Sri Lanka ruling party in strong position for national polls

Aug 24, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition has won convincingly over the main opposition and weakened a Marxist former ally in a provincial poll, placing the administration in a strong position to go for national polls on its own. The United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) led by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party of President Mahinda Rajapaksa won 18 seats in the North Central Province against 12 for the main opposition United National Party (UNP).

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) was reduced to just one seat.

In the Sabaragamuwa province the UPFA won 23 seats, the UNP 17 and the JVP 2.

The UPFA polled more than 50 percent of the vote in all polling divisions except Mawanella, in the Sabaragamuwa province where there is a significant Muslim population.

Political analysts say the result, which reduced the vote base of the JVP to between two and four percent in the two provinces, had put the administration in a strong position to go for elections in remaining councils followed by a snap general election.

JVP Weakness

Basil Rajapaksa, brother of President Rajapaksa and key political strategist of the alliance says the UPFA victory is an endorsement of recent military successes against Tamil Tiger