President Faces Fierce Battle in Sri Lanka's Election

January 7, 2015 7:06 PM

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Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa faces a fierce political battle after a onetime ally suddenly defected from the ruling party to run against him in Thursday's presidential election.

The November defection by former Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena turned the race, which Rajapaksa had been widely expected to easily win, into a referendum on the president and the enormous power he wields over the island nation.

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