UPFA humiliated in Northern Province elections
President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) suffered a humiliating defeat in the Northern Province elections yesterday. The Northern Province had formed the heartland of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who waged a 36 year separatist war against the state until being defeated in 2009.
Rajapaksa will have hoped that his party could win a large number of seats in this first election since the end of the civil war, but instead ITAK, a constituent member of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) former political allies of the LTTE won 30 seats on the 38 seat provincial council.
Rajapaksa had made a number of trips up to the north of the country in the hope that his party could secure a victory but it is clear that the north still wants to have its own homeland. The TNA has stated that it wants an autonomous region within a united Sri Lanka.
Elsewhere the UPFA kept its stranglehold on other provinces. Two other provinces were polling yesterday, the Central Province where the UPFA took 36 of the 58 seats and the North Western Province where they took 34 of the 52 seats.
Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who leads the United National Party will have been disappointed with the results. The UNP always took substantial numbers of Tamil votes in national and provincial elections but were locked out of the Northern Province and failed to take a single seat. The Central province is also traditionally a UNP stronghold.
The UPFA now controls the remaining eight of nine provinces in Sri Lanka.
The results for the three provinces polling yesterday and as published on the Department of Elections website are as follows (only parties winning seats are shown):
Northern Province Results
Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK); 353,595; 78.48 %; 30 seats
United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA); 82,838; 18.38 %; 7 seats
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress; 6,761; 1.50 %; 1 seat.
North Western Province results
United People’s Freedom Alliance; 705,188; 66.43 %; 34 seats
United National Party; 257,011; 24.21 %; 12 seats
Democratic Party; 46,114; 4.34 %; 3 seats
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress; 27,860; 2.62 %; 2 seats
People’s Liberation Front; 19,624; 1.85 %; 1 seat.
Central Province results:
United People’s Freedom Alliance; 716,247; 60.16 %; 36 seats
United National Party; 330,815; 27.79 %; 16 seats
Democratic Party; 45,239; 3.80 %; 2 seats
Ceylon Worker’s Congress (P. Wing); 29,285; 2.46 %; 2 seats
Up-Country People’s Front; 24,913; 2.09 %; 1 seat
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress; 7,788; 1.49 %; 1 seat