Allegations of Voter Fraud in Sri Lanka as Unrest Looms

President Calls Military Out Against Opposition Leader's Hotel

In an election that saw complaints of voter fraud, widespread intimidation and illegal campaigning, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was declared the victor by a surprisingly wide margin over his opponent Sarath Fonseka.

Fonseka, a former army chief, condemned the result and promised to launch a legal challenge.

Though there were other complaints, the primary objection appears to have been that President Rajapaska used government resources in campaigning

Officials weren’t keen on taking the criticism of the campaign, however, and in short order troops has surrounded the hotel and disarmed Fonseka’s security detail. Government officials initially said the move was designed to “prevent a coup,” but now President Rajapaksa insists Fonseka is free to leave, adding “he has gone into the hotel, he can go out.”

The opposition reportedly fears for its safety in the wake of the vote, and Fonseka is said to be mulling exile in either India or the United States if he is unable to appeal the vote safely.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.