Rajapaksa’s comeback fails as Sri Lankan voters back reforms
Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s attempt to stage a comeback in Sri Lanka’s general election has ended in defeat as results on Tuesday showed the alliance that toppled him making decisive gains.
The ruling United National Party (UNP) was likely to fall just short of an outright majority but Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe should still command enough support to form a stable government.
“I invite all of you to join hands,” Wickremesinghe, 66, said in a statement. “Let us together build a civilised society, build a consensual government and create a new country.”
The outcome is a triumph for President Maithripala Sirisena, who beat his former ally Rajapaksa in a presidential vote in January and called early parliamentary polls to secure a stronger mandate for reforms.
Defeat for Rajapaksa will keep Sri Lanka on a non-aligned foreign policy course and loosen its ties with China, which during his rule pumped billions of dollars into turning the Indian Ocean island into a maritime outpost.
Wickremesinghe’s UNP won 93 of the 196 seats up for grabs in multi-member constituencies. The alliance led by Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) took 83 seats after suffering losses.
Final representation in the 225-seat chamber will be decided when 29 national seats are allocated by proportional representation.
UNP sources said the party expected to win up to 107 seats overall – just shy of a 113-seat majority. It won 45.7 percent of the popular vote, ahead of 42.4 percent for Rajapaksa.
Nationalist strongman Rajapaksa set his sights on becoming premier of an SLFP-led government but Sirisena, who succeeded him as party leader in January, has ruled that out and purged Rajapaksa loyalists from senior posts.
A group of Sirisena followers is expected to cross the floor to join a broad-based national unity government led by Wickremesinghe, who was likely to be confirmed in his post on Tuesday.
“The UNP will not have an overall majority – it will have to look for coalition partners from those who support Sirisena,” said Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, head of the Centre for Policy Alternatives.
With outside support, the centre-right alliance could hope to muster the two-thirds majority required to pass proposed constitutional reforms that would make government more accountable and simplify Sri Lanka’s complex election laws.
The power struggle between the past and present presidents overshadowed the election in a country with a history of political feuding that has often spilled over into violence and even the assassination of its leaders.
A backlash against Rajapaksa’s attempt to win an unprecedented third term led support to coalesce around his former health minister Sirisena, a humble figure with none of the muscular bravado of his predecessor.
The 69-year-old Rajapaksa, expected to lead a rump parliamentary opposition, told Reuters earlier he would “support good policies and oppose bad things”.
Yet he could now be confronted with a judicial reckoning, along with two brothers who held high office, for alleged corruption and abuse of power during his decade in power. They have denied any wrongdoing.
“Mahinda has to compromise – resign from politics and parliament, and settle down as a former president – or face the legal consequences,” said a Sirisena aide, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
It was because of Sirisena Mahinda lost. It is Sirisena who betrayed the SLFP. The SLFP is also disturbed about the way Sirisena kicking out 25 of its central commitee members. It wont be easy for the new government to carry on. The UNP itself is split, just for the elections they got together. Actually, the looser is Sirisena.
Go home n sleep Mr. Paksa as ur eyes are seems to be so tired like a gruesome man.
The winners in this election are the voting population of Sri Lanka who have installed a Government with potential for 2/3rds majority for a period of 5 years.
The Sri Lanka Freedom Party is in tatters following an intense power struggle between the factions that emerged following the Jan 08 revolution.
The Rajapaksha dynasty has been brought to its knees and the last nails in its coffin will be nailed through the multiple legal challenges and most importantly, the outcome of the UNHRC sessions in September.
I find great comfort in the new government’s ability to govern without the support of the federalists. The provincial government system which is significant burden on the taxpayer with hardly any pass-on benefit to society, should be promptly abolished. The local government system should be strengthened and supported through village based representation.
Time is opportune to re-think the future of the remnants of the executive presidency.
I foresee a bright and open future for the peoples of Sri Lanka though the clouds in the horizon are yet to clear.
You have done more help and development to your country than any one political leader in Sri Lanka. Finishing the war that killed more than 100,000 people and ran through 30 years is at the top.
Since British colonialists left us in a mess, you were the only one who managed to do any such noticeable infrastructure development (air ports, harbours, roads, technology etc) for the future. You were the only one who could drive the country out from “low income” level into “medium income” level in the world. You were the only one who could drive our capital city to be number one in the world. You were the only one who could get Sri Lanka to the top of those countries where the “authority of law upheld”. You were the only one who could get the “world corruption index” much lower, just to name only a few. None of these indicators or indexes was done by Sri Lankans but by world renowned institutions. Therefore anyone who starts laughing at above facts is actually laughing at their own level of ignorance and foolishness.
Never the less you were pushed out of office in such a low level by the low lying, shameless, ungrateful, western urine drinking bunch of population who suffers massive memory loss.
It was not your fault. That is how the “so called” democracy the west promotes and we have imported to our country works. Those countries that didn’t fall into this western version of democracy, not only developed, but shined in the way those countries have served their own people (eg: Cuba, Libya, Iraq, China, Russia, Singapore). It is not easy to hear the true story behind those countries through the western sponsored media haze.
Absolutely none of the allegations thrown against you were proved so far. One deputy minister in the current government said as a reply to a question “they cannot be proved because they were done in such a manner that the perpetrator cannot be implicated”. Nice reply, not that the accusations are terrible lies or you are incompetent to do your job in proving them. Using this new theory and the same logic that minister himself, the current president, current PM or anybody at all in the whole wide world can be accused. All what we have to say is “Oh! Cannot prove because they were done in a manner so it cannot be proved!”. Nice excuse. This is a type of country we live in and this is a country with a population who readily and shamelessly deliver or gullible enough to swallow any such cow-dung with no hesitation. Those who excel at this type of accusations can do so to Jesus Christ, Lord Buddha, God Siva, Prophet Mohamed etc too, simply those frauds were done in such a manner that they cannot be proved. Nice isn’t it? Jesus Christ had Judas, Lord Buddha had Ajaasaththa, and such is life.
You didn’t keep torture chambers (like Batalanda by Ranil), or stole $ billions out of Country’s Central Bank (like what Ranil/Ravi did) , or back-stabbed any political opponent (like Sirisena , Rajitha, Champaka did), or didn’t betray the country at any cost (like Ranil’s Millennium City scandal, killing of 700 policemen sponsored by Premadasa), or backed off in front of foreign threats ( eg: JRJ signing Indu Lanka Accord with Rajeev Gandhi under Indian threat, offering the north and east to LTTE by Ranil under pressure from the west), or didn’t leave or worked against your political party (like Chandrika, Sirisena, Rajitha etc), or you didn’t steal the national wealth (like Ranil/Ravi robbed central bank in broad daylight). I trust you more than those clean talking thieves.
But the only thing you didn’t do that I cannot simply forget is that you didn’t recognise the rubbish hung around you who stole and cheated (eg: Mervin, Rajitha, Sirisena) and you didn’t punish them then and there who brought shame to your government (eg: Mervin who was running havoc, Rajitha when he stole from maritime services). But in comparison to all the previous and current leaders we had or have I can readily forgive you for that. The value of lives you have saved for the last 10 years cannot be put in any dollar figure. I don’t or didn’t expect a 100% perfect man out of you, because I know I am not 100% perfect. Those who are looking to eat a pound of flesh of you aren’t even close to you level of accuracy and governance; 80-90% is good enough for me out of those leaders who were only around 40-50% in their level of performance.
I never saw a leader who was as solid as concrete in front of western imperialists (eg: USA, UK) and their used toilet paper lickers (eg; Norway, India). We will never get anyone like you in the foreseeable future.
You have done your job, very well. I salute you sir for the great service you did to this ungrateful and narrow minded, morally slave nation. I now only hope that you will stop wasting your energy for such an ungrateful country, and simply retire soon to enjoy the rest of your great life.
Thank you again for all you have done a lot of good for us even though the morally blind cannot see them. We owe you a lot.
I can understand the feelings of people,life is a circle , the one who is on the top slides towards bottom, the one who is in the bottom raise up.so no one is permanent.
Many says there are some manipulations to some votes.
Many JVP votes has been manipulated to UNP while counting disputes.
The reason for some drastically delay happens in Colombo due to this it seems.
JVP had a bigger chance of getting good support from Colombo but it came down in a such bad manner.
So this is a clear evidence I guess.
Who says no?
And who says requesting for nullify it?
Thanha jayathi soko