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MS in stunning win over MR

Having defeated President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the January 8, 2015 presidential poll, victor Maithripala Sirisena yesterday took oaths before Supreme Court Justice K. Sripavan as the country’s sixth executive president.

The former SLFP General Secretary won 12 electoral districts polling 6,217,162 votes (51.28 per cent) whereas the incumbent secured 5,768,090 votes (47.58 per cent). Maithripala Sirisena won by a majority of 449,072 votes.

President Rajapaksa conceded defeat even before the release of results of one third of electorates with Opposition and UNP

National leader Ranil Wickremesinghe visiting Temple Trees at first light yesterday to facilitate the smooth transfer of power.

Subsequently, the outgoing President left Temple Trees. He also vacated the President’s House.

The government and the Opposition reached agreement swiftly on the President elect Maithripala Sirisena taking oaths at the Independence Square yesterday evening and thereafter Wickremesinghe being sworn in as Prime Minister before Maithripala Sirisena. It enabled Wickremesinghe to form a government, sources said, adding that the UPFA parliamentary group would cooperate with the new Wickremesinghe government.

The UPFA candidate suffered heavy defeats in the Northern, Eastern as well as Nuwara Eliya polling divisions. Although the UPFA believed that such defeats could be offset by massive wins in the South, Gampaha as well as some electorates in the Colombo district, the outcome however failed to meet the expectations.

President elect Maithripala Sirisena thanked his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa for the smooth handover after Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya declared him as the winner as well as the police and armed forces for ensuring security. Maithripala Sirisena urged supporters to celebrate his victory without hurting the feelings of others.

Maithripala Sirisena won all 14 polling divisions in Jaffna and Vanni electoral districts with overwhelming majority. In the Eastern Province, the former SLFP General Secretary bagged all ten polling divisions in the electoral districts of Digamadulla, Trincomalee and Batticaloa.

The former President suffered a debilitating setback in the Nuwara Eliya electoral district where Maithripala Sirisena won Nuwara Eliya-Maskeliya polling division by securing a staggering 171,578 votes (73.01 per cent) whereas Rajapaksa managed 57,718 votes (24.56 per cent).It had been the former President’s worst defeat at a particular polling division at Thursday’s election.

Maithripala Sirisena’s coalition included the four-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the SLMC. Both outfits campaigned for Maithripala Sirisena. The former SLFP Gen. Secretary also had the backing of the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) as well as MP Palani Digambaram, who represented upcountry Tamils. The National United Front (NUF) formed by one-time Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Iran M.M. Zuhair also campaigned for Maithripala Sirisena among the minorities.

Maithripala Sirisena won 12 electoral districts namely Colombo, Gampaha, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Jaffna, Vanni, Batticaloa, Digamadulla, Trincomalee, Puttalam, Badulla and his home base Polonnaruwa.

Former President Rajapaksa won Kalutara, Matale, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Kurunegala, Anuradhapira, Moneragala Ratnapura and Kegalle.

Former President Rajapaksa met UPFA parliamentary group at the Presidential Secretariat where he declared that a decision was taken to leave Temple Trees soon after the gap between him and Maithripala Sirisena reached 200,000. The group had been also told of Wickremesinghe decision to take oaths as Prime Minister during the meeting, sources said, adding that Rajapaksa dismissed a suggestion from an MP that he should return to parliament through the National List.

The then President called for a snap presidential poll two years ahead of schedule.

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