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Rajapaksa sweeps local polls

world Updated: Mar 19, 2011 00:03 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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The ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) expectedly swept the local government election held across Sri Lanka on Thursday.

The UPFA, led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, won 205 of the 234 councils that went to polls on Thursday. The main opposition, the United National Party (UNP) came a distant second after winning nine councils.

The UPFA garnered about 55% of the vote, the UNP 33% and smaller parties 8%.

It was the first local elections since the end of the war in May, 2009. More than 9.4 million voters were eligible to vote to elect more than 3,000 people to serve on local councils.

AFP reported that polls in urban areas were put off until the cricket World Cup, currently being co-hosting by Sri Lanka along with Bangladesh and India, ends in April.

Elections were also not held in over 60 councils due to a court challenge over the rejection of nomination papers by the elections department. Voters' turnout was significantly low while number of election violence going high.

The Elections Commissioner issuing a statement regarding the recently concluded local government elections stated that it was "regrettable how some political parties and groups conducted themselves both before and during the polls..."