President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday conceded defeat in Sri Lanka’s tightest-ever presidential race and left his official residence, with cumulative results showing opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena ahead.
Sirisena who was at his native, Purulonawa, on Thursday has arrived at Colombo and shifted to a safe location until the security arrangements are confirmed. His spokesperson said Sirisena will meet the next Prime Minister Ranil Vickramaisnghe at 11 am at the Independence Square, Colombo to discuss the future course of action. Sirisena plans for the first 100 days will be discussed in the meeting besides his oath, which is likely to be held late in the evening.
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“Let’s move towards a compassionate, maithree era,” said Sirisena early on Friday morning, responding to his victory that is almost confirmed. Sources said Rajapaksa who left his official residence, Temple Tree, in the morning reportedly spoke to Sirisena and Ranil Vickramasinghe besides giving necessary directions to the top bureaucracy and the army for the power transition.
Top army and police officials, journalists and officials of Sri Lankan National TV, Rupavahini, were seen visiting Sirisena’s residence in the morning to seek directions.
A senior army official, who was one among many security personnel from Lankan army and police deployed at his residence on Friday morning, said it is a revolution in Sri Lanka against a dictator. “This should be a lesson for all South Asian countries,” he said.