Sri Lanka’s strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa staged a political comeback as his party registered a landslide victory in the twice-postponed general elections, according to the final results released by the elections commission.
The official results declared showed that the Sri Lanka People’s Party alone had won 145 seats and with its allies have 150 seats, a two thirds majority in the 225-member parliament, reported news agency PTI.
The party led by the prime minister won all but 4 of the 22 electoral districts on offer. The victory margins in the South, dominated by the majority Sinhala community, were in the high 60 per cent mark in most areas.
The party polled 6.8 million votes at 59.9 per cent.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first world leaders to congratulate Rajapaksa on the outcome of the elections and said the two sides will work together to further advance all areas of bilateral cooperation and to take their special ties to ever newer heights.
“Thank you PM @narendramodi for your congratulatory phone call. With the strong support of the people of #SriLanka, I look forward to working with you closely to further enhance the long-standing cooperation between our two countries. Sri Lanka & India are friends & relations,” Rajapaksa tweeted.
Thank you PM @narendramodi for your congratulatory phone call. With the strong support of the people of #SriLanka, I look forward to working with you closely to further enhance the long-standing cooperation between our two countries. Sri Lanka & India are friends & relations. pic.twitter.com/9YPLAQuVlE
— Mahinda Rajapaksa (@PresRajapaksa) August 6, 2020
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who won the November presidential election on the SLPP ticket, had called a snap election six months ahead of the schedule.
In the parliamentary election, he was seeking 150 seats mandatory to execute constitutional changes in the main to repeal the 19th amendment to the Constitution which had curbed presidential powers while strengthening the role of parliament.
The biggest casualty from the result was the United National Party of former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The UNP managed to win only one seat and that too came thanks to the cumulative votes polled nationally.
The country’s grandest political party failed to win a single seat from any of the 22 districts. Its leader and a four-time prime minister was unseated for the first time since he entered parliament in 1977. Wickremesinghe failed to win from Colombo district as his party finished fourth in most constituencies.
The UNP only polled 249,435 votes or just 2 per cent of the vote and was relegated to the fifth position nationally.