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Rajapaksa's coalition wins election

The ruling coalition led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa won a landslide victory in Thursday’s general election which recorded the lowest turnout in the history of Sri Lanka’s Parliamentary elections.

world Updated: Apr 09, 2010 20:41 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

The ruling coalition led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa won a landslide victory in Thursday’s general election which recorded the lowest turnout in the history of Sri Lanka’s Parliamentary elections.

Till late Friday evening, the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) had won 117 seats. They had crossed the 113-mark that gave them a simple majority in the 225-member Parliament.

The nearest competition, the principle opposition United National Party, got 47 seats.

Former army chief Sarath Fonseka-led Democratic National Alliance fared miserably with five seats. Its principal component, the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Perumana, almost got wiped off its southern strongholds.

The Tamil National Alliance bagged 12 seats, winning the district of Jaffna.

The final result would be delayed after the Election Department annulled the polls in the two districts of Kandy and Trincomalee following allegations of electoral malpractices and voter intimidation. Election Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake has ordered fresh polls in these two districts.

Projections said even if the UPFA did well in these two districts, it would fall short of an expected 2/3rd majority.

The UPFA expectedly won in the Hambantota District – the Rajapaksa family’s home district -- by obtaining 174808 votes and securing 5 seats.

Rajapaksa’s eldest son, Namal Rajapaksa, won the preference list of candidates in Hambantota and won his Parliamentary election.

Sri Lanka’s explosive opening batsman, Sanath Jayasuriya, standing on the UPFA platform, also won from Matara as he secured the most number of preferential votes from the Matara District by obtaining more than 71,000 votes.

“We have won the election,” said Transport Minister and UPFA spokesman Dullas Alahaperuma, who predicted the collated results would give his party 138 to 142 seats.

UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayaka told journalists today that the party’s strategy and the organisation structure will have to change after a full review of the election results.

The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) said it estimated the voter turn out to be between 50 per cent to -55 per cent.

``This could be the lowest turn out figures in recent history, as most Presidential and general elections have seen averages of 65 per cent to 75 per cent. The lowest turn out for a general or Presidential Election in the last twenty
years was the Presidential Election of 1988, which was 55.31 per cent while the general election of 1989 registered a 63.6 per cent turnout.