Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa conceded defeat in the general elections, losing to his arch rival and incumbent prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Rajapaksa's loss comes just seven months after his shocking defeat in the presidential polls in January to his former cabinet minister Maithripala Sirisena, who is now the Sri Lankan President.
Sri Lanka went to polls on Monday to elect members to its 225-strong Parliament, with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa in the fray to become the next prime minister.
However, Rajapaksa faced tough competition from Wickremesinghe.
6.51 pm (IST): The United National Party has won 93 seats, leaving behind Rajapakse's UPFA by ten seats.
4.24 pm (IST): The Wickremesinghe-led UNP is heading towards becoming the largest party in the Sri Lanka parliament, having bagged 88 seats so far of the 184 declared.
3.37 pm (IST): It is clear that Rajapaksa has failed in his attempt to make a political comeback as prime minister.
With results for 134 of 225 parliamentary seats in, it is absolutely clear Mahinda Rajapaksa has lost his bid to become Prime Minister.
— N. Ram (@nramind) August 18, 2015
2.16 pm (IST): According to The Hindu, the fight is still neck-to-neck between Rajapaksa's United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP).
The UNP is leading with a vote share of 45 per cent while the UPFA is behind at 43.5 per cent, the report said.
2.10 pm (IST): Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has called his party's election victory as a mandate for good governance.
"I offer my grateful thanks to all parties and individuals who worked untiringly during the election period to ensure victory for the people. We have been able to create a peaceful atmosphere needed for a free and fair election," Wickremesinghe said, Colombo Gazette reported..
11.18 am (IST): United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe will take oath as the Prime Minister on Tuesday.
9.23 am (IST): I will support good policies and oppose bad thing, Rajapaksa told Reuters.
9.12 am (IST): While AFP reported that Rajapaksa had conceded defeat, the former president said on his official Twitter account that he had not received the final results yet.
— Mahinda Rajapaksa (@PresRajapaksa) August 18, 2015
8.41 am (IST): Here are the results from some of the key districts -
|United People's Freedom Alliance||312518||50.07%||6|
|United National Party||265180||42.48%||4|
|People's Liberation Front||37778||6.05%||0|
|Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi||207577||69.12%||5|
|Eelam People's Democratic Party||30232||10.07%||1|
|United National Party||20025||6.67%||1|
|United People's Freedom Alliance||17309||5.76%|
|United People's Freedom Alliance||196980||53.84%||4|
|United National Party||130433||35.65%||2|
|People's Liberation Front||36527||9.98%||1|
|United National Party||83638||46.36%||2|
|Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi||45894||25.44%||1|
|United People's Freedom Alliance||38463||21.32%||1|
8.37 am (IST): Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is yet to receive the final results.
8.28 am (IST): Rajapaksa has conceded defeat in the parliamentary elections.
My dream of becoming prime minister has faded away. I am conceding. We have lost a good fight," Rajapaksa told AFP.
Rajapaksa's UPFA won in only 8 of 22 districts, while prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's United National Party won in 11 districts, AFP reported.
11.53 pm (IST): Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's United National Party leaped ahead in the postal votes count in Trincomalee district with 48.79% vote share, while Rajapakse's UPFA ws behind at 27.08%.
|United National Party||5215||48.79%|
|United People's Freedom Alliance||2894||27.08%|
|Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi||2099||19.64%|
|People's Liberation Front||301||2.82%|
|Independent Parity 06 Trincomalee District||44||0.41%|
10.45 pm (IST): The first results have been declared from the Ratnapura district.
The postal votes counted have put former president Mahinda Rajapaksa's United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) ahead with 49.46% vote share, while prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's United National Party is at 42.09%.
Here is the count of postal votes of the major parties from the Ratnapura district, which falls under the Sabaragamuwa province:
|United People's Freedom Alliance||11367||49.46%|
|United National Party||9673||42.09%|
|People's Liberation Front||1808||7.87%|
10. 19 pm (IST): Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has removed 25 members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Central Committee who were 'loyal to Mahinda Rajapaksa', Colombo Page has reported.
7.47 pm (IST): Even as former president Mahinda Rajapaksa has shown confidence that his party will win the general elections, which will likely bring him to power as the prime minister, Sri Lankan Central Bank governor Arjuna Mahendran has said that he will resign if the former comes to power.
5.48 pm (IST): Mahinda Rajapaksa has said he is confident that his United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) will win majority seats, Colombo Gazette reported.
5.39 pm (IST): The voter turnout in most areas was over 70%, according to Colombo Gazette.
4.25 pm (IST): The voter turnout has been more than 60% in many parts of Sri Lanka. Till just 2 pm, two hours before polling booths shut, the voter turnout was good in many areas, as per this data released by the Sri Lankan government.
4.00 pm (IST): Voting has come to an end. Initial results are expected to be out by midnight.
1.57 pm (IST): The elections have been peaceful this year, prompting the Sri Lankan Prime Minister to say that it was because of the 'January 8 revolution', referring to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa' defeat.
For the first time we are having a peaceful election in Sri Lanka. This is a free and fair election both in terms of the legal norms as well as the democratic norms. This was made possible because of the January 8 revolution," Ranil Wikremesinghe said after casting his vote, the Colombo Gazette reported.
1.19 pm (IST): The voter turnout is said to have been good in many parts of Sri Lanka. The turnout in districts such as Matara, Matale , Gampaha, and Kandy was more than 40% till 11 am, local media reported. In several other areas, the voter turnout was between 25 to 30%.
1.13 pm (IST): Voting has been peaceful so far.
11.38 am (IST): Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is set to cast his vote in the general elections.
— Azzam Ameen (@AzzamAmeen) August 17, 2015
10.55 am (IST): Election monitoring groups have reportedly said that violence and violation of electoral rules have been at a minimum in this general election compared to previous elections, the Sri Lankan government said on its official online portal.
9.53 am (IST): Deputy Elections Commissioner M.M. Mohammed has said that the first postal vote will be out before midnight, while the final results will be announced by Tuesday afternoon.
9.30 am (IST): Voters post selfies of their inked fingers.
— Nalaka Gunawardene (@NalakaG) August 17, 2015
8.30 am (IST): Mahinda Rajapaksa cast his vote on Monday at his home town of Hambantota.
7.25 am (IST): Sri Lankans queue up to cast their votes.
— S Anuthinan (@anuthinan) August 17, 2015
7.15 am (IST): Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror newspaper has posted a quick guide for voters.
— DailyMirror (@DMbreakingnews) August 17, 2015
7.00 am (IST): Voting began in Sri Lanka at 7 am local time.