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Sri Lanka presidential elections: preliminary results favour Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Awaiting their turn: Voters at a polling station on the premises of a Buddhist temple in Colombo on Saturday.

Awaiting their turn: Voters at a polling station on the premises of a Buddhist temple in Colombo on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: AFP

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A clearer picture of the results likely by noon after votes polled in all districts have been counted

Presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa is in the lead in Sri Lanka’s southern districts, after about 10 million votes were counted by Sunday morning, according to an official of the Election Commission. A voter turnout of about 80 % was recorded in Saturday’s presidential poll, in which nearly 16 million voters were eligible to cast their ballot.

Watch | 2019 Sri Lanka Presidential Election
 

While preliminary results project an advantage for Mr. Rajapaksa, of the opposition Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP or People’s Party), the official said a clearer picture is likely by noon after votes polled in all districts have been counted.

Mr. Rajapaksa’s principal rival Sajith Premadasa, fielded by the incumbent United National Party-led government, made huge gains in the north and east — home to a majority of Tamils and Muslims — where Mr. Rajapaksa fared poorly. However, it remains to be seen if the minority vote can compensate for what Mr. Premadasa could not garner in the Sinhala-majority south in the closely-fought race. His candidacy came amid a strong anti-incumbency sentiment in the electorate and widespread anger over the government’s failure to act on intelligence warnings prior to the Easter terror attacks.

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 6:01:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/sri-lanka-presidential-elections-counting/article29997353.ece

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