Former Sri Lankan Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been elected to the President. In Sri Lanka, 80 percent voting was recorded for the eighth presidential election on Saturday.
New Delhi: Former Sri Lankan Defense Minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been elected to the President. In Sri Lanka, 80 percent voting was recorded for the eighth presidential election on Saturday. The country is still recovering from the wounds of the nearly three-decade-long civil war and the terrorist attack here on Easter day seven months ago.
On the other hand, Sri Lankan ruling party candidate Sajit Premdas accepted his defeat in the presidential election in the country and congratulated his main rival and former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Premdas said, “It is a privilege for me to honor the decision of the people and congratulate Gotabaya Rajapaksa for being elected as the seventh President of Sri Lanka.” Prior to Premdas’s statement, Rajapaksa’s spokesman claimed before the official announcement of the election result that the 70-year-old retired lieutenant colonel won the election on Saturday.
Former Defense Minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa is a retired soldier who took command of the Defense Department of Sri Lanka during the time when his elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa was the President (2005-2015). Also, when Sri Lanka ended its war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009, he was also the head of the Department of Defense.
Although the political future of this family seemed to be vanishing after the 2015 defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa, the position of Gotabhaya has strengthened since the Easter attacks on 21 April this year. 269 people were killed in these attacks.
During the election campaign, he presented himself as a nationalist and champion of the Sinhalese Buddhist majority, while also promising strong national security in the wake of the April attacks. On the other hand, Sajit Premadasa, son of Ranasinghe Premadasa, who became President in 1989, killed by LTTE in May 1993, has pledged to fight for Muslim and Tamil minorities.
Let me tell you that the main contest is between Sajit Premadasa (52) of the ruling New Democratic Front (NDF) alliance and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (70) of Sri Lanka Podujana Perumana (SLPP). Apart from this, 35 candidates also tried their luck in this election. This is the first time since 1982 that the most contenders for the presidential election are in the fray. Only 18 candidates contested in 2015.