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Sri Lanka’s Fonseka seeks fresh poll

[AFP, Saturday, 30 January 2010 11:50 No Comment]

Sri Lanka’s defeated presidential candidate said on Thursday he will ask the Supreme Court to annul this week’s election result because of huge fraud and said he feared arrest.

Sarath Fonseka, 59, said he had already lodged a protest with the island’s independent elections commission and he would make a formal complaint shortly to the highest court seeking a fresh poll.

"We have already collected enough evidence of sophisticated vote-rigging at counting centres and at the time of computer processing of the results," Fonseka told reporters at his Colombo home.

He said the government was trying to intimidate him into silence by withdrawing his security and suggesting he was planning a coup against the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse.

The retired four-star general came before reporters after keeping a low profile following a tense stand-off with heavily armed troops who surrounded a hotel he was staying at while results were being announced on Wednesday.

"They have arrested the man who was serving my food. They have arrested several retired army officers who worked for my campaign," Fonseka said. "These are the people who are supposed to have planned the coup with me.

"They are preparing the ground to take me also into custody and they will try to do that in the next few days."

He accused the government of serious electoral fraud and stealing 1.4 million of his votes.

Rajapakse romped home with just over six million votes against 4.2 million for Fonseka.

"I should have been the president. I am the people’s president."

Fonseka said he hoped to contest upcoming parliamentary elections, but said that he had been deprived of the security he needs to guard against potential attacks from the remnants of the Tamil Tiger rebels.

[Full Coverage]

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