Sri Lanka president wins election

2010-01-27 13:00

kalahari.com

Colombo - Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse won a bitterly fought re-election on Wednesday, state television reported, as troops ringed the hotel of his main rival, who appealed for foreign protection.

"It is a resounding victory for the president," the state-run Rupavahini channel announced.

Although the formal result from the Election Commission was still awaited, Rajapakse's spokesperson Chandrapala Liyanage said the president had won his second term with a majority of 1.8 million votes more than his former army chief, Sarath Fonseka, out of more than 9.84 million ballots cast.

"The president is very pleased and he thanks the entire electorate," Liyanage said.

The contest had been a straight race between the incumbent and Fonseka.

The two men had been hailed as national heroes after engineering the final defeat last May of a 30-year ethnic Tamil insurgency in the northeast of the country that had claimed between 80 000-100 000 lives, according to UN figures.

But from close allies on the battlefield they turned into irreconcilable enemies after Fonseka, a political novice, decided to challenge his former boss at the ballot box on an anti-corruption platform.

Intimidation

As the votes were still being counted, up to 80 soldiers with machine guns surrounded the luxury Colombo hotel where Fonseka was staying with several other opposition leaders.

Military spokesperson Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said the troops had been deployed following information that army deserters were among some 400 people inside.

The opposition condemned what it called the military's "unfathomable" intimidation of their candidate, and Fonseka's spokesperson, Mano Ganeshan, said they would appeal for foreign protection.

"I am going to meet a diplomat of a neighbouring country to seek assurances of the safety of Sarath Fonseka," Ganeshan said, in an apparent reference to India.

The government had earlier accused Fonseka of employing a private militia consisting of army deserters, a charge denied by the opposition.

The campaign's vitriolic nature, the personal animosity between the two main candidates and tit-for-tat accusations of coup plots had all fuelled concerns that any result would be contested and foment new unrest.

Opposition spokesperson Rauf Hakeen argued that the electoral process had been violated even before voting even began.

International pressure

"On the election day there were no serious incidents to talk about, but you have to look at the election process from the beginning," he said, adding that state resources had been abused, including the state-run media.

Four people were killed and more than 1 000 election-related incidents were reported to police in the run-up to Tuesday's contest.

There were a number of violent incidents during voting, including bomb attacks in the northern Tamil stronghold of Jaffna, which monitors said had deterred some people from voting.

Last year's military defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who had fought for a Tamil homeland since 1972, has since been mired in allegations of war crimes.

The United Nations says 7 000 Tamil civilians may have died in the final months of the fighting, though the government denies this.

Rajapakse has ruled Sri Lanka since 2005. His three brothers and other family members are in key government positions including the ministries of defence and ports.

The country faces an enormous task in rebuilding its war ravaged economy, and is under stiff international pressure to secure a lasting political solution that addresses the grievances of the large Tamil minority.

Read more on:    sarath fonseka  |  mahinda rajapakse  |  sri lanka
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
 

Minister promises high security on election day

Police will be out in full force in Manenberg on election day, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has told residents of Cape Town's gang-plagued township.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Parow - 06:35 AM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    DELAYS between Plattekloof Road and the N7 Highway
  • Friday Pinelands - 06:29 AM
    Road name: N2 Inbound
    SLOW TRAFFIC between Duinefontein Road and the Jan Smuts Drive exit
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Note 16GB

GALAXY Note combines the market's largest HD Super AMOLED display,...

From R3899.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Treat yourself to something beautiful. You tend to put so much energy in making everything around you work harmoniously, and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.