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Sri Lanka's PM Wins Presidential Election

  • VOA News

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse has won the country's presidential election by a slim margin. Sri Lanka's election commission formally declared Mr. Rajapakse the winner on Friday with slightly more than 50 percent of the votes cast on Thursday.

His main rival, opposition leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe received about 48 percent. Mr. Rajapakse had campaigned on a promise to take a hard-line with Tamil Tiger rebels, who control northern and eastern portions of the country. But in his acceptance speech today, he pledged to work toward ending nearly two decades of war with the rebels. He also told the Associated Press he wants to hold face-to-face talks with the secretive leader of the rebels (Velupillai Prabhakaran). Meanwhile, police said attackers threw a grenade into a mosque in eastern Sri Lanka, killing at least two people and wounding more than 20 others.

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