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Rajapaksa denies post-election coup bid

President Mahinda Rajapaksa

Colombo: Sri Lanka’s former president Mahinda Rajapaksa today dismissed the new government’s accusations that he made an attempt to stage a coup to stay in power despite his defeat in last week s presidential election.

“I deny in all possible terms reports of attempts to use the military to influence the election results,” Rajapaksa tweeted this morning.

“I accepted the outcome long before the final official results were announced and congratulated the new president,” the 69-year-old former president said in his first reaction to last week’s polls.

Newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena’s top aides – Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera – have alleged that Rajapaksa had tried to use the military to prevent the election result from being released in order to continue in office despite the defeat.

Samaraweera said the government will order an official investigation as a priority. “People think it was a peaceful transition. It was anything but,” Samaraweera had said.

He said Rajapaksa had in fact attempted to persuade army and police chiefs to help him stay in power – if necessary with the use of force.

Rajapaksa, who ruled for 10 years from 2005, left his Temple Trees official residence early on Friday and he was praised internationally for allowing a smooth transition.

Sirisena took oath later in the day. Rajapaksa held snap elections to win a record third term on the strength of his popularity with the majority Sinhala community for ending the war with the LTTE.

Sirisena received overwhelming support from the Tamil and Muslim minorities while cashing in on the anti-incumbency sentiments among a section of the Sinhala majority.

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