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 Post subject: Sri Lankan president hails his party's election victory
 Post Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:38 pm 

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Sri Lankan president hails his party's election victory

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse said Monday that his party's landslide victory in a local election held Saturday was a fitting reply to international and local conspirators against the island. "The voters have given a strong reply to those who try to stifle the forward march of the nation," Rajapakse told a gathering in the Colombo eastern suburb of Homagama.

The ruling United People's Freedom Alliance won the Central and North Western provincial elections by a convincing margin. The votes received by the government are being seen as a clear endorsement of Rajapakse's military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The president said his gallant troops deserved all encouragement for taking on the Tigers and crushing them.

The ruling UPFA comfortably secured the Central Province winning 11 out of 13 electorates and won the North Western Province in all but name in Saturday’s elections widely considered a referendum on President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s war on LTTE terror. The final results in the NWP have not yet been announced due to the cancellation of results at one polling station in Puttalam.

In the Central Province, which comprises the Kandy, Matale and Nuwara Eliya electoral districts, the SLFP-led UPFA won 36 seats (including two bonus seats) and UNP 22. The UPFA polled 650,203 votes (59.53 %) against 422,125 (38.65%) by the UNP while the JVP came a distant third with a meagre 15,416 (1.41%).

The National Freedom Front, the breakaway JVP faction led by Wimal Weerawansa fielded ten candidates on the UPFA ticket. Of them four contested the Kurunegala district while two each entered the fray in Puttalam and Kandy. The NFF fielded one each in the Matale and Nuwara Eliya Districts.

Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake annulled the results of the Nayakkarchenai in the Puttalam electorate citing irregularities, thereby holding the release of the final results of the North Western Province, which comprises the Puttalam and Kurunegala districts. The UPFA gained four of the five electorates in the Puttalam District, while sweeping the entire Kurunegala District comprising 14 electorates.

Of the 39 electorates in the Central and North Western Provinces, the UPFA won 37, UNP two (Nuwara and Nuwara Eliya-Maskeliya) and the JVP none. The UNP secured Nuwara Eliya-Maskeliya by polling 79,153 against the UPFA’s 69,323 votes. The UNP also secured the Nuwara polling division by obtaining 12,146 votes against the UPFA’s 10,243.

UNP Central Province Chief Ministerial candidate S. B. Dissanayake, who repeatedly vowed to sweep all three districts in the Central Province, ended up losing even his home base at Hanguranketha by over 10,000 votes. Dissanayake’s high profile Heravumaka Arabuma (Beginning of the end) campaign failed to produce the desired results.

The UPFA comfortably gained the Kurunegala District by polling a staggering 497,366 votes (70.13 %). The UNP polled 193,548 (27.29 %) while the JVP managed 16,084 (2.27%). The UPFA, UNP and JVP secured 24, 9 and one slot, respectively.

The UPFA won the Nuwara Eliya District receiving 146,418 (51.77%) votes and returning 9 members while the UNP secured 128,289 (45.36%) and returned seven members. The JVP received only 3,039 (1.07) votes and had no seats.

The UPFA won the Matale District after polling 140,295 votes (69.48%) and has returned seven members to the Central Provincial council, while only three members of the UNP were elected. The UNP polled 56,009 (27.74 %) and the JVP 4,084 (2.02%).

The UPFA took the Kandy District returning 18 members against 12 UNP members. The UPFA secured 363,490 (59.41%) and the UNP 237, 827 (38.87%) while the JVP obtained 8,293 (1.36%) and no seat.

At the previous PC polls, the UNP comfortably secured the Nuwara Eliya District by polling 138,572 against the UPFAs 89,192 while the Up-country People’s Front (UPF) polled 36,939 votes. The UPF contested this year’s poll on the UPFA ticket along with the CWC.

JVP MP Vijitha Herath and unsuccessful UNP chief ministerial candidate S. B. Dissanayake yesterday said that the unprecedented armed forces triumph over the LTTE facilitated Saturday’s overwhelming government victory at the PC polls.

The Rajapaksa administration shouldn’t consider this as a victory for the UPFA or endorsement of its policies, he said. The JVP frontliner claimed that this was a clear endorsement of the ongoing armed forces campaign on the northern front. Had Wimal Weerawansa’s National Freedom Party contested on its own, it would have experienced a loss even worse than the JVP, he claimed.

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