Gotabaya Rajapaksa wins Sri Lanka presidential election

Sri Lanka: Sri Lankan presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa of the Podujana Peramuna (People’s Front) party on Sunday claimed victory over his main rival Sajith Premadasa of the National Democratic Front party.

The retired lieutenant colonel, nicknamed the “Terminator” by his own family, won 53-54 percent of the vote, his spokesman told AFP as Rajapaksa’s main rival Sajith Premadasa of the ruling party 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 49.6 percent share of the vote with close to six million ballots counted. He is the younger brother of the charismatic but controversial Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was president from 2005-15.

Support for Premadasa trailed at some 44%. He had strong support in minority Tamil areas but a poor showing in larger Sinhalese constituencies.

Premadasa has conceded the vote to the opposition candidate.

“It is my privilege to honor the decision of the people and congratulate Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa on his election as the seventh President of Sri Lanka,” said the ruling party candidate.