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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.

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

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.

    15:13 (IST)16 Nov 2019
    Key election details

    *There are a record 35 candidates, according to Sri Lanka's Election Commission. In the 2015 election, there were 22.

    *Among the candidates are two Buddhist monks, four from the Muslim minority, and one woman.

    *About 16 million people from Sri Lanka's population of 21 million are expected to vote.

    *To win the presidency, a candidate must secure more than 50% of the votes

    *For the first time in Sri Lanka's history, neither the current president nor prime minister is vying for the presidency. (DW)

    15:05 (IST)16 Nov 2019
    Sri Lanka elections: When results will be announced?

    The counting will start soon after the end of voting. The first results are expected after midnight. Final results are likely to come on Monday.

    14:57 (IST)16 Nov 2019
    Sri Lanka Presidential Elections: Record 35 candidates vying for top post

    A record 35 candidates are vying for the top post at the election with the main contenders being former wartime defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, 70, and the ruling party candidate Sajith Premadasa, 52. Anura Kumara Dissanayake from the National People's Power (NPP) coalition is also a strong candidate. Polls opened at 7 am local time and would close at 5 pm.  (PTI)

    13:31 (IST)16 Nov 2019
    Sri Lanka elections: Voting closes at 5 pm; results by Monday

    Voting in the Sri Lanka presidential elections will close at 5 pm this evening. The results are likely to be declared by Monday. The polls have largely been linked to national security and religious extremist, as they come seven months after the deadly Easter Sunday bombings. Over 250 people were killed after a series of coordinated terrorist bombings.

    12:01 (IST)16 Nov 2019
    Sri Lanka elections: Facebook initiative urges public to vote today

    For the first time in Sri Lanka, Facebook has developed a feature on its news feed to encourage citizens to vote in the presidential elections, and tell their friend that they did. 

    11:59 (IST)16 Nov 2019
    Sri Lanka polls: Main candidates in the fray, Sajith Premadasa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa cast votes

    Sajith Premadasa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa have cast their votes in the Sri Lanka elections. Premadasa is the housing minister in the ruling UNP, while Gotabaya Rajapaksa is former wartime defence secretary. Anura Kumara Dissanayake from the National People's Power (NPP) coalition is also in the fray. President Maithripala Sirisina is not contesting the polls.

    11:47 (IST)16 Nov 2019
    Sri Lanka elections: Why minorities hold key this time

    Minority grounds, including the Tamil communities, played a significant role in the 2015 victory of Maithripala Sirisena against the incumbent Rajapaksa regime. With Sirisena out of the picture this election, it is to be seen where their votes will be cast.

    10:53 (IST)16 Nov 2019
    We stand for everyone, not just the majority, says Basil Rajapaksa

    Basil Rajapaksa, the youngest of the three politically active Rajapaksa brothers’, spoke to The Indian Express ahead of the polls. He said said that no international actor will interfere in the Sri Lankan election this time around. “Actually, we understand both countries, but they lack understanding about us. India and China are equally important for us, and India is more closer to us,” he said. Read the full interview here.

    10:31 (IST)16 Nov 2019
    Sri Lanka elections | Here are some pictures from Colombo on voting day

    Here are some pictures clicked by Arun Janardhanan in Colombo on voting day. For more, click here: https://bit.ly/357LVXa

    09:45 (IST)16 Nov 2019
    Ahead of Sri Lanka elections, mood among key minority groups: ‘Promises not kept’

    The Indian Express spoke to several Tamil voters ahead of the polls today. Most of them said the situation has changed in the last five years of the Sirisena regime. They expressed unhappiness against the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a party that represents Tamils, and there have been calls to boycott elections. M A Sumanthiran, TNA spokesperson and parliamentarian, said, "There is enthusiasm among voters. But I am not sure if the same mood of Tamils in 2015 exists still. One Tamil party has boycotted the election."

    09:17 (IST)16 Nov 2019
    Sri Lanka elections: Minority Muslim voters attacked by gunmen in Anuradhapura

    Our reporter in Colombo, Arun Janardhanan, reports: A convoy of buses taking Muslim voters from Puttalam to Mannar was attacked earlier this morning. There were no injuries, but a few buses have been damaged. The incident took place at Anuradhapura. These people were 'Internally Displaced' from north to Puttalam due to threats from LTTE.

    09:13 (IST)16 Nov 2019
    Sri Lanka votes for a new President today

    Seven months after the deadly terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, the country goes to polls today. Over 15 million people will vote for a new President will cast their votes today to pick one of 35 candidates — the longest-ever ballot paper in the country. Follow our live blog through the day as we bring you the latest news and updates. 

    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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