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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 79

Electoral Exposes

[b]Electoral Exposes[/b]

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

[i][b]"And who's to say where
The harvest shall stop?"[/b][/i]
[b]Robert Frost[/b] ([i]Gathering Leaves[/i])

Elections expose. When free and fair, they take the sheen away and reveal the true state of political parties. This is what happened in Sri Lanka on Friday. The results of the Local Government election revealed that Sri Lanka is still a two and a quarter party system. The absolute majority of the voters still back the two main parties, with the JVP as a not very impressive third. Even in the Eastern districts of Ampara and Tricomalee the two main parties fared unexpectedly well. The low turnout is not too remarkable since that is a norm in most local government elections, particularly when they happen soon after national elections.

The LG election is a victory for the UPFA and for President Rajapakse. But it is not an unprecedented victory; ruling parties usually win local government elections when the government is new and the voters still nurse expectations. The UNP won the LG polls handsomely in 1991 and 2001; the PA did so in 1996. It is an electoral trend in Sri Lanka. Still, given the open hostility of Chandrika Bandaranaike (who is also the leader of the SLFP), the President’s ability to steer his party to victory in a three cornered fight is creditable. The results show that Mr. Rajapakse retains his popularity, even if he has not been able to add to it.

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