Sri Lanka’s ruling parties in the unity government suffered a humiliating defeat at the local government elections held on Saturday at the hands of the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).
Although the official results are not completely released yet, the newly formed party, officially led by former minister Prof. G.L. Peiris is said to have secured the victory of over 250 out of the 340 local government bodies.
Colombo Telegraph reported that the United National Party stands second with the coalition of Sri Lanka Freedom Party and United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance a distant third, followed by Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kacchi and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna.
It is said to be the biggest defeat a ruling party has suffered in local government election history.
Following the apparent victory, elated Mahinda Rajapaksa issuing a statement asked his supporters to celebrate the victory peacefully and with restraint.
Rajapaksa has stated that the UNP-SLFP alliance government should table a special bill in Parliament to enable its dissolution and the holding of fresh elections in a context where it has lost the confidence of the people.
Rajapaksa has also stated that since the SLPP has secured the anti-government vote, the Joint Opposition should now be given the Opposition Leader’s post and he said he was ready to accept it. SLPP sources also stated that Rajapaksa had expressed the opinion that he should be reinstated as Chairman of the SLFP.
Meanwhile, President Maithripala Sirisena, whose party (SLFP) suffered a humiliating defeat, is said to have shunned his advisors and had a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.