Sri Lanka’s UPFA political party, headed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, secured an overwhelming mandate at the Local Government Elections 2011, winning 205 local bodies from 234 in which elections were held, according to the government state website.
Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) was second winning twelve Councils, including Mannar Urban Council, Vavuniya PS, Manthai East PS, Trincomalee UC and Naveenthanveli PS.
The UNP won only nine councils, including Kuliyapitiya UC, Gampola UC, Bandarawela MC, Kadugannawa UC and Kalutara UC, according to the government, adding that several Local Authorities in the Gampaha district, including Wattala Mabole UC, Wattala PS and Peliyagoda UC previously held by the UNP have been won by the ruling UPFA. The SLMC has won four local bodies.
The JVP lost its former stronghold of the Tissamaharama Pradeshiya Sabha to the UPFA which was the only JVP controlled council before the loss.
Officials of the Elections Department said that yesterday’s voting was peaceful except for a few minor incidents as polling for the Local Government election closed at 4 p m. Voting commenced at 7.00 am yesterday to elect 3,022 candidates for 234 local government authorities which include three Municipal Councils, 30 Urban Councils and 201 Pradeshiya Sabhas.
Sources said the overall voter turnout was between 50 to 55 percent, according to the government website.
According to the 2009 voters register, 9,813,375 persons were eligible to vote and the total number of postal voters exceeded 321,595. Over 29,000 candidates from the main political parties and the independent groups participated.
The highest voter turnout was reported from Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Hambantota districts which exceeded 60 percent.
The voter turnout in certain divisional secretariats in the Kalutara district surpassed 55 percent by 12 noon yesterday.
Election observers including the People’s Action for Free and Fair Election (PAFFEREL) said the voters in rural areas show more interest in exercising their franchise than the urban voters and in the suburban areas. They added that initially no long queues were seen at the polling stations as in other elections when voting commenced at 7.00 am.
A special security arrangement was in place in and around the polling stations and the Security Forces jointly with the police launched a mobile service covering all areas where the election was held.