Unofficial results showed that the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) was leading in almost all the districts outside the north and the east
( February 10, 2018, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) “Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s proxy was set for an unexpected landslide victory in Saturday’s local council elections described by private poll monitors as the most peaceful in decades,” local media outlets reported.
“Unofficial results showed that the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) was leading in almost all the districts outside the north and the east and was on its way to secure an unassailable 51 percent of the total votes polled,” the reported added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) was being pushed to a humiliating second place. President Maithripala Sirisena’s faction of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party was doing even worse as a distant third.
The results, once confirmed by the independent Election Commission, are expected to considerably weaken President Sirisena who has been at loggerheads with his senior coalition partner, Wickremesinghe’s UNP.
In the run-up to Saturday’s much-delayed local government election, Sirisena had even suggested that the UNP-led government was more corrupt than the Rajapaksa’s administration they toppled together in January 2015.
The SLPP proxy in Maharagama had beaten the UNP compounding the mid-term drubbing for Wickremesinghe.
An unusually high voter turnout was reported with officials saying the final figure could be higher than 70 percent and closer to the 81 percent seen at the January 2015 presidential election.
Private election monitors said the two-month campaign for the local government elections was the most peaceful in decades and an outstanding feature was the impartiality and even-handedness of the police and the strict enforcement of election laws.