Sri Lanka ruling coalition sweeps mini-polls

Oct 09, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition of President Mahinda Rajapaksa won a a series of local councils except the capital Colombo and an eastern town, following polls marred by a deadly shootout among party rivals. The ruling United National People’s Alliance won 21 out of 23 city councils with the main opposition United National Party winning only its stronghold in the capital Colombo. Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, a minority party, won Kalmunai in the East.

Presidential advisor Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra was shot dead in a shootout with a rival group connected to ruling party lawmaker and monitoring member of parliament for the defence ministry, Duminda Silva, police and witnesses said.

Silva underwent surgery and is in intensive care. Three others including Premachandra’s bodyguard were killed. More than a dozen others were injured.

Both Premachandra and Silva were promoting candidates for council elections and were also bitter business, reports said.

A dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed in the Mulleriyawa are just outside Colombo where the shootings took place after a vehicle belonging to Silva and burnt and a party office attacked.