Sri Lankan Voters Support Peace Talks in Local Council Elections
President Rajapakse's United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) won an overwhelming victory, claiming 225 of the 266 local councils. The hawkish Janata Vimukthi Peramuna or People's Liberation Front (PLF) claimed one council seat while the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), a party of fundamentalist, Sinhala Buddhist monks, won none at all.
The JVP and the JHU, coalition partners of the President, have been demanding that Rajapakse make good on an election promise to review a Norwegian-mediated ceasefire. After assuming power in November 2005, Rajapakse has seen it prudent to avoid a return to war with the LTTE. Rajapakse has also opposed his allies’ demand that the government stop the Norwegian government’s role as mediator.
Although Rajapakse needs his allies to retain a working majority in the national parliament, the result of the local elections has strengthened his hand.
Amantha Perera, “Sri Lanka: Nationalists’ Defeat Gives Geneva Talks a Chance,” Inter Press Service News Agency, 3 April 2006.