Rajapaksa's party expected to win Sri Lanka local government polls

Sri Lanka gears for local government elections

"Unofficial results showed that the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) was leading in nearly all the districts outside the north and the east and was on its way to secure an unassailable 51 percent of the total votes polled", the reported added.

In the first officially declared result coming from the Tamil-minority dominated north, (TNA) won the Manthai east local council in the Mullaitivu district with Prime Minister 's (UNP) coming second.

The alliance has won 272 seats so far and the full results will be known by noon today.

Election monitors said 15,760,867 voters, or some 70 percent of the total eligible voters, cast their votes throughout the country.

G L Pieris, Chairman of the newly set up Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna which is heading for a landslide victory showed that the Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe administration no longer had a mandate and it should step down.

Mr Sirisena faces a sterner challenge from his predecessor Rajapaksa.

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President Sirisena was particularly critical of the UNP in their handling of the economy. Son of former President and Member of Parliament Namal Rajapaksa tweeted that the people have spoken their minds and that they want change.

Meanwhile, the General Secretary of the UNP, Minister Kabir Hashim said that the masses have issued a warning to the UNP through this Local Government election.

Sirisena has targeted the Wickremesinghe's United National Party, dubbing it even more corrupt than the Rajapaksa government of which Sirisena walked out to become the then main opposition challenger.

In order to postpone the polls by a year, the government proposed an amendment to the Constitution to hold elections for all nine provincial councils on a single day.

Another key feature of the election is the 25% quota for women council members.

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