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There were two striking developments after voters in Sri Lanka went to the polls on Jan. 8 to select their president. First, the incumbent, Mahinda Rajapaksa, lost. To the surprise of virtually every poll watcher, he was ousted by former Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena. Second, and perhaps even more surprising, Rajapaksa handed over power when the results become clear, rather than clinging to office, democracy be damned.

The fights are not over, however. Rajapaksa still holds considerable power in Parliament and he is likely to use that as a base to battle the new president and whatever government he selects. Moreover, there is keen outside interest in Sri Lanka, and foreign governments may try to meddle in its domestic politics to protect their investments.

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