Sri Lankan PM claims victory over ex-strongman in election

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Supporters of Sri Lankas Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, poster behind, light fire-crackers as the voting concludes during parliamentary elections in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Supporters of Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, poster behind, light fire-crackers as the voting concludes during parliamentary elections in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Colombo - In a move on Monday to weaken Rajapaksa, Sirisena suspended several Rajapaksa loyalists from his party's executive committee.

By Reuters

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Published: Tue 18 Aug 2015, 7:59 AM

Last updated: Tue 18 Aug 2015, 9:33 PM

Sri Lanka's parliamentary election was too close to call on Tuesday and final results were not out yet but the sitting prime minister has declared victory over the country's former strongman leader who was seeking a political come-back eight months after losing a presidential vote.

No official word yet on poll verdict: Rajapaksa  

Sri Lanka's former president Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday said he has not received any official confirmation on Monday's general election and so cannot accept victory or concede defeat.
"Mahinda Rajapaksa hasn't yet received official final results of the general elections to accept victory or concede defeat," Rajapaksa's official Twitter account said.

Sirisena sacks members from party's central committee

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena sacked 13 members from his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) central committee hours after a parliamentary election was concluded on Monday.
The move came after speculations that some senior SLFP members may attempt to remove Sirisena from the party following the election results on Tuesday, reported Xinhua news agency.
The president has already appointed new members to the central committee to replace those who have been sacked.
The president sent the list of the members removed to Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya late on Monday.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a statement that the majority of the people had endorsed what he called his government's good governance and consensual politics.
"I offer my grateful thanks to all parties and individuals who worked untiringly during the election period to ensure victory for the people," Wickremesinghe said.
In results released so far from Monday's vote, ex-strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa's United People's Freedom Alliance has won 61 of the 225 seats, while Wickremesinghe's United National Party has taken 59. Any party or coalition must win at least 113 seats to form a government.
Observers said that results from the seats still to be announced are expected to favour Wickremesinghe.
Rajapaksa was Sri Lanka's leader for nine years until his Jan. 8 presidential election defeat to a former ally, Maithripala Sirisena.
Sirisena, who became UPFA leader after Rajapaksa's defeat, has vowed that he would not appoint him as prime minister.
Sirisena defected from Rajapaksa's government and formed an alliance with Wickremesinghe to defeat his leader in the presidential election.

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