Ex-defence chief Rajapaksa wins Sri Lanka presidency

Published: November 17, 2019 18:19:59 | Updated: November 17, 2019 22:15:13

Sri Lanka's former wartime defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa has won a presidential election that has split the country along ethnic lines.

Official results showed Mr Rajapaksa took 52.25 per cent of the vote. His rival Sajith Premadasa had already conceded.

Analysts say Mr Rajapaksa was the clear victor in Sinhalese majority areas while Mr Premadasa scored better in the Tamil-dominated north, reports BBC.

The election is Sri Lanka's first since a deadly terror attack in April.

Militants linked to the Islamic State group targeted churches and high-end hotels across the island on Easter Sunday, killing more than 250 people.

Mr Premadasa publicly conceded when partial results showed Mr Rajapaksa was certain to emerge the winner.

"It is my privilege to honour the decision of the people and congratulate Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa on his election as the seventh president of Sri Lanka," Mr Premadasa said.

In a statement on Twitter, Mr Rajapaksa made a call for national unity saying "all Sri Lankans are part of this journey".

Turnout was 83.7 per cent, the election commission said.

Mr Rajapaksa is due to be sworn in at a ceremony on Monday.

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