UPFA gets 120 of 180 seats declared; 47 for UNP

President Mahinda Rajapaksa-led ruling alliance in Sri Lanka, the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), has recorded an emphatic victory in the parliamentary elections held on Thursday. Of the results of 180 seats declared so far, it has won in 120 constituencies.

The outcome of the elections to the 225-member House shows that there is no change in the public mood since the January 26 Presidential election in which Mr. Rajapaksa secured a second tenure by nearly 18 percentage points over the candidate backed by the entire Opposition.

Going by the available trends and projections for the remaining seats, the UPFA might end up short of a dozen seats for a two-thirds majority. The main Opposition grouping, led by the United National Party (UNP) has so far bagged only 47 seats.

The Democratic National Alliance (DNA), the third front led by the defeated common consensus Presidential candidate and former Army Chief (retired) General Sarath Fonseka, has fared poorly, securing less than half-a-dozen seats. The Janatha Vimukthi Perumana, a main constituent of the alliance, is the biggest loser.

The official final tally of the new Parliament is expected to be delayed for at least two more weeks, as the Election Commission has withheld the results of 12 seats in the Kandy district following complaints of irregularities in some polling booths.

Though the six-week campaign in the run-up to the elections did not evoke much interest among the people, the outcome was watched with keen interest as it is the first general election in the island nation after the military defeat of the LTTE and the death of its leader Velupillai Prabakaran in May last.

The pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has done well in the elections. The formation has so far bagged a dozen of the 20 seats declared so far in the provinces of north and east.

Low voter turnout and sporadic incidents of violence marked the elections. The Election Commission is to release the voting data only after all the results are officially announced and the independent election monitors have estimated the voter turn-out to be between 50 and 55 per cent. Polling in the war-ravaged Northern Province appears to be very low.

The high-pitched presidential election in January fourth week that saw a voter turn-out of nearly 75 per cent, a general perception that the combine headed by the President would fare well in the parliamentary election after the Presidential poll and a series of elections throughout the country, barring in the north, were some of the factors for the voter apathy.

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