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The BBC's Susannah Price in Colombo
"She scraped just past the 50% mark"
 real 28k

The BBC's Lindsay Marnoch
" Kumaratunga will press on with her attempts to solve the problems of this divided country"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 22 December, 1999, 08:15 GMT
Kumaratunga re-elected in Sri Lanka

Colombo man listens to radio A Colombo resident listens to election results on the radio


President Chandrika Kumaratunga has been re-elected for a second successive term as Sri Lanka's president.

Conflict in Sri Lanka
  • An unwinnable war?
  • Timeline of conflict
  • Leading the Tigers
  • The ethnic divide
  • Her victory comes just four days after she survived an assassination attempt during her final election rally.

    She has held on to her lead over her main rival, Ranil Wickremesinghe.

    Mrs Kumaratunga - who survived an assassination attempt during her final election rally on Saturday - has 51%, with Mr Wickremesinghe on 42.7%. Final results are not yet available.

    Later on Wednesday, she was sworn in for a second six-year term as president, and afterwards swore her government in - unchanged from before the poll.


    Ranil Wickremesinghe at a campaign rally Ranil Wickremesinghe: Closest rival

    About three-quarters of Sri Lanka's 11.7m voters took part in the poll - a record turn-out - but it was marred by violence and allegations of misconduct.

    The result denied Mrs Kumaratunga the sweeping mandate she sought when she called the election 11 months early, and was far below the landslide 62% she won in 1994.

    Correspondents said it was possible Mrs Kumaratunga had benefited from a sympathy vote following her narrow escape - but that the attack may equally have turned Sinhalese voters away from the opposition's plan to open talks with the rebels.

    Mr Wickremesinghe saw a surge in his Tamil support, after he had advocated foreign-aided talks with the Tamil Tigers.

    An overnight curfew was enforced after at least seven people were killed in election-related violence, but this has now been lifted.

    Fraud allegations

    Election monitors say they are still investigating allegations of vote-rigging and intimidation by party activists, especially in the central areas of the island.

    They said there were 500 fraud complaints from across the country,


    Victims of violence
    1991 - Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi
    1993 - Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa
    1994 - Sri Lankan opposition leader Gamini Dissanayake
    Thousands of security personnel were deployed to keep the peace, with armed police guarding polling booths

    President Kumaratunga did not cast her vote in her home constituency. She was permitted to cast her vote in her heavily guarded official residence, having only been discharged from hospital on Monday after being treated for shrapnel injuries.

    The assassination attempt at the weekend was one of two bomb attacks blamed on the Tamil Tiger. The other was aimed at an opposition rally.

    At least 35 people were killed and more than 100 injured.

    Although not all Tamils support the rebels' methods, many sympathise with their demand for a separate homeland in the north of the country.

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    See also:
    17 Dec 99 |  South Asia
    Chandrika Kumaratunga: Politics in the blood
    20 Dec 99 |  South Asia
    Analysis: Violence sets poll agenda
    18 Dec 99 |  South Asia
    Analysis: Fifteen years of bloodshed
    20 Dec 99 |  South Asia
    Kumaratunga ahead in Sri Lanka poll
    19 Dec 99 |  South Asia
    In pictures: Rally ends in terror
    20 Dec 99 |  South Asia
    Prayer beats politics on the plantation
    10 Nov 99 |  Talking Point
    Can there be peace in Sri Lanka?
    17 Dec 99 |  South Asia
    Ranil Wickramasinghe: The opposition's hope
    16 Nov 99 |  South Asia
    Sri Lanka battle lines drawn

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