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.