Sri Lanka

Snap Presidential election in doubt after poor Uva results


Published

A snap presidential election in late 2014 or early 2015 now seems in doubt after the ruling United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) did poorly in the Uva provincial election yesterday.

Although the ruling UPFA remains the largest party with an overall majority of 19 seats, that is down from 25 seats in 2009. The percentages show a larger fall than the seat count; in Moneragala, one of two districts in the province the UPFA vote tumbled from 81.32% in 2009 to 58.34% in 2014. Overall the UPFA vote fell from 71.77% in 2009 to 48.79% today.

The main opposition party, the United National Party (UNP) upped their tally from seven seats in 2009 to 13 seats in yesterday’s result. Much of that success was credited to the hard work of the UNPs leader in the province, Hiran Fernando, who gave up his parliamentary seat to fight the election.

The turnout yesterday was 63%.

In two provincial council elections in March this year, the UPFA vote dropped. In the Southern Provincial council, a UPFA heartland, their vote dropped to 58.06% from 67.88% in 2009. In the Western Province, which includes Colombo the commercial capital, their vote dropped to 53.35% from 64.73% in 2009.

Uva is a particularly important province to watch because it is a microcosm of Sri Lanka as a whole. The election yesterday suggests that the ruling UPFA’s hold is weakening. Whether it will be enough to stop a presidential election early next year remains to be seen.

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