Sri Lanka’s ruling party candidate, Mr. Sajith Premadasa, on Sunday conceded the presidential poll and congratulated his main rival, the former wartime defence secretary, M. Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
'It is my privilege to honour the decision of the people and congratulate Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa on his election as the seventh President of Sri Lanka,' Mr. Premadasa said.
His statement came as a spokesman for Mr. Rajapaksa claimed that the 70-year-old retired lieutenant colonel had won Saturday’s vote, before the final results were officially announced. Mr. Rajapaksa was heading for a clear-cut win, result indicators showed.
The 70-year-old former defence secretary, the younger brother of former president, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, has swept the poll with over 60 per cent margins in most Sinhala majority districts, while his 52-year-old rival mr. Premadasa has performed well in the minority Tamil-dominated north and east provinces.
Mr. Premadasa has garnered over 80 per cent of the vote in Tamil areas, reducing Mr. Rajapaksa to less than 5 per cent in some areas in the north.
In the Muslim-dominated Muttur in the east, Mr. Premadasa was a clear winner with 90 per cent of the votes polled.
The poll on Saturday brought curtains down on a campaign which was kick started on October 7 with the handing over of nominations. A record 35 candidates contested with 15.9 million of the island’s 21 million voting population.
The results trend shows that Mr. Rajapaksa is set to win outright at least 16 of the total of 22 electoral districts.