Posted on October 11th, 2009

By Walter Jayawardhana

The ruling coalition led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa obtained a historical victory by winning a two thirds majority of seats at the Southern Provincial Council elections, yesterday.

Giving another body blow to the opposition United National Party (UNP)the ruling United PeopleƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Alliance (UPFA)decreased the number of seats of the UNP of the last council by five seats. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna who contested the previous 2004 elections as a coalition partner of the ruling party and contested by their own was reduced from 14 seats to three seats this time.

Yesterday the UPFA won 38 seats (inclusive of the two bonus seats) while the UNP came to a distant 14 and JVP 3.

Political analysts said that President Rajapaksa received a mandate from the Southern voters to deliver a strong message to the Western nations who have been working hard against a military victory of the Sri Lankan armed forces who defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) militarily.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Deliver a message to those nations and their local agents who are threatening to send our heroic soldiers to a military tribunal for defeating the terrorists,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ President Rajapaksa repeatedly said during the campaign. It was an obvious reference to the pro-Western UNP.

The government speakers also asked voters to endorse the unprecedented mega development projects the government launched like the Hambantota Harbour and International Airport, hundreds of kilometres of new highways and railways to run across the province and millions of dollars worth of irrigation schemes.

Elated by the victory of the Galle electoral division which Mahinda Rajapaksa lost at the Presidential election Minister W.D.J.Seneviratne said people have responded both to the defeat of terrorism as well as to the mega development projects the government has undertaken for the people. Together with the Hambantota harbour the government is developing the ancient Galle harbour to make the city that was turned into matchwood during the tsunami to a hive of economic activity.

The UPFA swept all electorates in all Galle,Matara and Hambantota Districts of the Province receiving 804071 votes polling 67.88 % . The UNP received 297180 votes polling 25.09 % of the votes. The JVP came a poor third with 72,379 votes polling 6.11 %.

In the previous 2004 elections the UNP won 19 seats and JVP 14 seats. UNP has lost five seats this time and JVP 11 seats. The JVP was able to bag only a seat each from the three districts yesterday from a province they once considered a bastion of their political power.

The pro-UNP Sri Lanka Muslim Congress which is badly divided came to a fourth place obtaining .55% of the whole province and winning no seats in the council. The party received only 6553 votes in the whole province despite the fact that there is a large Muslim population in the urban areas of the Southern Province.

The government servants who used postal votes have overwhelmingly supported the UPFA. In the whole province UPFA received 22095 postal votes while the UNP came a distant second having received 4647 votes.The JVP received 2398 postal votes.

The elections have dawned further ominous signs to the political future of UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe who has failed to win an election for the umpteenth number of time now. He was so confused about the elections, his opponents said, Ranil appealed to the voters to vote for his party symbol , elephant, on October 18. But the election was on October 10

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