Gotabaya Rajapaksa to be sworn-in on Monday as SL Prez

Gotabaya Rajapaksa to be sworn-in on Monday as SL Prez

Colombo, Nov 18 (IANS) Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who won the November 16 presidential election, will be sworn-in on Monday as the seventh Executive President of Sri Lanka at the ancient Buddhist city of Anuradhapura.

Rajapaksa, who contested the presidential election from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), was declared as the President on Sunday upon his victory, the Daily Mirror reported.

The SLPP said the swearing-in ceremony will take place in the morning and Rajapaksa will visit the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi and Ruwanweliseya seeking blessings prior to the ceremony.

SLPP and Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, party Chairman G.L. Peiris, National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe along with other political leaders are slated to attend the swearing-in ceremony.

After the election victory, Gotabaya Rajapaksa had said: “As we usher in a new journey for Sri Lanka, we must remember that all Sri Lankans are part of this journey.”

In a tweet, he said he was grateful for the opportunity to be the President, not only of those who voted for him but as the President of all Sri Lankans.

“The trust you have invested in me is deeply moving and being your President will be the greatest honour of my life -Let’s put our vision into action,” he added.

Gotabaya won the majority Sinahala votes of 6,924,255, or 52.25 per cent, from a total valid 13,252,499 ballots cast in the November 16 election.

The former Defence Secretary in the government of his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, oversaw victory in the 26-year-long war against rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the North and East in 2009.

Out of 25 administrative districts, Gotabaya won 16: Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Monaragala, Ratnapura, Badulla, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Gampaha, Kandy, Matale, Polonnaruwa, Colombo, Kegalle and Anuradhapura.

However, he was heavily defeated in Tamil and Muslim-majority Northern and Eastern Provinces. The Tamils in all five administrative districts in the Northern province — Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mulaitivu, Vavuniya, Mannar, and the majority Muslims in three districts in the Eastern Province — Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Ampara — voted against Rajapaksa with lead of 80 percent in most districts.

The November 16 election was the third since the end of the civil war and the first after the April 21 Easter Sunday bombings which killed over 250 people this year.

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