Sri Lanka’s strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa staged a political comeback on Friday as his party registered a landslide victory in the twice-postponed general elections, according to the final results released by the elections commission.
The official results declared showed that the Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP) alone had won 145 seats and with its allies have 150 seats, a two thirds majority in the 225-member parliament.
The party led by the prime minister won all but 4 of the 22 electoral districts on offer. The victory margins in the South, dominated by the majority Sinhala community, were in the high 60 per cent mark in most areas. The party polled 6.8 million votes at 59.9 per cent.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first world leaders to congratulate Rajapaksa on the outcome of the elections and said the two sides will work together to further advance all areas of bilateral cooperation and to take their special ties to ever newer heights.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who won the November presidential election on the SLPP ticket, had called a snap election six months ahead of the schedule.
In the parliamentary election, he was seeking 150 seats mandatory to execute constitutional changes in the main to repeal the 19th amendment to the Constitution which had curbed presidential powers while strengthening the role of parliament.