Opposition leads Sri Lanka presidential race: survey

An opinion poll Wednesday gave Sri Lanka’s opposition leader an edge in the presidential race, with a majority saying he was better able to revive the economy and the troubled peace process. An opinion poll Wednesday gave Sri Lanka’s opposition leader an edge in the presidential race, with a majority saying he was better able to revive the economy and the troubled peace process. The Centre for Policy Alternatives thinktank, in a survey of 1,200 voters in 22 voting districts across the island, found that cost of living and the peace process with Tamil rebels were the two main issues in the November 17 election.

On both counts, opposition leader and former premier Ranil Wickremesinghe was about six percentage points ahead of his main rival, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, the survey showed.

A full 41 percent believed Wickremesinghe, whose right-wing United National Party introduced market reforms in 1977, was better suited to manage the economy. Rajapakse, who promises a socialist model, scored 35.1 percent.

The opposition leader got a 45.4 percent approval rating for his ability to handle the peace process with Tamil Tiger rebels while Rajapakse trailed with 38.7 percent.