Lanka war victors vie for presidency

A campaign vehicle of Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo (AFP)

Sri Lanka's first post-war presidential election due on tomorrow has turned into a violent contest between two former allies who led the nation to victory over the Tamil Tigers but who are now bitter political foes.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa is facing an unexpectedly strong challenge from General Sarath Fonseka, who as army commander led a relentless campaign to crush the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's three-decade separatist insurgency.

There is little difference between the Rajapaksa and Fonseka campaign platforms, both of which are heavy on populist subsidies, pledges of pay raises to Sri Lanka's bloated public sector and promises of rural development.

 

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