majority group, Sinhalese, voted overwhelmingly in favour of Gotabaya, he remains a despised figure among the minorities like Tamils and Muslims. The Rajapaksa brothers are also accused of condoning rape and extrajudicial killings and deliberately targeting civilians and hospitals during the war. Tens of thousands of people disappeared during the 26-year civil war, and more than 100,000 people died.

The return of a Rajapaksa to power could have major implications for human rights and freedom of expression in Sri Lanka. Many Muslims fled the area in 1982, when the Tamil insurgency began to grow, and others were evicted from the north in 1990. Gampaha district registered the highest number of 1,751,892 voters.

Police reinforcements rushed to the troubled area, cleared the road obstructions and escorted the convoy so passengers could cast their ballots. Under Mahinda Rajapaksa's presidency, there was a repression of dissent, with journalists and campaigners regularly arrested and attacked, while the courts and the police were controlled by the government. The perpetrators built a makeshift roadblock out of burning tyres, before shooting at the buses and pelting them with stones.

"Fiscal risks will also likely rise under another Rajapaksa president as the country is likely to borrow heavily for more China-backed infrastructure projects", Gupta added. The incoming Sri Lankan president as well as the then defence secretary worked closely with Pakistan, which played a key role in helping Colombo defeat the Tamil insurgency backed by India.

In a tweet on Sunday, he said we hope to continue working with the new Sri Lankan President for betterment of our people and to advance our shared interests of regional peace, stability and prosperity. "I think my country is very unstable at the moment, so I want that to change", she told me. But after a victory, "I will be President for all Sri Lankans", Mr. Gotabaya has promised.

Premadasa, the son of a former president who was assassinated in a Tamil Tiger suicide bombing, has gained support in recent weeks by promising to expand welfare programs and bringing disgruntled party stalwarts into the fold.

His statement came as a spokesman for Rajapaksa claimed that the 70-year-old retired lieutenant colonel had won Saturday's vote, before the final results were formally announced.

Last year, an influential Buddhist monk famously called Mr. Rajapaksa a "Hitler" who would discipline society, and later his brother Mr. Basil said he would be a "Terminator", who will end corruption. He was once a U.S. citizen and had a home in that country.

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