Sri Lanka snap poll possible as ruling party sweeps local elections

April 2 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s ruling party may call snap elections after its success in local polls gave it a chance to break away from hardline allies opposed to a peace process with Tamil rebels, analysts say. President Mahinda Rajapakse could call parliamentary polls four years ahead of schedule if his two key nationalist allies try to block efforts for a political settlement to the festering ethnic conflict, they say.

“The president will try to get the nationalists on board but if that fails, he may go for a quick election,” said Sunanda Deshapriya, director at the Centre for Policy Alternatives think tank.

Deshapriya said the poor performance by the nationalist Marxist JVP, or the People’s Liberation Front, and the all monks party of JHU showed that Rajapakse no longer needed their support to win elections.

Official results of Thursday’s poll showed that Rajapakse’s People’s Alliance won 225 of the 266 local councils.

The JVP barely managed to retain one council and the JHU failed to win anything.

The two parties supported Rajapakse in his successful run for the presidency in November in return for a pledge to review a Norwegian-backed peace process in place since 2002.
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