NEW DELHI: Former Sri Lankan defence secretary Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa has become the new President of the country, according to election results declared on Sunday.
Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), in a near-close fight, defeated Sajith Premadasa of the ruling United National Party (UNP) with 52.25% votes, while his rival was polled 41.99% of the total votes.
“As we usher in a new journey for Sri Lanka, we must remember that all Sri Lankans are part of this journey,” Rajapaksa tweeted.
Brother of two-time former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the newly-declared leader is considered as a controversial figure in Sri Lanka and is accused of war crimes during the war with Tamil separatist guerillas LTTE back in 2008.
“At the conclusion of a hard-fought and spirited election campaign, it is my privilege to honour the decision of the people and congratulate Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa on his election as the seventh President of Sri Lanka,” rival Premadasa in a statement on Sunday said.
Rajapaksa during his poll campaign focussed on achievements as the defence and called for radical reform in economic policies implemented by the UNP during its incumbency.