PM Modi calls up Maithripala Sirisena, congratulates him on Sri Lankan poll victory

There has been a change of guard in Sri Lanka following its national electons.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called up Maithripala Sirisena to congratulate him on his victory in Sri Lankan polls. He reaffirmed India's continued solidarity and support towards its neighbour.

'I spoke to Shri Maithripala Sirisena and congratulated him. I congratulate the people of Sri Lanka on the peaceful and democratic poll process,' he said.

'As a close friend and neighbour, reaffirmed India's continued solidarity and support for Sri Lanka's peace, development and prosperity,' the PM said.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa today conceded defeat in a tight Sri Lankan presidential contest. The results affirmed opposition candidate Sirisena's victory.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa conceded defeat on in the presidential race in the country and left his official residence, with cumulative results showing opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena ahead.

President Rajapaksa has left his official residence, accepting the people's mandate in the presidential election, a statement to this effect from Rajapaksa's office has said.

Though the final result is yet to be declared, Maithripala Sirisena is expected to win by around 4,00,000 votes.

'The President had talks with the main opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and conveyed his wish to let the new president take over without any hindrance', the official statement said.

Rajapaksa, who was seeking a record third term, was involved in a grim battle for survival.

Sri Lankans voted on in large numbers in the bitterly contested presidential election in the country's biggest political upset in over a decade. The election officials had estimated more than 65-70 per cent voting in most places.

Though there were 19 candidates in the fray, the main fight was between two-term president 69 years old Rajapaksa and his 63 years old former cabinet colleague Sirisena.

Rajapaksa had called the election two years ahead of schedule, hoping to win a record third six year term riding on the military defeat of the Tamil Tigers. This came at the ends of a three decade war over the demand of a separate Tamil Eelam.

Maithripala Sena, the man who beat Rajapaksa today, was formerly health minister in his cabinet. Sirisena walked out of the government a day after polls were called, setting off a wave of political turmoil and energizing a long-dispirited and hesitant opposition.

Rajapaksa was the undisputed leader of Lanka for nearly a decade. But the country is grappling with divisions between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority groups.

The opposition campaign had accused Rajapaksa of nepotism, misrule, corruption and authoritarianism. Rajapaksa's brothers - Gotabhaya and Basil - are defence and economic ministers respectively besides a number of his family members who are holding key posts and positions.

Sirisena backed by the main opposition United National Party and another key breakaway group the Jathika Hela Urumaya or the Buddhist Monk party have plans for a series of constitutional and democratic reforms.

Courtesy India Tomorrow.Co

Latest News