Sri Lanka ruling alliance faces humiliation at local elections

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Reports coming in from all corners of the island, indicate that the Sri Lanka PodujanaPeramuna is heading for a historic victory at the local government elections.

"(MENAFN - Colombo Gazette) /wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Sri-Lanka-Podujana-Peramuna.jpg" The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says it is expected to win the Local Government (LG) elections based on results counted so far.

Both President Maithripala Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) are trounced.

Voting for the local government elections was the first to be conducted by the newly-established independent Election Commission as well as the police under the Independent Police Commission. The long-delayed election comes after the councils were dissolved over two years ago after their tenure ended.

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"If campaign rhetoric became particularly hostile, it would foment trouble for the coalition at the national level", Shailesh Kumar, director with political risk consultants Eurasia Group told Reuters.

At a press briefing this morning, the leader of the Joint Opposition, Dinesh Gunawardane said the unity government had "no option but to resign", arguing the mandate given to it by the 2015 election had expired yesterday.

Rajapaksa, a legislator in the opposition benches, commands the backing of 54 legislators who have defected from Sirisena's party.

Neither President nor Prime Minister commented on the results.

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The government has promised a new constitution that devolves power and also to facilitate an worldwide probe into alleged war crimes committed in the final phase of a 26-year civil war that ended in 2009, and post-war reconciliation.

If the UNP is to face an election in the future, the UNP leadership should be changed, the minister said.

The president and his supporters have opposed or neutralised numerous UNP reforms. Under the constitution, Sirisena can not dissolve the parliament until early 2020.

The Minister said a decision will be taken on whether to stay in the government at that meeting.

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A close aide of the former president said even he was shocked by the results.

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