Sri Lanka's ruling party took a clear lead yesterday in early results from parliamentary elections in which the dominant Rajapaksa family hope to strengthen their grip on power. Counting in the island's south showed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's Sri Lanka Podujana Party with 72 percent of the vote. Since the prime minister's younger brother Gotabaya won a presidential election in November, Sri Lankans have largely embraced the family's populist platform. The policy programme emerged from a wave of nationalist sentiment that followed Easter bombings in 2019 by Muslim radicals which killed 279 people. The brothers are viewed as heroes by the country's Sinhalese majority for orchestrating a ruthless military campaign to end a decades-long Tamil separatist war in 2009 under the leadership of Mahinda. Final results were expected late yesterday.