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Sri Lanka’s ruling party heading for landslide victory in elections

Sri Lanka’s ruling party heading for landslide victory in elections

DPA
Colombo
The ruling party in Sri Lanka has further widened its lead in the parliamentary elections and is heading for a landslide victory, officials said on Thursday.
Early results show that incumbent Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Party (Sri Lanka People’s Party, SLPP) was leading with clear majorities in most constituencies.
With more than five million votes counted and released officially, the SLPP was leading with 61 percent of the vote, with the closest rival party securing only 22 percent.
The results of 90 out of the 160 constituencies have been announced so far, with the SLPP securing 80 of them.
Unofficial results showed that Rajapaksa’s party was in the lead in most of the 160 constituencies.
The worst setback was suffered by former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) which has so far failed to secure even 3 percent of the vote.
The UNP has been plagued by divisions and most of its previously popular candidates ran under the banner of a separate party, known as the United People’s Front (SJB) and led by former presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa.
Premadasa’s SJB was heading to be the main opposition party trailing behind Rajapaksa’s SLPP.
Elections are being held for 225 members of parliament for the next five years.
Earlier in the day, officials started the counting process after holding back the ballot boxes overnight following Wednesday’s poll.
The elections had been postponed twice since April due to the pandemic, but Sri Lanka’s government has kept the situation under control so far, with fewer than 3,000 cases and 11 deaths to date.
The voting rate was lower than at the previous parliamentary elections in 2015, where turnout was 77 percent.

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