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Ex-Sri Lanka President Concedes Election Defeat
International

Ex-Sri Lanka President Concedes Election Defeat

Sri Lanka's former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa admitted his dream of a political comeback was over Tuesday, conceding defeat in parliamentary elections while his victorious rival appealed for unity.

"My dream of becoming prime minister has faded away … "I am conceding. We have lost a good fight," Rajapakse said, AFP reported.

Official results Tuesday showed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's United National Party won 93 out of 196 directly elected seats, while Rajapaksa's United People's Freedom Alliance secured 83.

Smaller parties won the remaining elected seats in Monday's balloting. The elections commissioner will distribute 29 other seats according to the proportion of votes received nationally by each party to fill the 225-member parliament.

The outcome represents a bitter blow for Rajapaksa, who led Sri Lanka for a decade before he was dramatically ousted by his one-time ally Maithripala Sirisena in a January 8 presidential election.

Since then, he has seen a welter of corruption accusations leveled against him and his close relatives, including his wife. The perception that nepotism and corruption flourished during his administration also damaged his political reputation.

 

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