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Sri Lanka Presidential Elections 2019 HIGHLIGHTS: PM Narendra Modi congratulates Gotabaya Rajapaksa for winning polls

Sri Lanka Presidential Elections 2019 HIGHLIGHTS: Millions of Sri Lankans voted on Saturday to elect a new president to lead the country out of its deepest economic slump in over 15 years, following Easter Sunday suicide bombings.

By: Express Web Desk | Colombo, New Delhi |
Updated: November 17, 2019 5:56:16 pm
After hiatus, Rajapaksa brothers set to dominate Sri Lanka again Sri Lanka People’s Front party presidential election candidate and former wartime defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa (R) and his brother, former president and opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa wave to their supporters during an election campaign rally in Bandaragama, Sri Lanka. (REUTERS)

Sri Lanka Presidential Elections 2019 HIGHLIGHTS: Sri Lanka’s ruling party presidential candidate has conceded defeat to rival Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the Indian Ocean island nation’s election. Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa said in a statement that he will “honor the decision of the people” in polls Saturday favoring Rajapaksa, the civil war-era defence secretary who served under his brother, ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, AP reported.

Millions of Sri Lankans voted on Saturday to elect a new president to lead the country out of its deepest economic slump in over 15 years, following Easter Sunday suicide bombings that sapped investor confidence and hurt its tourism sector. The results are expected to be declared by Monday.

In the early hours of Saturday, a convoy of over 100 buses carrying minority Muslim voters was targeted by gunmen in Anuradhapura in northwest Sri Lanka. The voters, travelling from Puttalam to Mannar, escaped unhurt while a few buses were damaged.

Live Blog

Sri Lanka's Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared victory on Sunday in the nation's presidential election. Follow HIGHLIGHTS.

16:36 (IST)17 Nov 2019
I am grateful for the opportunity: Gotabaya Rajapaksa

"I am grateful for the opportunity to be the President, not only of those who voted for me, but as the President of all Sri Lankans. The trust you have invested in me is deeply moving and being your president will be the greatest honor of my life -Let’s put our vision into action!" Gotabaya Rajapaksa said in a tweet after official results were announced. 

16:16 (IST)17 Nov 2019
Sri Lanka presidential elections: Official results announced

Rajapaksa secured 52.25 per cent votes (6,924,255) while Premadasa received 41.99 per cent (5,564,239), according to the official results.

Other candidates got 5.76 per cent votes, the election commission said.

16:00 (IST)17 Nov 2019
Gotabaya Rajapaksa wins presidential election with 52.25% votes

Sri Lanka Election Commission declares Gotabya Rajapaksa as the winner in the presidential poll with 52.25 per cent votes, news agency PTI reported.

15:06 (IST)17 Nov 2019
Visuals from Colombo

Supporters of Sri Lanka People's Front party presidential election candidate and former wartime defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa celebrate after he won the presidential election in Colombo, Sri Lanka November 17, 2019. (Reuters)
14:42 (IST)17 Nov 2019
Look forward to strengthening our friendship and meeting you: Rajapaksa to PM Modi

"I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the people of India for your warm wishes. Our two nations are bound by history and common beliefs and I look forward to strengthening our friendship and meeting you in the near future," Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who won the presidential vote tweeted.

14:37 (IST)17 Nov 2019
We must remember that all Sri Lankans are part of this journey: Gotabaya Rajapaksa

``As we usher in a new journey for Sri Lanka, we must remember that all Sri Lankans are part of this journey. Let us rejoice peacefully, with dignity and discipline,'' Gotabaya Rajapaksa tweeted.

13:41 (IST)17 Nov 2019
Who is Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the man who is set to become Sri Lanka’s President?

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, 70, likely the next President of Sri Lanka, is best known as the man who crushed the Tamil Tigers. As a former Army officer who served as Sri Lanka’s defence secretary when his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa was President, Gotabaya led the military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam between 2007 and 2009, which ended with the final defeat of the Tigers, and the killing of its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. The Rajapaksa brothers have repeatedly claimed credit for having “defeated terrorism”, and for being the only country in the world to have succeeded in doing so. Read more here 

13:06 (IST)17 Nov 2019
PM Modi congratulates Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Taking to Twitter, PM Modi congratulated Gotabaya Rajapaksa on his victory in the presidential elections.

13:04 (IST)17 Nov 2019
Ex-defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa storms to victory

Rajapaksa oversaw the military defeat of Tamil separatists under his brother and then president Mahinda Rajapaksa 10 years ago. He has promised strong leadership to secure the island of 22 million people, the majority of whom are Sinhalese Buddhists. Rajapaksa, 70, would be the latest nationalist leader swept to power across the world, tapping into the anger and fears of majority communities. He and his brothers, who are expected to get key positions, are also seen as closer to China, which has invested billions of dollars building ports, expressways and power stations. Read more here

12:49 (IST)17 Nov 2019
It is people's victory: Rajapaksa spokesman

Supporters outside Gotabaya Rajapaksa's home on the outskirts of the capital Colombo hugged and cheered, some clutching bouquets of flowers. ``It's a people's victory. The sound policies he put across have been well received by the people,'' said Rajapaksa spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella.

11:51 (IST)17 Nov 2019
Former Sri Lankan defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa wins presidential vote

Sri Lanka's ruling party presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa has conceded defeat to rival Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the Indian Ocean island nation's election. Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa says in a statement he will ``honor the decision of the people'' in polls Saturday favoring Rajapaksa, the civil war-era defense secretary who served under his brother, ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, AP reported.

11:02 (IST)17 Nov 2019
Ruling party candidate Premadasa concedes to Opposition candidate Rajapaksa

Rajapaksa was heading for a clear cut win, result indicators showed Sunday. The 70-year-old former wartime defence secretary, the younger brother of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, has swept the poll with over 60 per cent margins in most Sinhala majority districts while his 52-year-old rival Premadasa has performed well in the minority Tamil-dominated north and east provinces. (PTI)

09:07 (IST)17 Nov 2019
Key facts on Sri Lanka as it elects new president

Separated by the narrow Palk Strait from India’s southern tip, the country has a 65,000-square-kilometer (25,000-square-mile) land mass and around 22 million people. The largest ethnic group is Sinhala, who make up roughly 75% of the population, most of whom are Buddhists. Tamils, who are mostly Hindus, are about 15%, while 9% are Muslims. Sinhala and Tamil are the official languages. The main foreign exchange earners are remittances from overseas workers, tourism and tea exports.

08:14 (IST)17 Nov 2019
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa takes lead in early trends

A family of strongmen who tilted the nation toward a deep reliance on China took a slim early lead in the early count of Sri Lanka’s presidential election, against the current government that promises more freedom but failed to avert terror attacks that killed over 250 people in April. With about 10% of the polling divisions declared, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, 70, whose brother Mahinda had close ties with Beijing during his 10-year rule, led by 46.6% to 45.5% for Sajith Premadasa, 52, according to state Rupavahini, with the rest split among others of the record 35 candidates. Initial returns included postal ballots and polling divisions in the island’s northern Jaffna peninsula. Read more here

20:25 (IST)16 Nov 2019
Sri Lanka votes for new president amid multiple poll-related incidents

Sri Lankans voted on Saturday to choose a successor to President Maithripala Sirisena amid multiple poll-related incidents, including an attack on the minority Muslim voters, in an election that will decide the future of the country that struggles with security challenges after the Easter Sunday bombings and increasing political polarisation. Click here to read more.

18:28 (IST)16 Nov 2019
Polling ends in Sri Lanka

Polls closed Saturday evening after a day of voting for Sri Lanka's next president, an election marred by shots fired at a convoy of Muslims heading to cast their ballots in what some called a coordinated effort to disenfranchise the minority group, the Associated Press reported. 

First results expected possibly on Sunday.

18:09 (IST)16 Nov 2019
Sri Lanka elections: More visuals from polling day

Sri Lankans queue to cast their votes as police officers patrol at a polling station during the presidential election in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (AP photo)
Sri Lankans queue up to cast their votes at a polling station during the presidential election in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (AP photo)
Sri Lankans queue to cast their votes as a police officer stands guard at a polling station during the presidential election in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.  (AP photos)

17:30 (IST)16 Nov 2019
Gotabaya Rajapaksa casts his vote

Gotabaya Rajapaksa casts his vote

15:59 (IST)16 Nov 2019
Visuals from Colombo

Click here to see more photos from Sri Lanka

(Express Photo: Arun Janardhanan)
15:31 (IST)16 Nov 2019
Sri Lanka polls: Over 60,000 police personnel deployed

Sri Lanka polls: Over 60,000 police personnel deployed

Around 400,000 election officials have been placed on duty and over 60,000 police personnel and over 8,000 Civil Defence Force (CDF) personnel deployed to maintain law and order.

sri lanka presidential elections, sri lanka presidential elections 2019, sri lanka presidential elections results, sri lanka presidential elections results 2019, sri lanka presidential election result, sri lanka presidential election results 2019 A Sri Lankan man walks past election propaganda of presidential candidate and former defense chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. (AP)

Sri Lanka Presidential Elections 2019 HIGHLIGHTS: Rajapaksa is expected to be declared as the President of Sri Lanka for a five-year term in the evening with a majority of over a million votes, news agency PTI reported.

The turnout in the election was more than 80 per cent.

The Lanka election took place nearly seven months after homegrown radicals pledging loyalty to the Islamic State terror group detonated suicide bombs at three churches and three posh hotels, killing 269 people, seriously hitting the tourism industry, one of the main forex earning sectors of the country.

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