Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa, vowing to halt ethnic violence on this Indian Ocean island, was elected president with slightly more than half the votes, the government said Tuesday.
Earlier Tuesday, Sinhalese extremists hacked and shot to death nine supporters of Premadasa's governing United National Party in a town east of Colombo, police said."The politics of terror has no place in the temple of democracy," Premadasa said in a televised address immediately after the announcement. "I will eradicate fear and suppresion. I will restore law and order."
Premadasa received 50.4 percent of the vote in Monday's election, edging former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike of the opposition Sri Lanka Freedom Party, according to Commissioner of Elections Chandrananda de Silva.
Premadasa has vowed to remove controversial Indian peacekeeping troops when he takes over Sri Lanka's most powerful government post Jan. 2 for a six-year term.
Bandaranaike had no immediate comment on the balloting, and a man who answered the phone at her home said she was ill. But one of her close allies said she had described the results as "unjust" and would not accept them. The associate spoke on condition of anonymity and would not elaborate.
As promised, outgoing President Junius R. Jayewardene Tuesday dissolved Parliament and called new legislative elections for Feb. 15. He ordered an islandwide curfew to take effect after the official election results were announced.
"I particularly wish to ask, to appeal, to those who belong to the winning side, to treat your opponents who have lost with friendship, affection and love," he said.
With all 182 polling districts counted, Premadasa had 2,569,199 votes, or 50.4 percent, compared with 2,299,770, or 45 percent for Bandaranaike, the election commissioner said.
The remaining votes went to a leftist coalition candidate, Ossie Abeygoonesekera.