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Sri Lanka’s poll proves ‘democracy’ credentials, says new premier

EconomyNext – Sri Lanka’s newly appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the island has proved its credentials as a "mature, peaceful democracy" with the victory of the opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena in Thursday’s poll.

"The quality of democracy in any country is revealed not only in the magnanimity of the victors of popular franchise, but the graciousness of the defeated," said Wickremesinghe, leader of the opposition United National Party whose support brought Sirisena victory.

Wickremesinghe in a statement thanked outgoing President Mahinda Rajapaksa for enabling a "smooth, peaceful and civilised transition."

The country also owes a debt of gratitude to Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya who "stood strong in the face of pressure to ensure the integrity and credibility of the election on January 8, 2015," Wickremesinghe said.

"The police and the security forces personnel must also be appreciated for their contribution to keeping the peace and ensuring the safety of the citizenry during election day.

"To the voters who placed their trust and confidence in us we owe you our allegiance and our respect."