Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday said his government was “being punished for ending terrorism” and blamed Opposition parties for seeking to engineer his downfall with international support.

Campaigning for his ruling coalition in the two Provincial Assembly elections to be held next Saturday, the President accused the Opposition of having become a pawn in the hands of anti-Sri Lanka forces.

“They know they can’t win people’s hearts and win so they expect international support to topple the government,” Mr. Rajapaksa said in the southwestern town of Kaluthara.

“[UNHRC chief] Madam [Navi] Pillay, the U.S., the U.K., all are moved against us by the Tamil diaspora,” he said on the UNHRC resolution to be voted on later this week in Geneva.

“We are being punished for ending terrorism. We did not fight Tamils, we only fought terrorism,” Mr. Rajapaksa stressed.

He appealed to the voters to send a powerful message to the international community.

“We will not tolerate any foreign interference and that will be the message,” he said.

Mr. Rajapaksa has opted to hold two provincial elections both in the Sinhala-majority areas — the Western and Southern provinces — as a test of his popularity.

Sri Lanka is facing its third UN Human Rights Council resolution in as many years.