Civil war defense chief wins Sri Lanka presidential election
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the defense secretary during Sri Lanka's civil war, has won the island nation's presidential election, BBC News reports.
Why it matters: This is Sri Lanka's first election since the Easter Sunday terror attacks that left 277 dead earlier this year.
What to know: Axios world editor Dave Lawler writes that Rajapaksa is known for crushing the Tamil Tigers a decade ago as defense minister — and allegedly committing war crimes in the process. His brother, Mahinda, was president then and is expected to return as prime minister.
- Many minorities fear the election of a president associated with Buddhist hardliners, particularly at a time of intense animosity toward Muslims in the wake of April’s attacks, Deutsche Welle reports.
Zoom out: The U.S. and China are competing for influence in South Asia, particularly in this "strategically located but heavily indebted Indian Ocean island nation," the FT's Amy Kazmin reports from Colombo.
- Relations with the West suffered during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s strongman presidency (2005–2015), and he turned to China. He allegedly profited personally from Chinese-funded projects, the FT notes.
- The current administration repaired relations with the U.S. and India, but it was riven with infighting and was unpopular.