World

Mahinda's SLPP says it is heading for victory at polls

Mahinda's SLPP says it is heading for victory at polls

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) garnered 31.65 percent while President Maithripala Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) came a distant third with 9.52 percent of the vote.

In Sri Lanka, the alliance backed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has taken a lead at the local body elections held yesterday.

Sri Lanka's former leader Mahinda Rajapakse on Monday demanded a snap general election and challenged his successor's right to govern after drubbing the ruling coalition in crucial mid-term polls.

Sirisena has targeted the Wickremesinghe's United National Party, dubbing it even more corrupt than the Rajapaksa government of which Sirisena walked out to become the then main opposition challenger.

There are 24 municipal councils, 41 urban councils and 275 pradeshiya sabhas, the legislative bodies that preside over the third-tier municipalities in the country.

The results were a clear indication that the SLFP voters had ditched Sirisena despite his repeated attempts to rally the party under his leadership.




"The government no longer has a mandate", said Rajapakse, who lost presidential and parliamentary polls in 2015 after ruling the island with an iron fist for a decade. Unlike other members of the SLPP, he did not press for the government to step down.

However, the president has no power to dissolve parliament until February 2020.

However, as per amended constitution, General elections can not be called before February 2020 unless 2/3rds of MPs approve to dissolve the Parliament, which is unlikely.

"It has been one of the most peaceful elections we have had on record", said Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, executive director for the Center for Policy Alternatives.

The SLPP got just over 45 percent of the popular vote at Saturday's election while the UNP got a little over 32 percent. However, calls for his resignation had subsided as the final results were coming in.


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