Sri Lanka election campaign ends

08:49, January 25, 2010      

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Campaigning for Sri Lanka's presidential election, to be held on Tuesday, ended midnight Saturday with well attended rallies of both major candidates, campaigning officials from the two sides said on Sunday.

Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa prays with thousands of Buddhist monks during a special religious ceremony before the elections in Colombo, January 24, 2010.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

The incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa took part in rallies in his native south and in the capital Colombo.

"I will be the president on 26th, 27th and even thereafter," a confident Rajapaksa was quoted by his close aids as saying.

He was accusing his main rival former Army chief General Sarath Fonseka of entering into a secret pact with the Tamil minority in exchange of support.

"I will destroy that agreement," Rajapaksa said.

The common opposition candidate Fonseka attended rallies in the southern port town of Galle, west coast town of Negombo and in Colombo.

"I will bring in the change you all anticipate. I will take the country on a new journey," Fonseka said drawing enthusiastic support from supporters.

Presidential candidate and former Army chief, General Sarath Fonseka (L) shakes hands with Sri Lanka's former President Chandrika Kumaratunga (R) at her home in the town of Nittambuwa, January 24, 2010.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Rajapaksa called the election two years ahead of the conclusion of his first term -- a move to cash in on his military campaign which crushed the three-decade old armed rebellion of Tamil Tiger rebels.

He found unexpected challenge coming from his former Army chief Fonseka who was equally hailed for ending the rebel campaign.

Source: Xinhua
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