Daily Archives: April 9, 2010
Rajapaksa’s United People’s Freedom Alliance had won 120 seats out of 180 initially decided for the 225-member parliament, results released by the Department of Government Information showed. The next closest challenger had at least 47.
It takes 113 seats to have a majority and form the government.
“We may be short of 12 or 13 seats to get two-thirds but that will not be a challenge for us,” said UPFA spokesman and Transport Minister Dullas Alahaperuma. “There is no question about the victory.”
The problem with opposition parties, however, is that they remain split. More than 7,000 candidates contested in the parliamentary election.
Rajapaksa remains a hero among the country’s Sinhalese majority for leading last year’s victory over ethnic Tamil rebels, and many voters hope he can bring postwar development and reconciliation to the country after a quarter-century of civil conflict.
A two-thirds parliamentary majority would allow Rajapaksa’s party to change the constitution to allow a president to serve more than two terms. The opposition fears Rajapaksa will try to remain in power past the end of his second term in 2017.
The United National Front said it wanted to contest the elections alone. However, its head, former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, faces a leadership challenge and party disunity after a series of election losses.
Election monitors reported a low turnout Thursday, but the elections office said it can’t confirm the voting percentage until the final result is released.