COLOMBO – Sri Lanka’s powerful Rajapaksa brothers secured a landslide victory in the parliamentary election, giving them nearly the two-thirds majority of seats required to make constitutional changes, according to results released Friday.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is likely to be sworn in the same position by his younger brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, after the vote that could strengthen dynastic rule in the Indian Ocean island nation.
“Sri Lanka People’s Front has secured a resounding victory according to official results released so far,” Gotabaya Rajapaksa said in a Twitter message as results were being released. “It is my belief that that the expectation to have a Parliament that will enable the implementation of my ‘vision for prosperity’ policy will be reality tomorrow,” he said.
The Rajapaksas’ Sri Lanka People’s Front won 145 seats in the 225-member Parliament while its main opponent obtained only 54 seats, the election commission's results showed. A party representing ethnic minority Tamils won 10 seats, and 16 others were split among 12 small parties.
The brothers need 150 seats, or control of two-thirds of seats in Parliament, to be able to change the constitution. At least four small parties collaborate with Rajapaksas' party, so they appear to have mustered that support.
Jehan Perera, an analyst with independent think tank National Peace Council, said while a win for the Rajapaksa brothers was expected the proportion of victory was not.
“I thought there will be an erosion of votes (from the presidential election) and there will be some means of disillusionment at their performance," he said, adding that voters had demonstrated the need for a strong and cohesive government led by strong leaders who could easily work together.
He said they also seemed to have considered security issues because disunity between the president and prime minister of the then-government is blamed for a security let down that led to last year's Easter bomb attacks.