Fonseka wins from jail, Rajapaksa calls victory `triumph of democracy' | world | Hindustan Times
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Fonseka wins from jail, Rajapaksa calls victory `triumph of democracy'

world Updated: Apr 10, 2010 17:38 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) bagged only five seats in Thursday’s Parliamentary election. But by winning the most number of preferential votes among his party’s nominees from the Colombo district, its leader, former army chief Sarath Fonseka, has provided a thin silver lining to the sagging political fortunes of DNA.

Fonseka won from his spartan cell in the navy headquarters where he has been kept since Februay 8 after being arrested by the military police. The four-star general is facing court martial proceedings for engaging in politics during service and tampering with the army’s procurement procedures.

Less than a year ago, Fonseka was being called a ``war hero’’ for successfully leading the army against the separatist Tamil Tigers.

Fonseka obviously wasn’t allowed to campaign; his wife Anoma did it on his behalf along with colleagues from the Marxist Janatha Vimukhti Perumana (JVP) party.

``This is the first time in Sri Lanka that a political party leader has won at a general election while still being in custody,’’ JVP’s Vijitha Herath said.

“He (Fonseka) is genuinely pleased with the outcome. He regrets that he cannot thank the voters and be with them at this moment of victory. But he hopes to do so in the near future,” Anoma Fonseka added.

Also very pleased was President Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose coalition, United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) won with a thumping majority with 117 seats as against the opposition’s 46.

``This is the triumph of democracy. It is a clear restatement of the confidence the people placed in me, the Mahinda Chintana and the UPFA at the recent Presidential Election. We are humbled by the size of the repeated mandates given by the people and pledge to respond, in full measure, to the trust placed in us,’’ Rajapaksa said.

Meanwhile, the Election Department said on Saturday re-polling at the Nawalapitiya and Trincomalee electorates would be held on April 20.

Counting at the Nawalapitiya and Trincomalee electorates were suspended on Friday following incidents of malpractices and intimidation. The Election Department has withheld announcing the final results of the Parliamentary polls until a re-poll was held in those areas.