China ready to work with new Sri Lankan President

19 Novembre, 2019, 01:38 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • China ready to work with new Sri Lankan President

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former Defence Secretary of Sri Lanka, was sworn-in as the island nation's new President on Monday, a day after he registered a thumping win in the 2019 Sri Lanka Presidential Elections.

Rajapaksa secured 52.25 per cent votes (6,924,255), while Premadasa bagged 41.99 per cent (5,564,239) of the total votes polled.

Meanwhile, ministers of the previous Sri Lankan government which was led by President Maithripala Sirisena have begun submitting their resignations after the defeat of ruling party candidate Sajith Premadasa.

Mr Rajapaksa was the clear victor in Sinhalese majority areas while Mr Premadasa scored better in the Tamil-dominated north.

Pompeo was set to visit Sri Lanka in June in the wake of Islamist attacks on Christian and Western sites that killed 269 people on Easter Sunday, but he abruptly canceled the stop.

Echoing Sinhala nationalist sentiments, Rajapaksa in his address said: "I am duty-bound and committed myself to protect and develop Buddhism during my tenure".

Gotabaya Rajapaksa contested in Saturday's presidential elections representing the opposition party Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna.

Weeks ahead of the election, Sri Lanka's outgoing leaders accepted a $480 million grant to improve infrastructure from the Millennium Challenge Cooperation, a USA agency that rewards good governance.

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Mahinda Rajapaksa, with Gotabaya - nicknamed "Terminator" by his own family - effectively running the security forces, ended a 37-year civil war with Tamil separatists. On his twitter account, the president-elect said " I thank Your Excellency Arif Alvi and people of Pakistan for your warm wishes".

But minorities feared his election because of allegations of human rights violations against him dating from the war.

Voter turnout was 83.7%, the election commission said.

Some 70% of Sri Lanka's 22 million people are Buddhist Sinhalese, 14% are Tamil Hindus, Muslims make up 10%, while the rest are Catholics and other religions.

Promises by Gotapaya Rajapaksa to improve security and the struggling economy gained support at the ballot box, particulary from the Sinhala Buddhist majority.

Sri Lanka still in shock, seven months after a bomb attack by Islamic militant cells that destroy the economy of the island, detached blow communal relationships fragile island and was the final blow to public confidence in the government has been tarnished by infighting.

Rajapaksa won the Sri Lankan presidential election after a closely fought race against ruling party candidate Sajith Premadasa, with the country's Election Commission declaring him the victor on Sunday.

Unifying the different communities - and the pursuit of post-war reconciliation - would be a daunting task.

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