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Former Sri Lankan defense chief wins presidential vote

Sri Lanka’s ruling party presidential candidate has conceded defeat to rival Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the Indian Ocean island nation’s election.

Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa says in a statement he will “honor the decision of the people” in polls Saturday favoring Rajapaksa, the civil war-era defense secretary who served under his brother, ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Rajapaksa spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella described the win as a “people’s victory.”

Rajapaksa reached the threshold for victory of 50% plus one vote by Sunday morning, with most of Premadasa’s electoral strongholds counted.

Sri Lanka’s Election Commission says that while gunmen had fired at a convoy of buses carrying Muslim voters in the country’s north hours before polling stations opened, the vote was largely peaceful.