SLPP sweeps polls in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, AUG 6 ( AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 8/6/2020 10:24:37 AM IST

 Early trends in the 2020 General Elections show a massive victory for Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). Of the Postal votes announced so far, the SLPP bagged over 70 percent, while the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) lead by Sajith Premadasa less than 15%. The United National Party (UNP) and Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB) combating for the third place with a single-digit percentage share each, reports Asia Tribune.

The postal votes indicate that the SLPP is far ahead of the rivals, but how far the lead will stretch remains to be seen. However, the SLPP will be in a position to form a strong government with an absolute majority in the 225-member Parliament.
The people of Sri Lanka showed once again their commitment to democracy by casting their votes braving the COVID19 pandemic threat. Chairman of the National Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya announced that the election, conducted amidst COVID-19 pandemic fears, concluded in a peaceful manner, with the voter turnout being 71 percent. “We have to be grateful to the voting public for recording such a high turnout despite corona fears,” he said.
He said considering that the election was delayed by more than three months and various conflicts among some political groups, the voters should be praised for turning up in large numbers and recording a 71 percent turnout.
The election monitoring body -- the People’s Action for a Free and Fair Election (PAFFREL) -- has deployed 5,000 observers across the nation to monitor the election process. 
The election, originally scheduled for April 25, was put off until June 20 as the Covid-19 outbreak hampered the preparations. It was postponed once again and August 5 date was later fixed as the health authorities issued guidelines on holding the poll.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, said his younger brother Gotabaya’s election as president was endorsed by 6.9 million voters last November and that he was confident that the SLPP would get control of the Parliament with a comfortable margin. “We are ready to face economic challenges. We have already faced challenges more severe than these. We commend the people’s enthusiasm to vote in line with health guidelines.”
He said that the President’s program which was approved by 6.9 million people, would be implemented following the formation of the new Cabinet of Ministers.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that the people have endorsed the mandate given to him to implement his manifesto, ‘‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendor’. He added that to achieve this target, he was ready to appoint and work with a new cabinet consisting of competent newly elected MPs. “I am glad to know that all-island voter turnout was nearly 71%. As the first South Asian country to hold general elections amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it reflects the confidence that the people have in our efforts to control this pandemic,” President Rajapaksa tweeted yesterday after conclusion of voting.
“We need a society where social justice can be found anywhere in the society,” he said while speaking at a function held in Kandyan to proclaim the successful completion of the Dalada Perahera, the annual procession of the Sacred Tooth Relic Temple. “We have revealed our vision through the government’s decisions since its assumption of duties. When we develop this country and breed, exemplary citizens, when we secure national and religious co-existence our Sacred Tooth Relic will be immortalized for the generations to come,” he said.
After overcoming a period of instability and uncertainty, now President Rajapaksa will be able to continue with his economic development plans. To supervise the implementation of the plans the Cabinet of Ministers will be appointed shortly. The President and the Prime Minister could now select the most capable Members of Parliament to important ministries dealing with national policies, economic affairs, finance, public enterprise development, and economic planning.
The government could continue to work towards its promise of establishing a new political culture where the opposition parties could play its constructive role in ensuring the government of good governance forgetting their political rivalries.

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