Colombo, November 17 (AIR): Following the victory of Gotabaya Rajapaksa iof the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) in the November 16 Presidential election, party chief Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the incumbent Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of the United National Party (UNP) must step down.
Gotabaya had defeated the UNP candidate Sajith Premadasa convincingly. Gotabaya is to be sworn in as new President on Monday.
His brother, party chief and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa hinted at a change of government in the wake of the result. In a message, the former President said that in view of the unequivocal people’s mandate, the SLPP believes that the “government will abide by parliamentary traditions as appropriate in such circumstances.”
Gotabaya’s party had made it clear before the elections that they would expect the incumbent government under Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe to step down in event of an SLPP victory.
The former President also said that the Presidential election will be seen as referendum ahead of the Parliamentary election due next year.
Meanwhile, at least four ministers, including Finance Minister Mangala Samarweera, have resigned after the defeat of Sajith Premadasa.
Prime Minister Wickremsinghe said in a message that a decision on the next general election will be taken after discussions with the parliament Speaker, party leaders and government MPs.
Gotabaya received around 6.9 million votes against his main rival Sajith Premadasa who got around 5.56 million votes in the final vote count announced by country’s Elections Commission this afternoon. Gotabaya received 52.25 percent of total valid votes.
He is the younger brother of former President Mahinda Rajapksa and served as Defense Secretary in the final stages of the war against the LTTE.
In a message, Gotabaya called for a “new journey” for Sri Lanka adding that all Sri Lankans are part of this journey. He said he is the President of not only those who voted for him but for all Sri Lankans and that is the greatest honor in his life.
He got overwhelming support in the majority Sinhalese-dominated areas of the country. But Premadasa received wide support from minority Tamil and Muslim areas in the North and East.