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    Gotabaya triumphs Featured

    November 18, 2019

    War veteran and Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa triumphed in a hard-fought electoral battle to win the Presidency yesterday with a majority of 1,360,016 votes.Rajapaksa took a comfortable 52.25 per cent of valid votes to convincingly emerge as the Seventh Executive President yesterday (17th) roundly defeating his main opponent, UNP-led New Democratic Front (NDF) presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa.

    Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s victory made history, being the first candidate of a nascent political party to be elected as the President at its first election outing, ending the tradition of the two mainstream parties regularly exchanging governmental and presidential power. He is also the first to achieve the Presidency without any prior experience in electoral politics while main rival Premadasa has some 20 years of political experience.The first elected sibling of a former President, Rajapaksa, a retired Lieutenant Colonel of the Sri Lanka Army, is also the first ex-military officer to achieve the presidency.

    Rajapaksa received 6,924,255 votes, as announced last evening by Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya. UNP Deputy Leader and parliamentarian Sajith Premadasa received 5,564,239 votes or, 41.99 percent of the national vote and, National Movement for People’s Power (NMPP) candidate and JVP Leader parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake bagged 418, 553 votes which is 3.16 percent of the total valid votes. The remainder of the votes were cast for the other 32 candidates.

    Gotabaya Rajapaksa won the postal votes of 17 of the 22 electoral districts. As a whole, the SLPP won seven provinces out of the nine. In terms of total votes, Rajapaksa won 16 of the 22 electoral districts while Sajith Premadasa bagged the rest. Rajapaksa won Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Monaragala, Ratnapura, Badulla, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Gampaha, Kandy, Matale, Polonnaruwa, Colombo, Kegalle and Anuradhapura districts in this election. In comparison, in the previous presidential poll of 2015, former President Maithripala Sirisena won just 12 electoral districts namely Badulla, Batticaloa, Colombo, Dambulla Gampaha, Jaffna, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Polonnaruwa, Puttalam, Trincomalee and Vanni.

    Rajapaksa achieved a massive victory in Gampaha district, receiving 855,870 votes (59.26 percent) with a majority of 361,199 votes against Sajith Premadasa. Premadasa obtained a total of 494,671 votes (34.26 percent). At the 2015 election, Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa could obtain only 664,374 votes (49.49 percent) in Gampaha, while rival Maithripala Sirisena obtained 669,007 votes (49.83 percent).

    Gotabaya Rajapaksa also won the UNP stronghold Colombo district with 727,713 (53.19 percent) votes. In 2015, Mahinda Rajapaksa obtained 562,614 (43.4 percent) votes in Colombo.

    Rajapaksa obtained the highest number of votes in the Polonnaruwa District with 147,340 (53.01 percent) votes whereas Sajith Premadasa secured 112,473 (40.47 percent) votes. Mahinda Rajapaksa obtained only 41.27 percent of the votes in the 2015 presidential election from Polonnaruwa, which was the electorate of his opponent Maithripala Sirisena.

    Rajapaksa won the Kandy District obtaining a total of 471,502 votes (50.43 percent) which Maithripala Sirisena won in 2015. Sajith Premadasa obtained 417,355 votes (44.64 percent) there. The President-elect also won the Puttalam district receiving 230,760 votes (50.83percent) which was won by Maithripala Sirisena at the 2015 presidential election. Sajith Premadasa secured only 199,356 votes (43.91percent) to get the second place.

    Rajapaksa won the Badulla district with 276,211 votes (49.29 per cent) while Premadasa received 251,706 votes (44.92 percent). This was a close call as Badulla has traditionally gone to the UNP. The Badulla district was won by Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential election 2015.

    However Sajith Premadasa secured the highest number of votes in the Nuwara Eliya District with 277,913 (58.28 percent) votes whereas Rajapaksa secured 175,823 (36.87 percent) votes. Sajith Premadasa also won the Vanni and Jaffna districts where he secured an impressive 82.12 percent and 83.86 percent of votes in those districts respectively.

    As the Election Commission and the many election observer groups have noted, this was one of the most peaceful elections in decades with no major incidents reported. Moreover, no candidate used banners, polythene and plastics, cut-outs and posters. It was also the first Presidential Elections conducted under the aegis of an independent Elections Commission.

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