Sri Lanka president's party wins two-third majority in parliament election

Voting begins in Sri Lanka's parliamentary election

The party led by the prime minister won all but 4 of the 22 electoral districts on offer.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday (August 6) spoke to his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa and congratulated him as early results of recently held parliamentary elections indicate an impressive electoral performance by Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) - Sri Lankans voted Wednesday to elect a new Parliament that is expected to give strong support to the powerful and popular Rajapaksa brothers.

With their dominant majority, the Rajapaksas could attempt to change the constitution, increase the powers of the president so reversing the work of the previous government to introduce more checks and balances.

"With the strong support of the people of Sri Lanka, I look forward to working with you closely to further enhance the long-standing cooperation between our two countries", Rajapaksa said.

Since then Sri Lankans have largely embraced their populist platform, which emerged from a wave of nationalism in the wake of the deadly 2019 Easter bombings by Muslim radicals that killed 279 people. Former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe lost his constituency and his party which had 106 seats in the outgoing parliament was reduced to just one seat.

The UNP managed to win only one seat and that too came thanks to the cumulative votes polled nationally.

The brothers' party, Sri Lanka People's Front, is approaching the two-thirds "super majority" of seats needed to carry out its promised constitutional changes.

Its leader and a four-time prime minister was unseated for the first time since he entered parliament in 1977.

A breakaway party from Wickremesinghe's headed by the son of assassinated president Ranasinghe Premadasa, Sajith, got 20 percent of the vote and was a distant second with 53 seats. It won key districts of Polonnaruwa, Kurunegala and Ratnapura in the country's rural heartland, home to the country's Sinhalese-Buddhist majority, whose concerns the hawkish Gotabaya Rajapaksa has championed. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in a tweet described the results as a "magnificent victory" for the ruling party. According to a statement from the PMO, Modi commended the government and the electoral institutions of Sri Lanka for effectively organising the elections despite the constraints of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In June, the commission informed the apex court that the polls can not be held on June 20 because of the coronavirus pandemic and the new date was decided following a unanimous decision reached between the members of the commission. Out of them, 196 members are to be elected to Parliament for 160 electorates.

The western province cities of Colombo and Gampaha have the largest number of voters, 1.7 million each, while the lowest number 287,024 is registered from the Tamil-dominated north's Wanni district.

The Indian Express is now on Telegram.



Other news