Sri Lanka finance minister quits after ruling party candidate defeated in presidential poll

FILE PHOTO: Sri Lankan Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera presents the 2019 budget proposals at the parliament in Colombo, Sri Lanka March 5, 2019. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte/File Photo

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera resigned from his post on Sunday saying he had lost the mandate after voters rejected the ruling party’s candidate in a presidential election.

Former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse defeated his main rival and government housing minister Sajith Premadasa by a big margin on Sunday and is set to become president.

“I bow down to the people’s mandate and I resign from the ministerial position,” Samaraweera, who led Premadasa’s campaign, said in a statement.

Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani