Sri Lankan President wins re-election: State TV ( admin posted on January 15th, 2019 )

Incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa has won Sri Lanka’s first election since the Tamil Tiger rebels were defeated following 25 years of civil war, reports Sri Lankan state TV.

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Elections Commissioner gave Mr Rajapaksa 4.99 million votes to 3.39 million for his rival, General Sarath Fonseka, with nearly 85% of the vote counted, reported the BBC.

According to reports, 70% of the electorate of just over 14 million voted.

“It is a resounding victory for the president,” the state-run Rupavahini channel announced.

But Sri Lanka’s opposition has condemned the deployment of troops around their presidential candidate’s hotel and complained of numerous poll violations during the election.

Opposition spokesman Rauf Hakeen said that former army chief Sarath Fonseka, who challenged incumbent Mahinda Rajapakse in Tuesday’s vote, felt he was being held against his will because of troops surrounding his hotel in Colombo.

The BBC reported a government spokesperson as saying they did not intend to hold the General Fonseka, but were looking for army deserters.

Hakeen said the situation was “unfathomable” and unprecedented for a presidential election contest.

“The opposition parties together will make an appeal to the government, to ensure (Fonseka’s) freedom of movement and his security,” he said.

Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said the troops had been deployed following information that army deserters were among some 400 people inside.

“We have sent a message asking them to surrender,” Nanayakkara said, insisting that Fonseka himself was not the target.

“We know General Fonseka is inside, but our interest is in the deserters who could be armed,” he said.

But the Opposition was outraged.

“I am going to meet a diplomat of a neighbouring country to seek assurances of the safety of Sarath Fonseka,” spokesman Mano Ganeshan said, in an apparent reference to India.

The government had earlier accused Fonseka of employing a private militia consisting of army deserters, a charge denied by the opposition.

The campaign’s vitriolic nature, the personal animosity between the two main candidates and tit-for-tat accusations of coup plots had all fuelled concerns that any result would be contested and foment new unrest.

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