27 January 2010

Post-Election Tumult in Sri Lanka

Well, the Sri Lankan vote finally happened yesterday, and it looks like the incumbent won, avoiding a runoff. However, there are allegations of rigging by the opposition candidate, General Fonseka (who, for some reason, wasn't allowed to vote yesterday). Things are going downhill fast:

Soldiers surrounded the Colombo hotel where Sri Lanka's opposition leader was staying Wednesday, hours after President Mahinda Rajapaksa was declared the winner of the country's first peacetime election in more than two decades.

Rajapaksa's opponent, Gen. Sarath Fonseka, said he did not accept the results of the election and is contesting the result.

There was "obvious rigging," Fonseka said from his hotel.

Officials results of the hard-fought race were not due until Wednesday afternoon, but Rajapaksa was said to have garnered more than 50 percent of the vote needed to avoid a runoff.

The government said the presence of the soldiers and commandos, some of whom had their faces covered, outside the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel was a precaution.

They did not intend to take Fonseka into custody, but were looking for army deserters who were holed up inside, the government said.

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