Kumaratunga stakes claim to form govt in Sri Lanka

Updated on Apr 04, 2004 03:07 AM IST

Kumaratunga's Freedom Alliance staked claim to form govt even as no party could get clear majority, reports PK Balachanddran.

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PTI | ByPK Balachanddran, Colombo

The United Peoples' Freedom Alliance (UPFA), led by president Chandrika Kumaratunga, is set to emerge as the single largest party in the Sri Lankan parliament following elections held on Friday.

She is set to stake claim to form a new government.

The Election Commission released the results for ten out of the 22 districts in the country, but withheld the rest on the grounds that the Election Commissioner would have to discuss certain complaints with the Secretaries of the contesting political parties.

Election Commissioner, Dayananda Dissanayake, told the media in the evening that he would meet the party secretaries on Sunday and take a decision on the declaration of the results thereafter.

He said that there were complaints in regards to two districts, namely, Kandy and Digamadulla (aka Amparai).

By evening, the UPFA had officially got 47 seats, the UNF 32, and the Buddhist monks' party Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) 3.

Unofficially, it was stated that the pro-LTTE Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (IATK), which was formally the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), got eight out of the nine seats in Jaffna district.The anti-LTTE Eelam Peoples' Democratic Party (EPDP) got the remaining seat.

The UFPA had polled 46.4% and the UNF 35.5% of the votes. The JHU and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) had polled less than 4% each.

By 5 pm, the UPFA had won nine of the ten districts for which the results were available. The United National Front (UNF) led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had won only one district, namely, Badulla.

MPs in Sri Lanka are elected from districts.

Details

In Puttalam district, out of the eight seats, the UPFA got 5 and the UNF 3.

In Gampaha district, out of the 17 seats, the UPFA got 9, the UNF 6, and the Buddhist monks' party, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) got 2.

In Kalutara district, out of the 10 seats, UPFA grabbed 6, the UNF 3 and the JHU, 1

In Humbantota district, out of the seven seats, UPFA got 5, the got UNF, 2.

In Kegalle district, out of the 9 seats, UPFA got 5, and the UNF, 4

In Monaragala district, out of the 5 seats, the UPFA got 3 and the UNF, 2

In Matale, out of the 5 seats, the UPFA got 3 and the UNF, 2

In Pollonnaruwa district, out of the 5 seats, the UPFA got 3 and the UNF, 2

In Matara district, out of the 8 seats, UPFA got 5 and the UNF, 3

In Badulla district, out of the 8 seats, the UNF got 5 and the UPFA, 3

Tamil areas

In the Tamil-dominated North Eastern Province (NEP), where the LTTE is making a bid to sweep the polls through its proxy the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (formerly Tamil National Alliance), the ITAK was leading massively. In the northern districts, the ITAK had scored more than 90%.

The anti-LTTE Eelam Peoples' Democratic Party (EPDP) led by Douglas Devananda was a very poor second  and the Independent Group (1) led by veteran Tamil leader, V.Anandasangaree, came a extremely poor third. In the Eastern district of Batticaloa, the ITAK is dominated by the LTTE's breakaway group led by Col.Karuna. Here too the ITAK did well, polling over 70% of the votes. But unlike in the North, there will be no sweep here because the Eastern districts are ethnically diverse and there are Muslim and Sinhala (national) parties in the fray.Voting in the North East is largely on a communal basis.

Unofficial projection

In the evening, unofficial projections by experts said that the UPFA would be the single largest party with 107 seats in a house of 225.The UNF was placed second with  82 seats.

The pro-Tamil Tiger ITAK, which was formerly the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), was to get 23; the Buddhist monks' party, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), 7; the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), 5 ; and the Eelam Peoples' Democratic Party (EPDP), one.

Minority government

But to form a government, a party will have to have 113 seats at the minimum. Political observers, therefore, expect a lot of bargaining and horse trading in the days ahead. The newly elected 13 th.parliament is to assemble in the third week of this month.

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