Gotabaya Rajapaksa Sworn In As Sri Lankan President

Colombo: Sri Lanka’s controversial wartime defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was sworn in as the country’s President at the Ruwanweli Seya precincts in the ancient north-central town of Anuradhapura on Monday.

The newly-elected president worshipped at the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, a sacred fig tree in the Mahamewna Gardens and Ruwanweli Seya, a stupa and a hemispherical structure containing relics and considered sacred to many Buddhists all over the world, in the town.

“Sustaining the victory is more important than the journey towards it,” Rajapaksa said in a tweet before the swearing-in ceremony.

His elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was the country’s president from 2005 to 2015, former Minister Basil Rajapaksa and a large number of dignitaries, including parliamentarians, took part in the oath-taking ceremony.

Rajapaksa, 70, defeated Sajith Premadasa, 52, by more than 13 lakh votes, the election commission announced on Sunday.

He will succeed President Maithripala Sirisena for a five-year term.

Rajapaksa secured 52.25 per cent votes (6,924,255), while Premadasa bagged 41.99 per cent (5,564,239) of the total votes polled. Other candidates got 5.76 per cent votes.

The overall voter turnout at the election was around 83.73 per cent, Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said.