Can the re-elected president deliver on his promises and address post-conflict concerns?
After after a turbulent year and a campaign marred by scandal, Mahinda Rajapakse, the Sri Lankan president, was declared the winner of the country’s presidential elections on Wednesday.
He beat his main rival, General Sarath Fonseka by about 1.2 million votes to claim his second term as president.
Several people were killed in the run-up to the vote but election day was relatively peaceful; an outcome that surprised some observers.
But General Fonseka has already pledged to contest the result. His hotel was blockaded by government troops prior to the announcement and he claims that he felt in danger of assassination.
Both Fonseka and Rajapakse played key roles in the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) after 26 years of civil war.
Eight months later, Rajapakse has a number of challenges on his plate not the least of which is to find a settlement for the 100,000 ethnic Tamils living in makeshift refugee camps in the north of the country.
With a renewed mandate, can Rajapakse deliver on his promises? How will he address all the countless post-civil war challenges? And will this election solve all of Sri Lanka’s many problems?
Inside Story presenter Sohail Rahman is joined by Ananth Palakidnar, the deputy news editor at Sri Lanka’s Sunday Observer newspaper, Thaya Idaikkadar, a councillor in London’s Harrow Borough, and Jonathan Spencer, a professor of anthropology specialising in South Asia at the University of Edinburgh.
This episode of Inside Story aired from Wednesday, 27 January, 2010.