Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa casts his ballot as he seeks a return to power, eight months after his stunning loss in the presidential elections.Rough cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Mahinda Rajapaksa cast his vote on Monday (August 17) as the former Sri Lankan president sought a return to power, eight months after his stunning loss in the presidential elections. The vote is seen as a referendum on his comeback bid. Before casting his ballot, Rajapaksa sought the blessings of Buddhist monks. The 69-year-old is revered as a war hero by many of Sri Lanka's Sinhala speaking Buddhist majority for crushing a 26-year Tamil uprising in 2009. However, opponents accuse him of running a corrupt, brutal and dynastic regime - charges he denies. The nationalist strongman had set his sights on becoming premier of a government led by his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). But President Maithripala Sirisena, the former ally who beat him at the polls in January, now leads the party and rules that out. The tangled personal rivalry has overshadowed campaigning on the Indian Ocean island of 20 million people, which has a history of political feuding that has often spilled over into violence and even the assassination of its leaders.