Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa defeated, Sirisena to be sworn in as President 

Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena

Colombo, Jan 9: Maithripala Sirisena has become victorious with 51.3% votes in the Sri Lanka’s presidential election, defeating longtime president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Rajapaksa has acknowledged his defeat and promised for smooth power transition and Sirisena is to be sworn in today.

President-elect Sirisena, 63, was health minister in Rajapaksa’s cabinet before he defected from the ruling party in November and announced his candidacy.

He capitalized on the outgoing President Rajapaksa’s unpopularity among this island’s ethnic and religious minorities, as well as grumbling among the Sinhalese majority about his growing power and the country’s economic troubles.

The election results came as surprise as Rajapaksa had built up immense power after defeating the Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009, using his huge popularity with Sinhalese majority who hailed him as a king in this nation of 21 million.

Rajapaksa was seeking his third term in the office by amending the constitution that provisioned for two terms only.

The Oslo Times

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