Sri Lanka presidential race tightens as minorities seek to stop Rajapaksa

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lankans elect a new president on Saturday in a “finely balanced” race between the early favorite, former defense chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and government minister Sajith Premadasa, who has gained momentum in recent weeks.

Premadasa has sought to fire up the countryside with promises of free housing, schools uniforms for students and sanitary pads for women – touching on a topic rarely discussed in public but which has drawn women to his rallies.

Addded to that are long-standing grievances of ethnic Tamils, who say they are still to get justice stemming from the human rights violations during a 26-war civil war with Tamil rebels, especially at the closing stages when a U.N. panel says around 40,000 people were killed.

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