Sri Lanka’s ruling parties in the unity government suffered humiliating defeat at the local government elections held on Saturday at the hands of the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).
Although the official results are not completely released yet, the newly formed party, officially led by former minister Prof. G.L. Peiris is said to have secured victory of over 250 out of the 340 local government bodies.
According to the results released so far, the ruling United National Party has come in second and the United People’s Freedom Alliance led by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) is at a distant third. It is said to be the biggest defeat a ruling party has suffered in local government election history.
According to the Executive Director of Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) Keerthi Tennakoon, UNP has secured victory in Colombo, Kandy, Kurunegala, Matale, Nuwara Eliya, Hatton, Hambantota, Badulla, Wattala, Negombo, Kolonnawa, Kuliyapitiya, Panadura UC, Panadura Urban Council, Badulla, Passara, and Lunugala Pradeshiya Sabha.
The main constituent party of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi has won the divisions in Northern Province while Sri Lanka Muslim Congress has secured victory in the Muslim majority divisions in the Eastern Province with the SLPP wining the Sinhala majority divisions in Ampara district.
Following the apparent victory, elated former president Mahinda Rajapaksa issuing a statement asked his supporters to celebrate the victory peacefully and with restraint.