World – Lanka President Rajapaksa wins re-election
COLOMBO: Incumbent Mahinda Rajapska on Wednesday emerged victorious in the bitterly-fought first post-LTTE era presidential elections against former
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army chief Sarath Fonseka after counting showed that he had secured nearly 60 per cent of the total votes polled, according to his office.
64-year-old Rajapaksa polled 60 lakh votes or 58.8 percent of the total ballots cast while Fonseka, the joint opposition candidate, secured 41 lakh or 40.8 per cent, sources in the president’s office said.
“By all accounts, His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa has won the presidential elections as one only needs over 50 per cent of the votes,” Presidential office sources told PTI.
On 59-year-old Fonseka’s charges of poll rigging, the sources said it was “absolutely untrue” and pointed out that even former prime minister and opposition UNP chief Ranil Wicremasinghe had given a clean chit on the issue.
Wicremasinghe told reporters that the polls were by and large peaceful and free of any rigging.
Rajapaksa’s supporters came to the streets in many parts of the country bursting crackers.
As the election trends started coming in, tension soared in the capital as heavily-armed soldiers drove in and surrounded the lake-front luxury hotel in central Colombo, where Fonseka was staying.
Later, military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said the troops had been deployed following information that suspected army deserters were among 400 people present inside.
“We don’t know whether these suspected army deserters are providing security or are associated with Gen (retd.) Sarath Fonseka,” Nanayakkara said.
But opposition condemned the army action, with its spokesman saying the trend was “dangerous”.
Later, a group of 10 security officials attached to Fonseka’s security contingent came out and gave themselves up to the troops surrounding the hotel.
Fonseka’s camp claimed the 10 men were part of the security contingent given to the opposition presidential candidate by Election Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake and were not army deserters.
The government had earlier accused the former army chief of hiring a private militia comprising army deserters, a charge denied by the opposition.
The opposition spokesman said “they feared for Fonseka’s safety.”
Post-vote violence was also reported from the scenic area of Kandy, where two people were killed in an explosion
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