Sri Lanka president-elect thanks Rajapaksa for 'fair' poll

Sri Lanka's newly elected president Maithripala Sirisena leaves the opposition leader's office after meeting with political leaders who supported him, in the capital Colombo on Jan 9, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
Sri Lanka's newly elected president Maithripala Sirisena leaves the opposition leader's office after meeting with political leaders who supported him, in the capital Colombo on Jan 9, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP

COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lanka's president-elect Maithripala Sirisena thanked outgoing leader Mahinda Rajapaksa Friday for allowing a "fair" election that officials described as one of the most peaceful in the island's history.

Mr Sirisena said Mr Rajapaksa had "cleared the way for a fair election that allowed me to be the president" as he formally accepted his victory at the election commissioner's office.

The new president will be sworn in on Friday, an opposition spokesman said.

"The swearing in will be at 6:00 pm today at Independence Square" in Colombo, spokesman Saman Athaudahetti told AFP.

(more to come)