Sri Lanka president says victory is vote for him

April 9, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse said Friday his party’s resounding parliamentary victory was a vote of confidence in his socialist economic policies. The president, who was not a candidate at Thursday’s vote, said the landslide for his United People’s Freedom Alliance was a vote for his economic and social vision that included the crushing of Tamil rebels last year.

“This outstanding victory is an endorsement of the ‘Mahinda Chintana’ (Mahinda vision),” Rajapakse said in a statement thanking supporters.

“I asked you for a strong parliament that can meet any challenge,” he said. “I sincerely thank you for giving me an unprecedented majority that will help make Sri Lanka an example to the rest of the world.”

His UPFA secured 117 seats in the 225-member assembly with another 45 seats left to be declared, results released by the Elections Commissioner showed. The main opposition United National Party (UNP) was reduced to 46 seats.

“This is a huge endorsement of the work of the president,” Rajapakse’s spokesman Chandrapala Liyanage said.

“The party has won parliament very comfortably,” Liyanage told AFP, predicting that it