Sri Lanka's ruling party wins local council polls
Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) on Sunday defeated the country's main ethnic Tamil party in the elections held for three of the island's nine provinces.
The UPFA coalition has won 21 seats in the 33-member council in the north central province. The main opposition United National Party (UNP) won 11 seats while the remaining one seat was annexed by the Marxist JVP.
In the multi ethnic eastern provincial council, the UPFA has emerged the single largest party winning 14 seats in the 37-member council in the elections held yesterday.
The main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) won 11 seats. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress won 7 seats while the UNP won 4 seats. The ultra Sinhala nationalist National Freedom Front won a solitary seat.
The early returns from the south western provincial council (Sabaragamuva) indicate a comfortable win for the UPFA.
Rajapaksa called snap elections to win public approval of his development agenda and to answer his international critics of his campaign against the LTTE's separatist intent.
Rajapaksa's government was hurt by the March resolution in the UN Human Rights Council. The US moved resolution was adopted with Indian backing bringing to international focus the island's human rights record.