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Maithri wins presidency, to be sworn in today

Last updated 07:56 GMT

The common opposition's candidate, Maithripala Sirisena claimed victory on Friday, as the next president of Sri Lanka.

Maithri, who was endorsed by a coalition of parties, including the UNP, JVP, TNA and SLMC, won 51.28% (6,217,162 votes), beating incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa, who won 47.58% (5,768,090).

With just under 4 million votes having been counted, Rajapaksa conceded defeated, vowing to "ensure a smooth transition of power bowing to the wishes of the people".

Maithri will be sworn in on Friday evening, local time, the leader of the UNP, Ranil Wickremasinghe said.

Results show Maithri dominated the Tamil and Muslim areas, where his campaign was actively endorsed by the TNA and SLMC, and voter turn out was particularly high. Meanwhile, Rajapaksa won provinces in the Sinhala south.

Prior to the election, the New York based rights group, Human Rights Watch, said it had "serious concerns" of post election violence, especially in the Tamil areas.

Urging all parties to avoid election violence, Ranil added: “There can be no revenge or vengeance. The law should and will be strictly enforced against any person who indulges in any act of violence”.

See our feature: Who is Maithripala Sirisena?

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