Sri Lanka's local polls end with over 70% turnout

Sri Lanka's local polls end with over 70% turnout

Sri Lanka's local polls end with over 70% turnout

His SLPP was predicted to wrest control of more than two-thirds of the local government bodies, according to unofficial tallies kept by both the ruling party and opposition.

The councils are the lowest level local government, but the results are expected to impact national politics because of the unexpected showing of Rajapaksa's proxy party, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).

President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Mahinda Rajapakse were among those who voted early in the morning.

The SLPP is heading towards a landslide victory at the local government election garnering, 45 per cent of the majority votes, it said.

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The local elections were long delayed.

Dinesh Gunawardena, an SLPP legislator, told reporters in Colombo the Sirisena "government has lost the people's mandate and should resign now".

It is reported that another discussion is scheduled to take place between the President, Prime Minister and MPs representing the UNP at the President's residence later. "But we will stand united and maintain political stability in parliament".

Rajapaksa campaigned against the government's failure to curb the cost of living and to take action against corruption, as well as higher taxes, the privatisation of state assets, and less welfare for the poor and retired soldiers.

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However, the government is unlikely to collapse because the prime minister's party holds the largest number of seats in parliament and Sirisena's party can not afford to break away, Kumar added.

However, as per amended constitution, General elections can not be called before February 2020 unless 2/3rds of MPs approve to dissolve the Parliament, which is unlikely.

"Thus instead, Sirisena will likely stay in the coalition but he will see his power erode further", Kumar said, adding that such an outcome would be "net positive for reforms" as power consolidation with the UNP could reduce future hurdles.

A close aide of the former president said even he was shocked by the results.

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