Mahinda Rajapaksa Concedes Defeat In Sri Lankan Polls

18/08/2015 8:52 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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KANDY, SRI LANKA- AUGUST 14 : Former Sri Lankan president and parliamentary candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa attends his party's final day of election campaign rally on August 14, 2015 in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka's Election Commission has scheduled the polls on August 17, 2015, after Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved the parliament on June 26, 2015. (Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)

Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was hoping to make a political comeback as Prime Minister in the just-concluded polls, conceded defeat early Tuesday morning.

“My dream of becoming prime minister has faded away,” Rajapaksa said on Tuesday morning. “I am conceding. We have lost a good fight.”

United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to take oath as the Prime Minister later today.

Meanwhile the official twitter handle for the former President said he was still waiting for the final result.

He has reportedly said he will work as an opposition member of the parliament. Elections Chief Mahinda Deshapriya is expected to announce the final results today.

“We (United People's Freedom Alliance) have won eight districts and the UNP (ruling United National Party) has 11 (out of a total of 22),” Rajapaksa told AFP. “This means we have lost. It was a difficult fight.”

READ: Mahinda Rajapaksa Eyes Comeback As Prime Minister In Sri Lanka Polls

It appears that neither the UNP or the UPFA would gain simple majority of 113 in the 225-member assembly.

The UNP has gained votes in most polling divisions while the UPFA lost votes in comparison with the presidential election held in January.

The UPFA's big victory margins in January presidential elections, however, have not been affected by the UNP's gains or the votes that have gone to the Marxist JVP or the People's Liberation Front.

The final outcome would depend now on the number of districts won by the each major party.

In the north's Tamil districts, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) appears to have made a clean sweep.

Early results have shown that TNA would win the Jaffna district with a near 60 per cent of the vote.

Earlier yesterday, Rajapaksa had expressed his hope to return as premier, even as his former ally-turned-nemesis President Maithripala Sirisena vowed he would not make him PM even if his United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) won a majority.

Polls opened at 07:00 local time and closed at 16:00 yesterday, where over 15 million voters were eligible to cast their ballot.

196 members will be elected from districts while 29 will be appointed based on the national proportion of votes polled by each party. To have a working majority government, 113 seats are needed in the National Assembly.

Rajapaksa, 69, forced himself into the UPFA reckoning to contest the parliamentary poll, an action unprecedented for a former president of the country.

(with PTI inputs)

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