Former Sri Lankan leader denies he attempted coup after loss

AP News
Posted: Jan 13, 2015 4:42 AM

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's former leader on Tuesday denied allegations that he attempted a coup to try to stay in power after seeing he had lost last week's presidential election.

Mahinda Rajapaksa was widely credited for leaving office peacefully after Thursday's election. But President Maithripala Sirisena's new government has since accused him of convening the chiefs of the police and the army, as well as the attorney general, late Thursday to discuss ways to stop the vote counting, and said Rajapaksa left office only because they didn't cooperate.

A Sirisena spokesman described the alleged attempt to reporters on Sunday and said the new government would investigate.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Rajapaksa denied "in all possible terms reports of attempts to use the military to influence election results."

"I accepted the outcome long before the final official results were released and congratulated the new president," Rajapaksa continued.

"During decades in politics, I have always bowed down to the people's verdict. Wins (and) losses are a natural part of political life."

Rajapaksa had long been expected to easily win a third term at the election. He had amassed immense power during his nine-year tenure with a powerful Parliament, subservient judiciary, money, influential relatives, and money and was not expected to relinquish power even if he lost.

However Sirisena, a former friend and health minister in Rajapaksa's Cabinet defected in November and won the election with the support of the opposition and estranged minority communities.