Lankan Ruling Party Claims Victory as Counting Enters Final Phases

With counting showing them far ahead, Sri Lanka’s ruling party has claimed victory in parliamentary elections that were marked by record low turnout and reports of voter intimidation, said media reports.

According to reports, over one of the votes have been counted so far.

President Mahinda Rajapakse’s United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) secured 62.1 per cent of the vote, while the main opposition United National Party came a distant second with 27.32 per cent, said reports.

“We have won the election,” Dullas Alahaperuma, transport minister and UPFA spokesman was quoted as saying.

Earlier, he had predicted that his party would get 138 to 142 seats in the 225-member parliament.

“We may be short of 12 or 13 seats to get two-thirds but that will not be a challenge for us,” he was quoted as saying.

It was the first parliamentary poll since last May when Tamil Tigers were wiped out in an army offensive,

Needless to mention, the widely expected win in the elections will strengthen Rajapakse’s hold on the power further more.

Rajapakse, who won a second term as president by an emphatic margin only three months ago, had been hoping for a two thirds majority that would allow him to amend the constitution, which currently limits presidents to two successive terms, reports said.

“I want a very strong parliament to develop the country,” he had said while casting his vote.

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