Sri Lanka election: Unity hard to achieve in divided country

Mr Rajapaksa has promised unity. It’s a response to the fears of many in the minority communities here that decisive leadership and tough action on security might be at the expense of their civil liberties.

Even if the political intention is genuine, the election results have shown how polarised this country is. Unity will be hard to achieve.

But the news will be greeted with quiet dismay by many in the minority communities who voted overwhelmingly not for Mr Rajapaksa but his rival, Sajith Premadasa. They see him as a more liberal, inclusive choice. In many Tamil majority areas, such as the north, the vote was overwhelmingly for Mr Premadasa. Unifying the different communities – and pursuing post-war reconciliation – will be a daunting task.

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