Gotabaya Rajapaksa sworn in as new Sri Lankan president

WION Web Team New Delhi Nov 18, 2019, 11.32 AM(IST)

Gotabaya Rajapaksa (File photo) Photograph:( AFP )

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Rajapaksa, 70, would be the latest nationalist leader swept to power across the world, tapping into the anger and fears of majority communities.

Sri Lanka's former wartime defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who won the election on Sunday, was sworn in as president of the island nation on Monday.

Rajapaksa, who oversaw the military defeat of Tamil separatists under his brother and then president Mahinda Rajapaksa 10 years ago, has promised strong leadership to secure the island of 22 million people, the majority of whom are Sinhalese Buddhists.

Rajapaksa will succeed Maithripala Sirisena whose tenure was marred by a terrorist attack on churches and luxury hotels in April 2019. 

Rajapaksa, 70, would be the latest nationalist leader swept to power across the world, tapping into the anger and fears of majority communities.

He and his brothers, who are expected to get key positions, are also seen as closer to China, which has invested billions of dollars building ports, expressways and power stations.

But these projects have also led to high debt levels for Sri Lanka.

Premadasa, a housing minister in the current government that has faced criticism for failing to protect Sri Lankans in the wake of the suicide bombings in April, conceded defeat.

"After a hard-fought and spirited election campaign, It is my privilege to honour the decision of the people and congratulate Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa on his election as the seventh President of Sri Lanka," Premadasa said.