COLOMBO (TIP): Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday, January 9 morning conceded defeat in presidential elections held on Thursday, even as trends showed a clear victory for united opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena.

Sirisena was leading with 18,25,014 (51.62 %) votes and Rajapaksa was trailing him with 16,76,242 (47.23 %) votes at 7am on Friday.

Rajapaksa left the presidential residence, Temple Trees, “respecting the people’s verdict,” an official spokesperson said.

Rajapaksa assured a smooth transition of power. He reportedly had a meeting with UNP leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wikramasinghe.

The counting of votes started at 5 pm on Thursday. Sirisena got a huge support from the minority dominant north, east, and northern west provinces. Tamil majority Northern Province largely voted for him.

While Sirisena secured 2,53,574 votes in Jaffna district, Rajapaksa got only 74,454 votes. Similarly, Sirisena secured 80.5 percent votes in Vanni, and Rajapaksa secured only 19.5 percent of votes there. Sirisena was leading in country’s capital Colombo also.