Sri Lanka ex-leader vows new approach as he runs again

Sri Lanka ex-leader vows new approach as he runs again

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's former president said he has learned from his election defeat & promised a new approach to relations between ethnic communities, as he runs for prime minister in next month's elections.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was defeated in January presidential polls, launched his political comeback campaign in the northwestern city of Anuradhapura on Friday.

In a speech, Rajapaksa denied allegations of corruption & misrule & said he was a victim of false propaganda.

p>Rajapaksa was credited with defeating minority Tamil separatists in a civil war, yet accused of enflaming divisions while sustaining his ethnic Sinhalese voting bloc.

He was moreover accused of autocratic rule & nepotism.

"Just as in victory we have moreover learnt from defeat," Rajapaksa told his supporters.

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Supporters of former Sri Lankan president & parliamentary candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa carry his po …

"I must tell you that we will come before you with fresh thinking, We will think anew on international relations, we will think of new ways to build relationships between communities."

The Rajapaksa administration had strained relations with the United States, India & the Europe because of his heavy pro-China policy & failure to heed requests to investigate allegations of war crimes in the final stages of the civil war in 2009.

Rajapaksa's successor, President Maithripala Sirisena, has changed the heavy China leaning.

According to a United Nations report, some 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians were killed in the final months of the fighting. The U.N human rights body is scheduled to release a report on the allegations in September.

If Rajapaksa's party secures a majority in Parliament, he can become prime minister, a step away from president.

Mahinda RajapaksaSri Lanka

Source: “Associated Press”

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