Sri Lanka's Premadasa accepts defeat at presidential poll; steps down from party position

Premadasa, Sri Lanka's presidential candidate of the ruling United National Party led New Democratic Front alliance gesture as he leaves after casting his vote during the presidential election in Weerawila

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's ruling party presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa on Sunday accepted defeat in the presidential poll and congratulated his rival former wartime defence chief, Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

"It is my privilege to honour the decision of the people and congratulate Gotabaya Rajapaksa on his election as the seventh president of Sri Lanka," Premadasa said in a statement.

He also stepped down from the ruling United National Party (UNP) deputy leader position with immediate effect.

(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Himani Sarkar)