COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s former wartime protection chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa established a lead over his essential rival in a presidential election months after lethal militant assaults in the island, early outcomes confirmed on Sunday.
Election officers, assisted by Sri Lankan police officer, arrive with a poll field to a counting middle, after the voting ended throughout the presidential election day, in Colombo in Colombo, Sri Lanka November 16, 2019. REUTERS/Indunil Usgoda Arachchi
Millions of Sri Lankans voted on Saturday to elect a brand new president to lead the nation out of its deepest financial hunch in over 15 years, following Easter Sunday suicide bombings that sapped investor confidence and damage its tourism sector.
Rajapaksa, who oversaw the army defeat of Tamil separatists below his brother after which president Mahinda Rajapaksa 10 years in the past, has promised sturdy management to safe the island of 22 million folks, the majority of whom are Sinhalese Buddhists.
With 1 / 4 of complete votes counted, Rajapaksa had 48.2 p.c, whereas his essential rival authorities minister Sajith Premadasa stood at 45.three p.c, the election fee stated.
Rajapaksa held a commanding edge in the Sinhalese-dominated southern a part of the island in addition to postal ballots.
Premadasa, who campaigned on insurance policies to assist the poor, was main in the north the place minority Tamils are predominant.
The election fee has stated it expects outcomes to be clear by late Sunday and a brand new president might be sworn in inside a day.
Tamil political events are strongly against Rajapaksa who has confronted allegations of widespread human rights violations of civilians in the ultimate phases of the battle towards the separatists in 2009.
Rajapaksa and his brother deny the allegations.
Muslims, the different massive minority group, say they too have confronted hostility since the April assaults on lodges and church buildings in which greater than 250 folks have been killed. Islamic State claimed accountability.
Writing by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Kim Coghill