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article imageSri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa wins re-election Special

By Andrew Moran     Jan 27, 2010 in World
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa won his re-election bid on Wednesday by winning nearly 58 per cent of the vote and crushing his main political rival, former General Sareth Fonseka.
On Wednesday, Sri Lankan incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa was re-elected by the people of Sri Lanka by receiving 57.8 per cent of the vote against the former General Sareth Fonseka’s 40.2 per cent, according to Reuters India. However, Fonseka did receive a large number of votes from the Tamil communities in the north, east, Colombo and Kandy.
Rajapaksa was popular among Sri Lankans even before the election by winning the 30-year civil war against the Tamil Tigers but did so with the assistance of Fonseka, another popular figure in the country. Despite numerous explosions and other incidents in Sri Lanka, Tuesday’s election had a voter turnout of between 70 and 80 per cent of the 14 million registered voters, reports Al Jazeera.
However, there were serious circumstances where military troops were surrounding the hotel where Fonseka was staying at and, according to Fonseka, they threatened his security people, “These people have surrounded the hotel with military and threatened my security people. They had a plan to surround us and take us into custody and I don't know if this is that phase of that particular operation.”
Rajapaksa’s government claim it was for Fonseka’s own protection and military spokesperson, Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, denied that they were going to arrest Fonseka, “We don't know what's their motive and as a protective measure, we have deployed troops around the hotel and people who go in and come out are being checked.
Prior to the election, Fonseka said that he believed the President would either steal the vote or arrest him if he should win the election. The government dismissed the notion and said Rajapaksa would win the election cleanly.
The Hindustan Times reports that Fonseka has vowed to challenge the result in court and will remain in Sri Lanka for the four million people have voted for him but may temporarily leave the country if his security personnel were taken away, “I can’t let them down. But I have to survive if they take away my security.”
Dev Fakruddin, a Toronto Tamil demonstrator, said in an e-mail to Digital Journal on Wednesday morning that it will be business as usual and that the nation of Sri Lanka is less safe. Fakruddin said he was considering of going back to Sri Lanka to visit some family and friends but believes it would be a mistake, “If Fonseka was elected, I was considering of going back to Sri Lanka for a visit but now since Rajapaksa won the election it’d be a big mistake if I did.”
Fakruddin, who was born in Sri Lanka, has followed the career of Rajapaksa very closely and said he has been very successful in his political career. The Toronto Tamil explained to Digital Journal that Rajapaksa has a “sly” personality and can tell you “the Earth is flat” and make you believe it.
Rajapaksa has spent 40 years in politics and became the youngest legislator in 1970 at the age of 24. The President has served as both Labor Minister and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.
Nevertheless, Fakruddin is more concerned about the safety of the Tamil people now than anything else. Domestic and foreign policy will remain the same, says Fakruddin, “but what will be the future of the Tamils? Will they still be oppressed?”
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