President-elect Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whose landslide victory was formally declared by Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday afternoon, will be sworn in as the country’s seventh Executive President today.
The swearing in ceremony will take place in the ancient capital of Anuradhapura at 11am at the historic Ruvanweli Stupa site. The stupa was constructed around 140BC by King Dutugemunu, who is frequently hailed as a heroic Sinhalese warrior king that united the island nation defeating the conquering Tamil king Elara.
Having obtained 6,924,255 votes (52.25%), Rajapaksa won the presidential election quite comfortably with a margin of over 1.3 million votes. His opponent Sajith Premadasa came in second place with 5,564,239 votes (41.99%). Third party candidate Anura Kumara Dissanayake polled only 418,553 votes, which was only 3.16% of the total vote.
According to the Election Commission Chairman, this year’s presidential election was a tightly contested one with a historic 35 candidates running for president and a voter turnout of 83.72%.
Following his ceremonious swearing in today, President Rajapaksa will worship at the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi tree, after which he will address the nation for the first time as President of the Republic.