Sri Lanka gears for local government elections

Voting underway in LG elections seen as unofficial referendum

Sri Lanka: Local Poll — Former President Rajapaksa proxy heads for landslide

Rajapakse - a member of the majority Sinhalese community - said the election result at the weekend was a referendum on these reforms.

Both President Maithripala Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) are trounced.

Rajapaksa, who lost the 2015 presidential election, said the people want him back because the government is considering a new constitution that would share power with ethnic minority Tamils and sell state assets.

Official election results were being compiled on Sunday night, but estimated figures showed that the SLPP had clinched 45 per cent of the vote as against UNP's 33 per cent.

However, the party informed sources told the India Blooms that majority of young parliamentarians have started an internal campaign to change the leadership of the party with the humiliating loss at the local government polls held yesterday.

Prashan Fernando, CEO at Acuity Stockbrokers, said Sri Lankan financial markets would welcome an outcome that saw the two main parties forming coalitions at the local council level to help ensure political stability. The long-delayed election comes after the councils were dissolved over two years ago after their tenure ended.

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Sirisena says he wants to take charge of the economy, which is now handled by the UNP, and has blamed the prime minister's party for failing to tackle corruption.

At a press conference held today in Colombo he called on the government to declare a General Election to end the present political instability in the country.

It was discussed at length on issues relating to high cost of living, unemployment, curtailing corruption and fraud.

However, it has yet to deliver on these reforms or on promised anti-corruption measures. Under the constitution, Sirisena can not dissolve the parliament until early 2020, while the parliament needs a two-third majority to impeach the president.

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