Sri Lanka strongman Rajapaksa set to become president

  • Sunday 17, November 2019 11:16 AM
  • Sri Lanka strongman Rajapaksa set to become president
Sharjah 24 - Reuters: Sri Lanka's former wartime defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa was set to become president after his main rival conceded defeat on Sunday.
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.

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.
But these projects have also led to high debt levels for Sri Lanka.

"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 in the same manner in which we campaigned," Rajapaksa said in a tweet.

With half the votes counted from Saturday's election, Rajapaksa led with 50.7 percent, while his main rival Sajith Premadasa had 43.8 percent, the election commission said.