War heroes’ battle for presidency concludes with Gen (rtd) Fonseka left under siege in Colombo hotel

Election Commissioner - Library photo

In Sri Lanka, the 2010 January 26 presidential polls had an unbelievable conclusion with incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa officially declared winner with a whopping 57.88% of the votes polled. His main rival, former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka backed by the main opposition and the Narodnik JVP as the “Common Candidate” managed only 40.15% of the votes. [click for details – http://www.slelections.gov.lk/presidential2010/AIVOT.html ]

The presidential polls ended peacefully, but not without very serious accusations of power abuse in its run up to the polls, by the incumbent President, the UPFA candidate.

Immediate post election period had one serious incident, when a few clashes broke out in one electoral constituency in the Central Province, that saw a Buddhist monk killed.

Meanwhile, Common Candidate Gen Fonseka who moved into the former Trans Asia hotel, now the Cinnamon Lake, in Colombo with his campaign team and personal security in the morning of 26 January, the election day, was left surrounded by a heavily armed posse of Gajaba Regiment soldiers from around 1.30 am in the night.

While all other political leaders with Gen Fonseka including opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe were given free access to the hotel and back, it was reported that Gen Fonseka is not allowed to move out. Gen Fonseka has told media he fears for his life and that the government may take him into custody to question on military secret leaks, if he left the hotel.

Government sources disclaim this story while saying unofficially that he was kept under check only to prevent Gen Fonseka resorting to unconstitutional methods in disrupting the election results. The government sources now say they only want Gen Fonseka to surrender dozens of army deserters with him.

Opposition frontliners say they have sounded out few foreign countries including India about their concerns about Gen Fonseka’s personal security.

Meanwhile Gen Fonseka who met the media in the evening today (27 January) at the Cinnamon Lake hotel, said he wants the Election Commissioner to annul the results as rigged. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) have said counting agents of opposition alliance have been intimated while on duty in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kurunegala and Matale districts.

President Rajapaksa won this election as the sixth president elect with a massive majority of 1,842,749 votes and could defer taking oaths till Independence Day 04 February (2010), according to the constitution.

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