New Delhi (NVI): The hero of Sri Lanka’s successful war on Tamil tigers 10 years ago, opposition leader Gotabaya Rajapaksa today stormed to victory in elections in the island nation which is reeling under worst economic slowdown after Islamic terror attacks that killed 269 people seven months ago.
The retired lieutenant colonel won 53-54 percent of the vote as main rival Sajith Premadasa of the ruling party conceded defeat, reports said.
Rajapaksa, 70, had a 49.6 percent share of the vote with close to six million ballots counted. He is the younger brother of the charismatic but controversial Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was president from 2005-15.
Rajapaksa conducted a nationalist campaign with a promise of security and a vow to crush religious extremism in the Buddhist-majority country following the April 21 suicide bomb attacks blamed on a homegrown terror group.
Gotabaya is highly acclaimed by the Sinhalese majority and by the powerful Buddhist clergy for directing security forces to crush Tamil separatists and end a 37-year separatist war in May 2009 with brother Mahinda.