Mahinda Rajapakse accepts defeat in Sri Lankan presidential poll

Eurasia News

Mahinda Rajapakse accepts defeat in Sri Lankan presidential poll

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: The Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has accepted defeat in the presidential election against the former health minister Maithripala Sirisena.

The country’s 7th presidential election was held on Thursday amid tight security, and during which over 70 percent of the 50 million eligible voters cast their ballots.

The official results are expected to be announced late Friday. However, according to early results, Sirisena was leading with 51.3 percent of the votes while Rajapaksa was behind his challenger with 46.9 percent.

Wijeyanda Herath, Rajakpaksa’s media secretary, said on Friday that the president “concedes defeat and will ensure a smooth transition of power bowing to the wishes of the people”.

His media secretary further said that Rajapaksa had already left his official residence and the new leader would be sworn in later on Friday.

The 69-year-old Rajapakse was sworn in for a six-year term as president on November 19, 2005. Later, he was re-elected for a second term in office on January 27, 2010 but failed to win an unprecedented third term in office in January 8, 2015 presidential election.

The 63-year-old Maithripala Sirisena, the common opposition candidate and a former health minister in Rajapaksa’s government, secured victory in arguably one of the most important presidential elections in the Sri Lanka’s history.