BBC Online : Sri Lanka's former wartime defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa has won a presidential election that has split the country along ethnic lines. Official results showed Mr Rajapaksa took 52.25% of the vote. His rival Sajith Premadasa had already conceded. Analysts say Mr Rajapaksa was the clear victor in Sinhalese majority areas while Mr Premadasa scored better in the Tamil-dominated north. The election is Sri Lanka's first since a deadly terror attack in April. Militants linked to the Islamic State group targeted churches and high-end hotels across the island on Easter Sunday, killing more than 250 people. Mr Premadasa publicly conceded when partial results showed Mr Rajapaksa was certain to emerge the winner. "It is my privilege to honour the decision of the people and congratulate Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa on his election as the seventh president of Sri Lanka," Mr Premadasa said. In a statement on Twitter, Mr Rajapaksa made a call for national unity saying "all Sri Lankans are part of this journey". Turnout was 83.7%, the election commission said. Mr Rajapaksa is due to be sworn in at a ceremony on Monday. Gotabaya Rajapaksa commands passionate support among many in the Buddhist Sinhalese majority in Sri Lanka. He and his brother, Mahinda, who was president here for 10 years, are credited with bringing an end to the country's long civil war. Now his supporters want him to restore stability in the aftermath of the Easter attacks by Islamist militants. He is a controversial figure who denies claims of ruthlessness and human rights abuses. His main rival, Sajith Premadasa, was strongly supported by the Tamil and Muslim minorities here. He offered a more liberal and inclusive vision but may have been damaged by his links to the current government. A total of 35 candidates stood in the presidential election, the third since the end of the country's decades-long civil war in 2009.
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