UNF's local polls victory endorses cease-fire agreement
[TamilNet, Thursday, 21 March 2002, 13:22 GMT]
The ruling United National Front (UNF) swept the local government elections held Wednesday, routing the People's Alliance (PA) led by President Chandrika Kumaratunge. The UNF won 218 of the 222 local bodies, including 14 municipal councils and 25 urban councils. The Sinhala nationalist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna, which hinged its election campaign on denouncing the peace deal the UNF made with the Liberation Tigers as an insidious conspiracy against the Sinhala people got an ignominious drubbing with only one local body to show in the southern Hambantota district.
The UNF Deputy Leader and Minister Mr.Karu Jayasuriya hailed the victory of his party as "an endorsement of the peace efforts and the cease-fire agreement signed by the Prime Minister and the LTTE leader last month."
This is the first election faced by the UNF since it was elected to power in December last year.
The PA won an urban council and three Pradheshiya Sabhas. The UNF won 180 Pradhesiya Sabhas.
Elections to the Colombo Municipal Council and the local bodies in the northeastern province have been postponed. However, the Commissioner of Elections, Mr.Dayananda Dissanayaka, Wednesday night said the members to the Eravur Town Pradhesiya Sabha (PS) and the Porathivu PS in the Batticaloa district would be returned uncontested.
The UNF captured local councils in the Attanagalle electorate, which is the home constituency of President Chandrika Kumaratunge.
Two hundred and twenty two local government institutions in the Sinhala dominated provinces went to polls on Tuesday amidst tight security and accusations by the main opposition People's Alliance that ruling party was intimidating voters and engaging in election malpractice.
The President Chandrika Kumaratunge summoned an emergency meeting of her party district organizers to review the election results, which has put her party in a critical position in the present political climate.
The PA' spokesman and a former Minister Mr.Sarath Amunugama said that the minority communities in the seven provinces had voted in large number to the ruling UNF. Because of the minority votes the UNF obtained a thumping majority in the plantation areas. "However we are not discouraged by the verdict of the people," said Mr.Amunugama.