Sri Lanka elects new president, Tamils fear reprisals

Sri Lanka presidential elections LIVE UPDATES Muslim voters attacked in Anuradhapura no casualties

Gunmen fire on buses carrying Muslim Sri Lankan voters

Sri Lanka's election commission on Sunday declared Gotabaya Rajapaksa of the Podujana Peramuna (People's Front) party the victor of the country's presidential election. "China is likely very happy that Gota has won", he added.

Rajapaksa - who oversaw the military defeat of Tamil separatists 10 years ago, bringing an end to Sri Lanka's 26-year civil war - has, meanwhile, promised to overhaul national security, playing on the fears of further attacks after the Easter Sunday suicide bombings this year killed 250.

The Elections Commission declared Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the new President.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa secured 52.25% of the vote in Saturday's poll, while Sajith Premadasa from the ruling United National Party could gain 41.99% of the votes.

In his first comments after defeating Sajith Premadasa, a housing minister in the current government, Rajapaksa struck a conciliatory note, suggesting he would be leader of all Sri Lankans, regardless of their ethnic and religious identities.

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Rajapaksa is the younger brother of charismatic but controversial Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was president from 2005-2015, including during the government's final victory over the Tamil Tigers in 2009.

"Sri Lanka's Muslims are among those most fearful of a Gotabaya presidency", said Alan Keenan, project director for Sri Lanka at the International Crisis Group. The Islamic State group also claimed responsibility for the attack, which left 45 foreigners dead.

Premadasa, the son of former president Ranasinghe Premadasa, who was assassinated by Tamil separatists in 1993, was more of an unknown for Sri Lankan voters.

The president-elect faces several human rights lawsuits, stemming from his time as defense secretary, which threatened his run for presidency.

However, chairman of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said this did not impact attendance.

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Premadasa had strong support in minority Tamil areas but a poor showing in Sri Lanka's Sinhalese heartland, a core support base where Rajapaksa won some two-thirds of the vote.

Western capitals "should give a fair chance to us", Basil Rajapaksa, another brother, told reporters. While Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has remained friendly towards New Delhi, Sri Lanka's hard economic situation, with its external debt burden, meant that Colombo turned back to Beijing to complete major projects.

Responding to felicitations from New Delhi, Rajapaksa said that he looked forward to "working closely with you for deepening the close and fraternal ties between our two countries and citizens, and for peace, prosperity as well as security in our region".

The election saw a turnout of 80%, one of the largest in Sri Lanka's recent history.

Mr Modi invited Mr Rajapaksa to India, and the invitation was accepted, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said.

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The election had been hotly contested between the two candidates.

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