Sri Lankan voters decisively rejected former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s comeback bid, election results showed on Tuesday, leaving this island nation firmly in the hands of officials intent on dismantling most of his policies and completing corruption inquiries that have been closing in on him and his family. “We have lost a good fight,” Mr. Rajapaksa told Agence France-Presse early Tuesday. The election, held peacefully on Monday with high voter turnout, determined the makeup of Sri Lanka’s 225-member Parliament. As expected, Mr. Rajapaksa easily won a seat in the chamber. But his political coalition fell short of winning a majority, which he had said would have earned him the right to be named prime minister, the second-most powerful job in the government. The final results showed that Mr. Rajapaksa’s coalition lost support in every region of the country, including areas long viewed as his political base.
“The election very clearly demonstrated there is no wave of support for him,” said Jayadeva Uyangoda, a professor of political science at the University of Colombo.
Instead, the results strengthened his archrivals: Maithripala Sirisena, the president, and Ranil Wickremesinghe, the prime minister, odd-couple political partners who joined forces to oppose Mr. Rajapaksa.
“We need to unite as one family to create a new political culture in this country,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said in a statement claiming victory on Tuesday. “With one heart, we should strive to ensure our country can meet the challenges of the modern age and rise to the top.”