Low vote for monks, Marxists to help Sri Lanka peace: media

April 01 (AFP) – The crushing electoral defeat of Sri Lanka’s nationalist Buddhist monks and Marxists, who both oppose Norwegian-backed peace moves, could boost efforts to end ethnic bloodshed, media said Saturday. Official results of the Thursday poll showed that President Mahinda Rajapakse’s People’s Alliance won 225 of the 266 local councils.

By contrast, the Marxist JVP barely managed to retain their one council and the JHU all Buddhist-monks party failed to secure one.

“No doubt this augurs well for the future and the peace process,” the state-run Daily News said in an editorial. “It is quite obvious that those political parties seen as espousing the interests of specific cultural groups have been rejected.”

The JVP and JHU are both coalition partners of President Rajapakse in parliament but each contested the local elections independently.

The privately-owned Island newspaper said the Marxists were disappointed by the results as they had expected to control at least half a dozen councils and demonstrate their electoral strength.

But the poll had exposed the vote base of the Marxists, Island said, adding that the party had been left with only a “loin cloth”.

In an editorial headlined: