Sri Lankan president concedes defeat in election

Updated: 2015-01-09 10:22


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Sri Lankan president concedes defeat in election

Police officers escort a polling officer carries a sealed ballot box to a counting centre in Colombo January 8, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

COLOMBO - Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa conceded defeat in the country's presidential election, the presidential office said on Friday.

President Rajapaksa said he accepted people's verdict at a meeting with opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, and had left his official residence, the president's press secretary Vijayananda Herath said.

Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena, who was leading the poll so far, is headed for a victory.

Earlier on Thursday, Tamils in the north defied a call to boycott the election and voted in their numbers with a majority backing Sirisena, a former health minister.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Sri Lanka's minority Tamil party, had urged voters to support Sirisena but some TNA provincial council members called for a boycott.

The final results from the north and other areas of the country will be released on Friday.