Rajpakse's party wins local polls

 
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Colombo, Mar 31 (UNI) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's ruling United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA), which took an early lead in the local poll securing control of 143 of the first 165 councils announced, is likely to give him an option to go for a snap Parliamentary poll.

''This is clearly the vote for peace. Despite various anti-peace campaigns and economic problem, people have voted for President Rajapakse's peace bid with the LTTE. The President may well go for a snap Parliamentary poll to strengthen his hand in Parliament as well,'' a senior member of the UPFA and chief minister of the Western Province, Alavi Mowlana told UNI over phone.

Mr Rajapakse, who was backed by the radical Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Buddhist-Monk Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), presently needs the support of these two parties to run the daily business in the Parliament, despite their scathing attack on his peace bid with the LTTE and the Norwegian facilitation.

While the JVP has been claiming that its support base is the rural electorates, the party was able to win only one local body in the Southern province of the results announced so far. But the party has increased the overall number of members in the local councils.

''The poll result is not surprising except for the fact the JVP has failed to make significant headway. The JVP and the JHU pressure on President Rajapakse in relation to peace talks with the LTTE and the Norwegian facilitation has not been endorsed by the electorate whom they claim to represent,'' Colombo University Political Science lecturer, Jeyadeva Uyangoda said.

The main Opposition United National Party (UNP) led by former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who lost the last Presidential election with a very narrow margin, has feared very badly at the polls and was able to win only 18 local bodies as consolation.

Meanwhile, the four-party Tamil National Alliance have secured win in two councils in Amparai and Trincomalee districts.

The mini poll was held yesterday for 266 local bodies. The poll was postponed for six electoral districts in the North-East, except the Eastern Trincomalee and Amparai districts.

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