Elsewhere, ruling UPFA wins overwhelmingly

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the umbrella organisation of Tamil political parties, recorded convincing victories in local body elections in Sri Lanka's north and east, while the rest of the country continued to back the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA).

The TNA won 18 of the 26 local bodies in the north and east, leaving two to the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) and two to the UPFA constituent, the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP). The EPDP, led by lone Tamil Cabinet Minister Douglas Devananda, won in Delft and Velanai islands, even as the mainlanders shrugged off promises of development aid and a host of enticements that came their way and chose to back the TNA.

The UPFA won overwhelmingly to take 45 of the 65 local bodies that went to the polls on Saturday. On the other hand, the main Opposition, the United National Party, and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), which claims Marxist leanings, lost across the country.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa's son and Member of Parliament Namal Rajapaksa said that people voting in the election after such a long time was a victory for democracy.

In many northern areas, people cast their votes for the first time in two-and-a-half decades. A total of 2.5 million voters were registered to vote in the elections held in over 2,200 centres. The northern province has about 4.4. lakh voters.

Election monitors reported over 100 poll-related incidents, including instances of intimidation, assault, abduction and misuse of state property.

The Centre for Policy Alternatives, which monitored the elections, said it was “informed of several incidents where voters in areas of Karachchi and Palai divisions, in the Kilinochchi district were forced to hand over their polling cards by armed actors hours before polling commenced at 7 a.m. The CPA also received reports that in some areas, payments were made to voters to hand over their polling cards. Such incidents were reported from Bharatipuram, Ramanathapuram, Konavil, Malayalapuram, Vattakachchi, Kalmadu, Ananvillandan and Navalnagar in the Kilinochchi district.

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