Former President says he hasn’t conceded defeat

Mahinda Rajapaksa 2Former Sri Lankan leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said he hasn’t conceded defeat in parliamentary elections following a report saying that he had given up hopes of running the government.

“Mahinda Rajapaksa hasn’t yet received official final results of #GenElecSL to accept victory or concede defeat,” said a post on his official Twitter account on Tuesday, using a hashtag for General Election Sri Lanka.

Agence France-Presse earlier reported that he conceded defeat, a move that would hand victory to allies of President Maithripala Sirisena.

“My dream of becoming prime minister has faded away,” AFP quoted Rajapaksa as saying. “I am conceding. We have lost a good fight.”

Rajapaksa is bidding to return to power seven months after Sirisena ended his 10-year rule in a surprising political shift. Since taking power, Sirisena has sought to improve ties with the U.S. and Europe, reduce presidential powers and heal wounds with minority ethnic Tamils stemming from a decades-long civil war.

The latest reported vote tally showed Rajapaksa’s alliance with 11 seats, compared with nine for Sirisena’s allies in the United National Party and six for Tamil-majority parties. A coalition would need 113 seats to win a majority in the 225-person parliament.

AFP had reported that Rajapaksa said he won eight of 22 multi-member electoral districts, with Sirisena’s allies in the United National Party taking 11 and the rest going to Tamil-controlled parties. Manusha Nananayakkara, a spokesman for Rajapaksa, said he couldn’t confirm the report and that the election was “neck to neck.”

The United National Party has led a minority government since Sirisena took power. It pledged to end corruption, create jobs and devolve more power to regions.(Bloomberg)

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