Sri Lanka's ruling party wins election, setback to Rajapaksa's comeback bid

19 August 2015

Sri Lanka's ruling United National Party (UNP) led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe looked still in command with enough support to form a stable government after eight months of minority rule after results of Parliament elections were declared on Tuesday.

Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa's attempt to stage a comeback failed as the alliance that toppled him made decisive gains in Sri Lanka's general election.

The ruling United National Party (UNP) has emerged as the single largest party with 106 seats in the 225-member legislature. The party needs support of at least seven more members for a majority.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would still be able to form a stable government with support from smaller allies.

He has the support of several smaller parties, including the Tamil National Alliance. Also, reports said, a section of lawmakers elected on Rajapaksa's UPFA ticket would leave the front and join hands with the UNP.

Of the 225 seats, district-level seats account for 196, for which polling took place on Monday. Seats under the national list will be allotted on the basis of votes polled.

In addition to winning 93 seats, the UNP got 13 seats under the national list, taking its tally to 106.

UPFA, led by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, obtained 95 seats, including 12 under the national list.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi got 16, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) got six, and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and the Eelam People's Democratic Party, one each.

The TNA and the JVP were allotted two seats under the national list.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called up Ranil Wickremesinghe to congratulate him on his party's victory.

Modi also expressed confidence that the relations between the two countries would improve under Wickremesinghe's leadership.

"Spoke to Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe and congratulated him on his alliance's wonderful performance in the elections," Modi tweeted.

"I am confident that under Mr Wickremesinghe's leadership, bilateral ties between India and Sri Lanka will get stronger," he added.

The prime minister also congratulated the people of Sri Lanka on the peaceful conduct of polls.

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