Sri Lanka

Civil war defense chief wins Sri Lanka presidential election

Gotabaya Rajapaksa celebrates at a rally
Gotabaya Rajapaksa at a rally. Photo: Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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.

Sri Lanka's strongmen ready to return in presidential vote

A rally for the ruling party in Colombo. Photo: Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP via Getty Images

The next president of Sri Lanka will be elected on Saturday, and he will take charge of a country still recovering from April terror attacks that left 277 dead.

Driving the news: The front-runner appears to be Gotabaya Rajapaksa, known for crushing the Tamil Tigers a decade ago as defense minister — allegedly committing war crimes in the process. His brother, Mahinda, was president then and would return as prime minister.