Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who spearheaded the brutal crushing of the Tamil Tigers 10 years ago, stormed to victory on Sunday in Sri Lanka’s presidential elections with 53-54 per cent of the vote.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the retired lieutenant colonel, is nicknamed the “Terminator” by his own family. His main rival Sajith Premadasa of the ruling party has conceded the race.
“It is a clear win. We envisaged it. We are very happy that Gota will be the next president. He will be sworn in tomorrow or the day after,” spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said. Rajapaksa, 70, had a 49.6pc share of the vote with close to six million ballots counted. He is the younger brother of the charismatic Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was president from 2005-15.
Results from Sinhalese-majority regions — the Rajapaksas’ core support base — were expected to push this above 50pc. Premadasa, 52, of the ruling party was trailing at 44.4pc. He had strong support in minority Tamil areas and a poor showing in larger Sinhalese constituencies.
Election Commission chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said at least 80pc of the 15.99 million eligible voters participated in Saturday’s poll, which was marred by isolated violence that left several people injured. — AFP