New Delhi, Nov. 17 -- Colombo is set for a power shift. Gotabaya Rajapaksa of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), who as defence secretary oversaw the final assault to crush Tamil separatists in 2009, has claimed victory in the country's presidential polls held on Saturday. His main rival, the ruling coalition's housing minister Sajith Premadasa, has conceded the election and congratulated Rajapaksa on his victory.

The presidential polls were held in the backdrop of the deadly Easter Sunday bombings of churches and high-end hotels this April that left at least 260 dead. The economic slump that followed - the island's beaches are popular tourist hotspots - added to anti-incumbency forces against the ruling coalition. Last October, Pre...