Colombo: Gotabaya Rajapaksa has claimed victory in the Sri Lankan presidential polls after defeating Sajith Premadasa of the ruling United National Party.
Rajapaksa won 53-54 per cent of the vote and Premadasa issued a statement on Sunday, ” At the conclusion of a hard-fought and spirited election campaign, 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.”
Premadasa, 52, of the ruling party was trailing at 44.4 percent. He had strong support in minority Tamil areas and a poor showing in larger Sinhalese constituencies.
Rajapaksa is credited for having crushed the Tamil Tigers 10 years ago. He conducted a nationalist campaign with a promise of security and a vow to crush religious extremism in the Buddhist-majority country following the April 21 suicide bomb attacks blamed on a homegrown terror group.