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Sri Lanka presidential challenger says victory in sight

Maithripala Sirisena is seeking to oust the island’s strongman President Mahinda Rajapakse, who won huge popular acclaim for ending a long separatist insurgency but whose popularity has waned in recent years.

“My victory is in sight. There is support for us everywhere,” Sirisena told reporters in the eastern town of Polonnaruwa.

“From tomorrow, we will usher in a new political culture. There will be peace and rule of law under my presidency.”

One of Sirisena’s campaign rallies was disrupted by a drive-by shooting that killed one of his supporters, but he promised not to seek revenge.

“You cannot overcome hatred through hatred,” said the former health minister, who defected from Rajapakse’s government a day after the snap poll was called.(AFP)

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