Sri Lanka’s PM Mahinda Rajapaksa casts his ballot at a polling station in their home village Madamulana (AFP p…Read More
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa was poised to stage a political comeback on Thursday as his party took an unassailable lead and was set for a landslide victory in the general elections, according to results announced so far.
An AFP report said that with more than 60% of the 11.3 million ballots counted, PM Mahinda Rajapaksa’s SLPP had 57% of the votes. Official results showed that the party had secured 72 out of the 98 seats decided and was headed for a two thirds majority in the 225-member parliament.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in a tweet described the results as a “magnificent victory” for the ruling party. “The SLPP has recorded a magnificent victory according to the official results declared so far. I firmly believe that by tomorrow I would be able to form the parliament which is needed to implement my election manifesto,” he said. Victory might make it easier for Gotabaya to amend a key provision in the Constitution that puts limits on presidential powers, a change brought in by ex-President Maithripala Sirisena in 2015.
The nearest rival to SLPP is the new party formed by former presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa who has relegated his mother party, the United National Party, of former premier Ranil Wickremesinghe to the fourth place. Wickremesinghe’s party is struggling to reach the 5% mark needed to qualify for any seat in the entire island. He is facing the danger of losing his parliamentary seat for the first time since July 1977.
In the Tamil minority dominated north, the main Tamil party — Tamil National Alliance — suffered unexpected reversals at the hands of SLPP’s Tamil allies — the Eelam People’s Democratic Party.