Rajapakse wins again, but battle for unity remains

April 11, 2010 (AFP) – It seems Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapakse, just can’t stop winning. His ruling party’s landslide triumph in parliamentary elections this week capped a trio of historic victories following the military defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels a year ago, and a thumping presidential re-election win in January.

Now with his ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) in firm control of parliament, the opposition divided and his main political rival under court martial, his position appears unassailable.

The alliance may have fallen just short of the two-thirds majority that would have allowed Rajapakse to amend the constitution, but with a predicted 140 seats in the 225-member house, it would only need 10 outside votes to make up the required number.

The UPFA secured 117 seats in Thursday’s poll and is expected to win at least half of the 45 that have yet to be declared. The main opposition United National Party (UNP) was reduced to 46 seats.

But while the president may have tightened his already formidable grip on power, analysts say he still faces serious