Sri Lanka polls: Blow for Rajapaksa’s last-ditch battle

Ranil and Mahinda

Sri Lankans have rejected former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s last-ditch effort to reclaim relevance in the shifting political landscape of Sri Lanka. As the results for the historic parliamentary polls in Sri Lanka for the 196 seats came out, the incumbent Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of the United National Party (UNP) claimed victory after the initial results and trends were out. The August 17 parliamentary elections have been the most peaceful election held in Sri Lanka after 1970. 

Claiming victory, in a statement, Mr Wickremesinghe said that people had endorsed what he called his good governance and consensual politics. “I offer my grateful thanks to all parties and individuals who worked untiringly during the election period to ensure victory for the people,” said Mr Wickremesinghe. He was in a race against the former President and strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA).

According to the results released so far, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s United People’s Freedom Alliance has won 83 seats of the 225 seats, while Wickremesinghe’s United National Party has won 93 seats, the Tamil National Alliance won 14, the Janatha Vimukti Peramuna (JVP) won 4 seats and the Eelam People’s Democratic Party and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) won 1 seat each . The party or alliance which gets 113 seats in the 225 seats for Parliament would form the government. The UNP secured 45.7 percent of the vote while the UPFA secured 42.4 percent of the votes polled. The JVP got 4.9 percent of the total vote.

The allotment of seats for the national list, having 29 seats, will be decided on the basis of votes polled by parties. Going by the provisional data of parties’ performance, the UNP is expected to get at least 13 more seats, pushing its tally to 106.

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