Rajapaksas secure big win | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 08, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 08, 2020

Sri Lanka Parliamentary election

Rajapaksas secure big win

Sri Lanka's ruling Rajapaksa brothers secured a two-thirds majority in a parliamentary election that will allow them to rewrite the constitution and increase their power, final results showed yesterday.

The United States, which had been highly critical of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's previous administration, immediately called on the new government to respect human rights and the rule of law.

Rajapaksa's Sri Lanka Podujana Party won 145 seats in Wednesday's election and can count on at least five allies in the new 225-member legislature, according to Election Commission results.

Officials said Rajapaksa, 74, will be sworn in as premier by his 71-year-old brother Gotabaya, the island nation's president, at a Buddhist temple near the capital tomorrow.

The Rajapakas went into the polls seeking a super majority to carry out a promised roll-back of constitutional changes, including the scrapping of independent institutions running the judiciary, the public services, the police and elections.

Observers say the siblings -- renowned for their ruthless crushing of Tamil separatists to end a decades-old conflict in 2009 -- can now overturn the reforms made by a previous administration.

Despite the international concerns, the no-holds-barred military campaign made the Rajapaksas hugely popular among the country's Sinhalese-Buddhist majority.

And Sri Lanka's strategic position in the Indian Ocean has made it a target of renewed Indian overtures. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Mahinda to congratulate him even before the final results were announced. Rajapaksa said in a tweet that he looked forward to working closely with Modi.


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