Socialist PM wins Sri Lankan presidency

Socialist Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse won Sri Lanka’s tightly-fought battle for the presidency, results showed Friday as the stock market reacted with a record crash amid fresh violence. Socialist Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse won Sri Lanka’s tightly-fought battle for the presidency, results showed Friday as the stock market reacted with a record crash amid fresh violence. Rajapakse, who celebrates his 60th birthday Friday, received 4.88 million votes, beating his nearest rival, market-friendly Ranil Wickremesinghe, on 4.69 million votes, the final result released by the elections’ commissioner showed.

Elections chief Dayananda Dissanayake said the result of Thursday’s ballot would be conveyed to all 13 candidates at a formal meeting here at 0730 GMT.

News that left-leaning prime minister had narrowly beaten his right-wing rival saw the benchmark All Share Price index plunge 176 points, or seven percent at opening, dealers said.

The index had jumped five percent to a record high of 2,324 Wednesday on the eve of the polls on the back of investor optimism that Wickremesinghe would win.

“Everybody’s dumping — there are net sellers in the market today following ear