Sri Lanka’s ruling party sweeps local polls

Sept 9, 2012 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s ruling party secured victory in three provincial council elections including one area ravaged by the island’s ethnic war that ended in 2009, according to results released on Sunday. President Mahinda Rajapakse’s United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) swept the council polls in the north-central and central regions with near two thirds majorities in Saturday’s vote.

In the eastern province, where Sri Lanka’s two main minorities — Tamils and Muslims — live in almost equal number, the UPFA emerged the largest single party with 14 seats, five short of an absolute majority.

The eastern province covers an area that was dominated by Tamil Tiger rebels until they were driven out of the region by 2007.

The rebels were crushed in their final bastion in the island’s north in May 2009 after decades of fighting that claimed up to 100,000 lives.

Tiger fighters waged war against the government in an attempt to found an independent state for Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority population.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a party that was once a proxy of the rebels, secured 11 seats in the eastern province. Rajapakse’s party has won all key elections since defeati