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Gotabaya Rajapaksa takes oath as Sri Lankan President

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, 70, defeated Sajith Premadasa, 52, by more than 13 lakh votes, the election commission announced on Sunday. He will succeed President Maithripala Sirisena for a five-year term.

18th November 2019 | 02:52 PM (IST)
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Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who won the November 16 election with 52.25 % of the total votes, took oath as President of Sri Lanka, in the ancient city of Anuradhapura on Monday.

In his inaugural address after being sworn in to the country's highest office, Mr. Rajapaksa underscored his government's “neutral” approach to foreign policy. “We will remain neutral in our foreign relations, and stay out of any conflict of world powers,” he said.

Professionalism and efficiency, he said, would be cornerstones of his administration. While meritocracy and technocracy would be promoted, “we will not tolerate any corruption,” he added.

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP or People’s Party) candidate Mr. Rajapaksa, the seventh Executive President of Sri Lanka, campaigned intensively on a plank of enhanced national security — a prevalent concern among citizens after the Easter terror attacks in April — development and prosperity for citizens. He beat the incumbent United National Party’s Sajith Premadasa by a margin of over 13 lakh votes in a closely fought race.

Mr. Rajapaksa's victory followed a decisive mandate from Sri Lanka's Sinhala-majority districts. The Tamils and Muslim minorities of the north and east, and the Malayaha Tamils living in the central parts of the island, voted largely in favour of Mr. Premadasa.

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18th November 2019 | 02:52 PM (IST)
35 views
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