Sri Lanka – Local elections

Local elections were held in some areas of Sri Lanka on 8 August. There were two municipal council elections as well as an election for the provincial council in the Uva region.

Recall that President Mahinda Rajapakse, who was elected in 2005, is from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), which is currently a part of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake is also from the SLFP. The main opposition party is the United National Party (UNP), which is part of the United National Front (UNF).

These elections were the first since the effective defeat of the Tamil Tigers by government forces in May.

The results of the Uva provincial council elections are available here. The UPFA had a crushing victory, winning 72% of the vote. The UPFA also won a big victory in 2004, but its vote does seem to be up a lot this time. (For some 2004 details, see here).

The situation in the town council elections was slightly different. In the Vanuviya urban council election the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (Tamil National Alliance) was the largest party, while the Democratic People’s Liberation Front, which is the party of the Tamil Tigers, came second and the UPFA came third. So, this result was seen as surprising, given the Tigers defeat. Results are available here.

In the Jaffna municipal council election, the UPFA came first with over 50% of the vote. The Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (Tamil National Alliance) also did quite well, winning over 38% of the vote. (Results are available here). However, the UPFA’s vote was largely a function of support for the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), a Tamil party, which is part of the ruling coalition, but which has distanced itself from President Rajapakse and the government’s actions against the Tigers.

The bottom line is that in Sinhalese areas support for the UPFA is very strong and the government is well placed to be re-elected. In Tamil areas, the government is trying to ensure that pro-government Tamil parties are successful, but these results show that parties associated with the Tamil Tigers still have some support.

There is a very good overview of the election in Asia Times.


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