Landslide for MR

Published : 9:16 am  February 12, 2018 | No comments so far |  |  (83) reads | 

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By Sandun A Jayasekera 

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa led Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) to sweep a majority of the local government bodies in an islandwide winning spree in Saturday’s Local Government polls.   

 

According to the results released by the Elections Secretariat by the time this edition went to press last night, the SLPP had won 239 local government bodies out of 340 with 3, 369 members with an absolute majority by polling 4, 941, 952 votes (44.65%).   
The ruling UNP was a distant second having secured victory in 41 LG bodies with 2, 385 members and 3, 612, 259 votes (32.63%). 


The JVP had voted in 304 members while polling 501,289 votes. The ITAK meanwhile secured power in 34 local government bodies with a representation of 407 members while securing 339, 675 votes followed by the UPFA with 376 members winning 3 local government bodies polling 581,425 votes, the SLFP with 7 LG bodies with 261 members polling 373, 935 votes and the SLMC with 4 LG bodies voting in 20 members securing 27, 416 votes.  


The other main partner of the Yahapalana coalition led by President Maithripala Sirisena with a hopeless showing had been able to win only 12 LG bodies.   


A significant outcome of the election results was that the SLPP had been able to record an absolute majority in most of the LG bodies it won. In a number of LG bodies, the SLPP had polled nearly double or more votes than the second placed UNP.   In a further setback to the UNP, the relatively new SLPP had overrun the traditional UNP vote bases like Ja-ela, Katana, Kadugannawa, Harispattuwa, Kundasale Pradeshiya Sabhas and many more and secured victory in big margins. However, to a great relief to the grand old party, Mrs. Rosy Senanayaka had easily won the Colombo Municipal Council securing 60 wards out of 103 while polling 131,353 votes. The SLPP had polled only 60,087 votes with 23 wards in the new CMC.   


A notable aspect of the massive victory of the SLPP, a surrogate to the Joint Opposition that mainly represents members of the SLFP loyal to Rajapaksa is that it plunged into the fray in less than 14 months of its formation in November 2016 as an affront to the SLFP.   


Nearly 15.8 million voters had been registered to elect 8,356 members to 341 local government bodies in this crucial and decisive election. Election was not held for the Elpitiya PS following a 
court case.   


The nominations were accepted in two stages as a result of a number of civil society activists filing objections to the delimitation report from many parts of the country in the Court of Appeal.   
Consequently, 57,252 candidates from 43 political parties and 222 independent groups were in the fray for 8,356 slots in 4,913 wards located in 24 Municipal Councils, 41 Urban Councils and 276 Pradeshiya Sabhas.   
A total of 15,760,852 voters had been registered and the election secretariat had set up 13,374 polling stations. Those polling stations were used for counting of votes and results were declared at the same place. Interestingly, the voter turn out had exceeded 70% in many districts.   


One of the significant facets of the election propaganda campaign and on election day was the peaceful atmosphere in comparison to previous elections as a result of Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya taking a bold decision to apply the election law to the letter.   


One of the plus factors of the new electoral system was the sharp drop of election related violence and the violation of the election law. The strict restriction of displaying of posters, cut outs, floats and the use of polythene by the Elections Commission had made a big positive impact to reduce election violence. Meanwhile, Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya issuing a communique explaining the delay to release election results as expected on Saturday night said counting had been completed and the Returning Officers had received the results by phone and fax.   


“However the Returning Officers have to verify the results again and therefore, results cannot be released to media until the Returning Officers entered the necessary data, he said and added that despite the postal votes being included in the overall count of Local Government bodies, in several bodies the postal votes have not been handed over to the Returning Officer for the final tally. Therefore the Returning Officers have been vested with the responsibility of verifying the results once again,” Mr. Deshapriya said..   


“This system was developed to update the map and relevant data automatically according to the results coming from local polling stations. But elections commission received the data for the entire ward through a scanned document in hard copy format which cannot be fed to the system. Therefore, please kindly note that the system will not update the information automatically.   


We apologize for the inconvenience.” he added further.