H. L. D. Mahindapala, in Colombo Telegraph, January 2020, where the title is
Any critical assessment of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa must take into consideration the salient characteristics that make him stand out from the run-of-the-mill politicians who had occupied the peaks of power.
The first notable characteristic is that he is the first head of state to come from the Sri Lankan diaspora. Initially it was a disadvantage tangled in legalities of citizenship. Later it smoothened out and has been an invaluable asset to him. His existential experiences as an expat in America had widened his horizons and opened up new vistas in his thinking and strategizing. He has acted so far as a leader who had seen the future and is bent on taking the nation in that direction. It has all the signs of being influenced by the American efficiency in delivering goods and services. The new breed of intellectuals he had recruited to run his state indicates clearly that he is in a hurry to modernise the sluggish nation and usher it into the 21st century. His first-hand knowledge of an advanced nation would hasten him to mix tradition with modernity without deracinating the nation – a critical issue in modernising Afro-Asian countries.
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Rajeewa Jayaweera, in Island, 23 November 2019, with this title “GotabayaR prevails against all odds”
In the 2015 Presidential Elections in January 2015, Maithripala Sirisena defeated President Mahinda Rajapaksa by a majority of just under a half a million votes. It was in no small measure due to ethnic Tamil and Muslim communities voting for him in large numbers. 2019 was worse than in 2015. Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR) received only 8% of the Northern vote, 24% of the Eastern ballot, and 18% of the total N&E vote. Mahinda Rajapaksa, in 2015, received 20% of the Northern vote, 26% of the Eastern ballot, and 24% from the N&E vote.
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The Economist: “The Rajapaksa brothers are back in Sri Lanka,” ….. A convincing win for Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the presidential election divides the electorate on communal lines, 17 November 2019**
FOR NEARLY ten years the Rajapaksa family ran Sri Lanka. Now, after a five-year hiatus and a bit of a reshuffle, they are back. On November 16th an unprecedented 84% of voters turned out to crown Gotabaya Rajapaksa president, handing him well over half the votes in a crowded field of 35 candidates. Mr Rajapaksa had served as defence chief during the 2005-15 reign of his brother Mahinda. The latter, blocked by the constitution from becoming head of state again, is likely to serve as his younger brother’s prime minister.
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