Sri Lanka Local Elections: Opposition’s Landslide Victory

Screenshot of a Twitter Post by former President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa

Opposition forces in Sri Lanka are on course to win a landslide victory in local elections as the ruling coalition, in fighting against each other, suffers an upsetting defeat in the local elections.

The opposition Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party, led by the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has won 44.65 percent of the vote in the local election.

The Sri Lankan President Maithripala Srisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has come to be the distant third with only 8.94 percent of the vote.

United National Party (UNP), led by Prime Minister Ranil Wikremesinghe, has managed to secure the second position with 32.63 percent of the vote.

The shocking defeat of the ruling coalition came as the shocking surprise to many of the Sri Lankan political analysts.

The ruling coalition, consisting of UNP and SLEP, has been infighting against each other for a long time with the President alleging the Minister from UNP of corruption.

The United National Party (UNP) MPs and ministers criticize President Maithripala Srisena’s in public.

It has been the first ever election since the August 2015 elections when President Srisena’s SLEP and Prime Minister’s UNP formed a coalition government.

President Srisena has been outspoken against the UNP handling of the economy. In return, the ministers criticized him publicly.

The local election result, however, came as a massive blow against the ruling coalition government which the political analysts believe to be the result of infighting.

The rife between the parties came to light clearly when the parties contested against each other in the local election.

Why the Ruling Coalition Suffers Defeat?

The ruling coalition’s defeat came as a surprise to many Sri Lankans. Political analyst Kalana Senratne, however, tried to explain the election result motives to Doha based Al Jazeera.

“The mandate received by the government in 2015, was for governance – reforms, swift action regarding the accusation of corruption leveled at Rajapaksa, less radicalism regarding constitutional reforms and continuation of the developmental policies of the Rajapaksa regime. However, there has been no visible action against the corrupt,” he told Doha based Al Jazeera.

The Opposition Calls for Government Resignation

Emboldened by the landslide victory in the local election, the Sri Lankan opposition has called for the resignation of the government.

Opposition leader G.L. Pieris told the press “This is a very emphatic rejection of Wikremesinghe -Srisena government. The government has lost the mandate to rule.”

Following the election defeat, the UNP, however, indicated that they will continue the coalition with Srisena’s SLEP until 2020 election.

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