Sri Lanka’s ruling alliance suffered a humiliating defeat in the local elections, which is seen as a test of its leadership, as the party of former president Mahinda Rajapakse stood victorious, Al Jazeera reported.
At around 1:30 p.m. local time (19:00 GMT) on Monday, with most results in, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) had won 44.05 per cent of the vote, Al Jazeera reported.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) garnered 31.65 percent while President Maithripala Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) came a distant third with 9.52 per cent of the vote.
Rajapakse’s party won in all regions bar the battled-scarred north and east.
This is the first local elections since the centre-left SLFP and centre-right UNP parties formed a unity government in August 2015, Al Jazeera reported.
The vote affects only the lowest rung of politics but the result is being seen as a stinging rebuke to the ruling coalition.
The alliance between President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe — who teamed up to defeat Rajapakse in a presidential election in 2015 — has frayed as both men have levelled allegations of corruption and backstabbing against the other.
Neither President nor Prime Minister commented on the results.
The UNP had indicated it may further go alone in the next general election which will take place in 2020 as the rift between Wickremesinghe and Sirisena and their supporters deepens.