Buddhist nationalists claim victory in Lanka election

Buddhist nationalists claim victory in Lanka election

Nationalists rejoice Gotabaya Rajapaksa's victory in the national elections, acclaimed for leading the charge against the LTTE.

Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (C) speaks during a swearing-in ceremony of his bother, Chamal Rajapaksa as country's state minister of defence, in Colombo on November 27, 2019. (AFP Photo)

In this mountain city that was for centuries home to Sri Lanka's kings and in recent years has been riven by religious violence, Buddhist nationalists are rejoicing the election of the country's newest leader.

They hope he ushers in another golden era for the nation's ethnic majority.

Nationalists campaigned hard for new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Rajapaksa is a former defence official who is regarded by fellow Sinhalese Buddhists as a hero for his role in ending Sri Lanka's 26-year civil war with ethnic Tamil rebels. But minorities fear him because of allegations he took part in war atrocities and ordered state-sponsored disappearances.

Now that he has won, nationalists want Rajapaksa to promote Sinhalese culture at the expense of Muslims, such as getting rid of Islamic religious schools.