Peace hopes dim as socialist PM wins Sri Lanka presidency

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse on Friday officially won Sri Lanka’s tightly-fought battle for the presidency in a victory which analysts said dimmed the island’s peace hopes. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse on Friday officially won Sri Lanka’s tightly-fought battle for the presidency in a victory which analysts said dimmed the island’s peace hopes. Rajapakse, a socialist who celebrates his 60th birthday Friday, received 4.88 million votes, beating market-friendly Ranil Wickremesinghe who polled 4.69 million votes, final results from the elections commissioner showed.

“The prime minister, under the election act… is duly elected as president of Sri Lanka,” said elections commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake.

Rajapakse won the presidency with 50.3 percent of the popular vote, according to the results.

He will be sworn at a ceremony at the colonial-style Presidential Secretariat overlooking the Indian Ocean on Saturday by Chief Justice Sarath Silva.

Rajapakse is expected to name a prime minister and a new cabinet, possibly as early as Saturday.

News that the left-leaning prime minister had narrowly won saw the benchmark All Share Price index plunge