COLOMBO (AFP) -Sri Lanka’s former president Mahinda Rajapakse on Tuesday denied government allegations that he attempted a coup to remain in office after it became clear that he had lost last week’s election.
In comments published on Twitter as Pope Francis landed on the island, Rajapakse insisted he had readily accepted “the people’s verdict” in what was his first reaction to last Thursday’s polls.
Top aides of new President Maithripala Sirisena have alleged the veteran strongman tried to cling to power in the early hours of Friday by urging the island’s army and police chiefs to deploy the security forces.
But Rajapakse wrote, “I deny in all possible terms reports of attempts to use the military to influence election results.
“I accepted the outcome long before the final official results were released and congratulated the new president,” he said.
The 69-year-old, who came to power in a 2005 presidential election, added that he had “always bowed down to the people’s verdict”.
Sirisena’s new administration has pledged to make an investigation into what it has called “the coup and conspiracy” one of its top priorities and ordered the sacking of hundreds of Rajapakse-appointed officials.