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

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

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 defense 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