Colombo, November 17: Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka's former defence secretary and Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna's (SLPP) presidential candidate has been elected as the new president of the island nation. Rajapaksa's spokesperson was quoted in media reports saying that it is a clear win. The SLPP has claimed victory in 2019 presidential polls with its candidate Gotabaya getting large majorities."We got between 53 to 54 percent. We are very happy that Gota will be the next president. He will be sworn in tomorrow or the day after," his spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella was quoted by news agency AFP. With the win, Rajapaksa will be the eighth President of the island nation.
During the polling which was held on Saturday, Rajapaksa was leading with a massive margin, leaving his main rival Sajith Premadasa of the New Democratic Front (NDF) in the second place. Rajapaksa, a former Defence Minister, was leading in 17 districts while the voting was underway on Saturday. The island nation has a total of 25 districts, organised into nine provinces. The report states that Premadasa conceded the presidential poll on Sunday and congratulated his main rival. Sri Lanka Presidential Elections 2019: EC Asks Women to Remove Face Covering Before Voting.
On Saturday, Sri Lankans went to the polls amid tight security. Incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena had urged the nearly 16 million voters to come out and cast their ballots without fear. The voting, which began at 7 am concluded at 5 pm, was held across 12,845 voting centres. Around 80 per cent voter turnout was recorded on Saturday for the presidential election, the country's National Election Commission stated.
Gotabaya, who is set to be Sri Lanka's eight President, is a retired soldier. He took over Sri Lanka's defence Minister during the period when his older brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa was President (2005-2015).