Former Sri Lankan defense chief wins presidential vote

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s ruling party presidential candidate has conceded defeat to rival Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the Indian Ocean island nation’s election.

Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa says in a statement he will “honor the decision of the people” in polls Saturday favoring Rajapaksa, the civil war-era defense secretary who served under his brother, ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Rajapaksa spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella described the win as a “people’s victory.”

Rajapaksa reached the threshold for victory of 50% plus one vote by Sunday morning, with most of Premadasa’s electoral strongholds counted.

Sri Lanka’s Election Commission says that while gunmen had fired at a convoy of buses carrying Muslim voters in the country’s north hours before polling stations opened, the vote was largely peaceful.

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