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Central & South Asia
Sri Lanka leader gets poll boost
Ruling coalition falls slightly short of two-thirds majority after parliamentary revote.
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2010 06:23 GMT
The victory came after Rajapaksa's re-election in Sri Lanka's presidential poll in January [Reuters]

Sri Lanka's ruling coalition has increased its parliamentary gains but fallen short of the two-thirds majority it sought following a revote in the country's April 8 parliamentary elections.

The United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) party of Mahinda Rajapaksa, the president, secured 144 seats in the 225-member assembly, election officials said on Wednesday.

The final results were announced a day after residents headed to the polls for a revote in two constituencies where violence and allegations of fraud disrupted the April poll.

The country's election department said Rajapaksa had won 10 of the 16 elected seats in the revote and secured 17 more seats out of 29 that are distributed on a proportional representation system.

The victory comes after Rajapaksa was re-elected in the country's presidential poll in January.

His party's closest rival, the United National Party (UNP), won 60 seats in total, results showed.

Simple majority

Another opposition party led by Sarath Fonseka, the defeated presidential candidate and former army chief, received seven seats, with Fonseka himself one of those to be elected.

The UPFA had already secured 117 seats in the April 8 election, allowing the party to form a government with a simple majority.

in depth
  Profile: Sarath Fonseka
  Profile: Mahinda Rajapaksa
  Rajapaksa's minority report
  Inside Story: Sri Lanka's future
  101 East: After the war

But it fell six seats short of its goal to reach a two- thirds majority in order to make constitutional changes.

Though Rajapaksa has not specified the proposed changes to the constitution, opponents have speculated that they may include electoral changes.

The constitution currently prevents him for standing for re-election when his second term ends in 2016.

Sri Lanka's opposition has been weakened and fragmented after the arrest of Fonseka, who split with the president after the government's victory over the separatist Tamil Tigers in the country's north.

Held in military custody on charges of sedition, Fonseka has run his campaign for a parliamentary seat while in detention.

The opposition accuses Rajapaksa of stifling dissent, encouraging cronyism and corruption and trying to establish up a family dynasty, with two of his brothers and a son running for parliament and other relatives occupying senior government posts.

Source:
Agencies
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