Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the country will hold an early presidential election next year, the first since the government's defeat of the rebel Tamil Tigers force and one that could see the incumbent squaring off against Sri Lanka's popular former chief of defense, Gen. Sarath Fonseka. Though Rajapaksa is likely to win against most candidates, experts agree Fonseka can make a claim with the victory against the rebels.

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