Lanka Polls: Srisena in, Rajapakshe out


Colomo: Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakshe faces humiliating defeat in the hands of his former Cabinet colleague and Presidential candidate Maithripala Srisena in the polls which concluded yesterday and the results of which are being declared today. The counting is still on and as far as the results declared till now Srisena is  going to secure a sure victory. The Sri Lankan President called for the elections two years before the completion of his term.

The President was shocked as many of his allies switched sides ahead of his elections including the Presidential candidate Srisena who is to replace him as the President. Apart from some minor incident the elections were largely peaceful with 70% polls. The elections also saw heavy polling at the Tamil dominated areas.

After being re-elected in 2010 Rajapakshe amended the constitution to concentrate power in his hands and removed the term limits of the President allowing him to be reelected for an unprecedented third term.

Srisena who was the General Secretary of Rajapakshe’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party, also served as the Health Minister before defecting to a broad opposition alliance.  Srisena’s campaign focused on the weak points of Rajapakshe and he pledged to weaken the powers of the Presidency and action against corruption.

Rajapakshe was elected to the Presidential Position in 2005 and re-elected in 2010, a year after the government killed LTTE leader Prabhakaran ending the 25 year old civil war in the country. But according to the voters, over the last few years, the Rajapakshe Government had turned authoritative and power hungry. Three of Rajapakshe’s brothers held some top positions in the government with Basil as the Minister of Economic development, Gotabaya as Defence Secretary and Chamal as the Speaker of the Parliament.

The world leaders including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have congratulated Srisena for his victory and the people of Sri Lanka for the peaceful elections. US Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated Rajapakshe for accepting the results and said that is looking forward to work with Srisena to build Sri Lanka which is peaceful, democratic, inclusive and prosperous.