Sri Lankan parliamentary election, 2015

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15th Sri Lankan parliamentary election

← 2010 17 August 2015
15th Sri Lankan Parliament
2020 →

All 225 seats to the Parliament of Sri Lanka
113 seats are needed for a majority
Turnout 77.66%

  First party Second party
  R Wickremasinghe.jpg Maithripala- Russia (portrait).jpg
Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Maithripala Sirisena[a]
Party United National Front for Good Governance United People's Freedom Alliance
Leader since 2015 2015
Leader's seat Colombo District n/a
Last election 60 seats, 29.34%[b] 144 seats, 60.33%
Seats won 106 95
Seat change Increase46 Decrease49
Popular vote 5,098,916 4,732,664
Percentage 45.66% 42.38%
Swing Increase16.32% Decrease17.95%

  Third party Fourth party
  R. Sampanthan.jpg AnuraKumara.jpg
Leader R. Sampanthan Anura Kumara Dissanayaka
Party Tamil National Alliance Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna
Leader since 2001 2014
Leader's seat Trincomalee District Colombo District
Last election 14 seats, 2.90% 4 seats, 5.49%
Seats won 16 6
Seat change Increase2 Increase2
Popular vote 515,963 543,944
Percentage 4.62% 4.87%
Swing Increase1.72% Decrease0.62%

Sri Lankan parliamentary election, 2015 - polling divisions.svg
Polling divisions won by

– UNFGG – UPFA

– TNA

Prime Minister before election

Ranil Wickremesinghe
United National Party

Prime Minister-designate

Ranil Wickremesinghe
United National Front for Good Governance

The 2015 Sri Lankan parliamentary election was held on 17 August 2015, ten months ahead of schedule, to elect 225 members to Sri Lanka's 15th Parliament.[1][2][3][4]

The incumbent United National Party (UNP) led United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) won 106 seats, an increase of 46 since the 2010 election, but failed to secure a majority in Parliament.[5] The main opposition United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) won 95 seats, a decline of 49.[5][6] The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the largest party representing Sri Lankan Tamils, won 16 seats, an increase of two from 2010.[5] The remaining eight seats were won by Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (6), Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (1) and Eelam People's Democratic Party (1).[7] Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, leader of the UNFGG and UNP, was able to form a national government with the support of UPFA MPs loyal to President Maithripala Sirisena.[8][9]

Background[edit]

The last parliamentary election was held in April 2010.[10] The incumbent United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), buoyed by the military defeat of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, won a landslide victory, securing 144 seats in the legislature.[11][12] In September 2010 the UPFA, with the support of some opposition MPs, passed the eighteenth amendment to the constitution, increasing the powers of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, leader of the UPFA, and removing the two term limit on the presidency.[13] The UPFA was also able to impeach the chief justice, allowing Rajapaksa to appoint an ally as chief justice.[14][15][16]

In November 2014 Rajapaksa called a presidential election, two years ahead of schedule, seeking an unprecedented third term.[17][18] In a surprise move Maithripala Sirisena, Rajapaksa's Minister of Health, was put up as the common opposition candidate.[19][20] At the election in January 2015 Sirisena inflicted a shock defeat on Rajapaksa.[21][22][23] Sirisena subsequently formed a government dominated by the opposition United National Party (UNP).[24][25][26] In March 2015 Sirisena formed a national government by appointing ministers from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the main constituent of the UPFA.[27][28]

In his election manifesto Sirisena had promised a 100-day reform program after which parliament would be dissolved on 23 April 2015.[29][30] However, Srisena and his government faced opposition from a large contingent of legislators loyal to Rajapaksa, and, although some reforms, such as the curtailing of presidential powers and re-introducing the two term limit, were introduced by the passing of the nineteenth amendment, others, notably electoral reforms, were not carried out.[31] With electoral reforms stalled and the 100-day reform program falling behind schedule, the UNP started calling for parliamentary elections.[32][33] Sirisena dissolved parliament on 26 June 2015.[34][35][36]

Electoral system[edit]

196 MPs were elected from 22 multi-member electoral districts using the D'Hondt method with an open list, a proportional representation system.[37][38] The remaining 29 seats were allocated to contesting parties and independent groups in proportion to their share of the national vote.[39][40]

Details[edit]

Nominations took place between 6 July 2015 and 13 July 2015.[1] Postal voting took place on 5 August 2015 and 6 August 2015 except for school teachers who cast their postal votes on 3 August 2015.[41][42] The date of the election was set for 17 August 2015.[43][44][45] 15,044,490 Sri Lankans were eligible to vote at the election.[46] 12,314 polling stations and 1,600 counting centres were used.[47][48] Nearly 200,000 state employees and over 70,000 police officers were deployed on election duties.[49][50]

The new parliament is expected to meet on 1 September 2015.[31][51]

Contesting parties[edit]

A total of 6,151 candidates from 21 registered political parties (3,653) and 201 independent groups (2,498) compteted for the 196 district seats.[52][53][54] The nominations of 12 registered political parties and 24 independent groups were rejected.[55] The UPFA, United National Front for Good Governance and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) contested in all 22 electoral districts.[52]

United People's Freedom Alliance[edit]

The ruling UPFA suffered a series of defections to the opposition during the 2015 presidential election.[56] After the election the UPFA and its main constituent, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), pledged support for newly elected President Sirisena's reform program.[57][58] Sirisena became chairman/leader of the SLFP on 16 January 2015 and of the UPFA on 14 March 2015.[59][60][61][62] However, large sections of the UPFA/SLFP remained loyal to former President Rajapaksa.[63][64][65] They called for Rajapaksa to be made the UPFA's prime ministerial candidate at the forthcoming parliamentary election.[66][67][68] This alarmed those members of the UPFA/SLPF who had supported Sirisena during the presidential election. They urged Sirisena to prevent Rajapaksa's return to politics but Sirisena remained silent on the matter.[69][70] After the parliamentary election was called it was announced that Rajapaksa would contest but not as the prime ministerial candidate which would be decided after the election.[71][72][73][74] Feeling "betrayed" by Sirisena, his supporters in the UPFA/SLFP allied themselves with the UNP to form the United National Front for Good Governance.[75][76][77]

United National Front for Good Governance[edit]

The UNP had contested past parliamentary elections in alliance with smaller parties representing ethnic minorities but many of these had defected to the UPFA after the election.[78][79] Prior to this election being called the UNP had claimed it would contest the election on its own.[80][81][82] However, after the election had been called it started forming alliances with minority parties including the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA).[83][84][85][86] On 12 July 2015 the UNP, SLMC and TPA signed agreements with the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) and anti-Rajapaksa members of the SLFP to form the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) to contest the election.[87][88][89] The All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) also contested with the UNFGG.[90][91] The UNFGG is believed to have had the tacit support of President Sirisena but officially he has pledged to be neutral.[92][93][94]

The UNFGG had originally been established by the renaming of the JHU after it left the UPFA.[95][96][97] It was registered as a political party with the diamond symbol.[98][99] Despite this the UNFGG contested the election under the name and elephant symbol of the UNP.[100][101] UNFGG general-secretary Champika Ranawaka has stated that the JHU name and its conch symbol will be revived after the election.[102]

Other parties[edit]

The Tamil National Alliance, the largest party representing the Sri Lankan Tamils, contested in the five electoral districts in the north and east and was aiming to win 20 seats.[103][104] The JVP, which had contested the two previous parliamentary elections in alliances, contested this election on its own.[105] Sarath Fonseka's Democratic Party contested in all but three electoral districts.[106]

The SLMC, despite being a member of the UNFGG, contested on its own in two electoral districts.[107][108] Similarly, the ACMC contested on its own in one electoral district.[109] The Ceylon Workers' Congress, a member of the UPFA, contested on its own in three electoral districts.[110]

The Sinhalese Buddhist nationalist Bodu Bala Sena allied with the United Lanka Great Council (Eksath Lanka Maha Sabha) to contest as the Buddhist People's Front (Bodu Jana Peramuna) in 16 electoral districts.[111][112]

Violence and violations of election laws[edit]

Thushara Devalegama, a UNP supporter, was attacked and killed by an unidentified group on 29 June 2015 in Nivithigala, Ratnapura District.[113][114] Two people (Siththi Maheema and Bulathsinghalalage Niroshan Sampath) were killed and around dozen others injured when gunmen arriving in two vehicles opened fire into a crowd attending an election rally for UNP candidate Ravi Karunanayake at Kotahena on 31 July 2015.[115][116][117][118] According to the police the incident was a clash between rival underworld gangs.[119][120] Jamaldeen Ameer, a supporter of UNFGG candidate Ali Ameer, was shot dead by two gunmen in Oddamavadi, Valaichchenai on 15 August 2015.[121][122]

Election monitors received 1,500 complaints of assaults, misuse of state resources and other violations of election laws and over 700 were arrested for election-related offences.[123]

Results[edit]

The UNFGG became the largest group in Parliament after securing 45.66% of votes and 106 seats whilst the UPFA won 42.38% of votes and 95 seats.[124][125] Rajapaksa quickly conceded defeat in his attempt to become Prime Minister.[126][127]

The result left the UNFGG seven seats short of a majority in Parliament.[128][129] However, on 20 August 2015 the central committee of the SLFP agreed to form a national government with the UNP for two years.[130][131] Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Prime Minister on 21 August 2015.[132][133] Immediately afterwards a memorandum of understanding to work together in Parliament was signed by acting SLFP general secretary Duminda Dissanayake and UNP general secretary Kabir Hashim.[134][135]

National[edit]

Winners of electoral districts
e • d Summary of the 2015 Sri Lankan parliamentary election[136][137]
Alliances and parties Votes % Seats
District National Total
  United National Front for Good Governance[c] 5,098,916 45.66% 93 13 106
  United People's Freedom Alliance 4,732,664 42.38% 83 12 95
  Tamil National Alliance[i] 515,963 4.62% 14 2 16
  Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna 543,944 4.87% 4 2 6
  Sri Lanka Muslim Congress[e] 44,193 0.40% 1 0 1
  Eelam People's Democratic Party 33,481 0.30% 1 0 1
  Independents 42,828 0.38% 0 0 0
  All Ceylon Makkal Congress[d] 33,102 0.30% 0 0 0
  Democratic Party 28,587 0.26% 0 0 0
Buddhist People's Front 20,377 0.18% 0 0 0
  Tamil National People's Front[j] 18,644 0.17% 0 0 0
  Ceylon Workers' Congress[f] 17,107 0.15% 0 0 0
  Frontline Socialist Party 7,349 0.07% 0 0 0
United People's Party 5,353 0.05% 0 0 0
Others 24,467 0.22% 0 0 0
Valid Votes 11,166,975 100.00% 196 29 225
Rejected Votes 517,123
Total Polled 11,684,098
Registered Electors 15,044,490
Turnout 77.66%

District[edit]

Districts won by UNFGG
Districts won by UPFA
Districts won by TNA


e • d District results for the 2015 Sri Lankan parliamentary election[138][139]
Electoral
District
Province UNFGG UPFA TNA JVP Others Total Turnout
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats Votes % Seats Votes % Seats Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
Ampara Eastern 151,013 46.30% 4 89,334 27.39% 2 45,421 13.92% 1 5,391 1.65% 0 35,036 10.74% 0 326,195 100.00% 7 73.99%
Anuradhapura North Central 213,072 44.82% 4 229,856 48.35% 5 - - - 28,701 6.04% 0 3,754 0.79% 0 475,383 100.00% 9 79.13%
Badulla Uva 258,844 54.76% 5 179,459 37.97% 3 - - - 21,445 4.54% 0 12,934 2.74% 0 472,682 100.00% 8 80.07%
Batticaloa Eastern 32,359 13.55% 1 32,232 13.49% 0 127,185 53.25% 3 81 0.03% 0 46,989 19.67% 1 238,846 100.00% 5 69.11%
Colombo Western 640,743 53.00% 11 474,063 39.21% 7 - - - 81,391 6.73% 1 12,702 1.05% 0 1,208,899 100.00% 19 78.93%
Galle Southern 265,180 42.48% 4 312,518 50.07% 6 - - - 37,778 6.05% 0 8,735 1.40% 0 624,211 100.00% 10 78.00%
Gampaha Western 577,004 47.13% 9 549,958 44.92% 8 - - - 87,880 7.18% 1 9,559 0.78% 0 1,224,401 100.00% 18 78.21%
Hambantota Southern 130,433 35.65% 2 196,980 53.84% 4 - - - 36,527 9.98% 1 1,889 0.52% 0 365,829 100.00% 7 81.20%
Jaffna Northern 20,025 6.67% 1 17,309 5.76% 0 207,577 69.12% 5 247 0.08% 0 55,151 18.36% 1 300,309 100.00% 7 61.56%
Kalutara Western 310,234 44.47% 4 338,801 48.56% 5 - - - 38,475 5.52% 1 10,125 1.45% 0 697,635 100.00% 10 80.13%
Kandy Central 440,761 55.57% 7 309,152 38.98% 5 - - - 30,669 3.87% 0 12,518 1.58% 0 793,100 100.00% 12 79.13%
Kegalle Sabaragamuwa 247,467 49.52% 5 227,208 45.47% 4 - - - 18,184 3.64% 0 6,835 1.37% 0 499,694 100.00% 9 79.81%
Kurunegala North Western 441,275 45.85% 7 474,124 49.26% 8 - - - 41,077 4.27% 0 5,947 0.62% 0 962,423 100.00% 15 79.63%
Matale Central 138,241 49.84% 3 126,315 45.54% 2 - - - 10,947 3.95% 0 1,877 0.68% 0 277,380 100.00% 5 78.73%
Matara Southern 186,675 39.08% 3 250,505 52.44% 5 - - - 35,270 7.38% 0 5,267 1.10% 0 477,717 100.00% 8 78.61%
Monaragala Uva 110,372 41.97% 2 138,136 52.53% 3 - - - 13,626 5.18% 0 854 0.32% 0 262,988 100.00% 5 80.13%
Nuwara Eliya Central 228,920 59.01% 5 147,348 37.98% 3 - - - 5,590 1.44% 0 6,088 1.57% 0 387,946 100.00% 8 78.77%
Polonnaruwa North Central 118,845 50.26% 3 103,172 43.63% 2 - - - 13,497 5.71% 0 948 0.40% 0 236,462 100.00% 5 79.81%
Puttalam North Western 180,185 50.40% 5 153,130 42.83% 3 - - - 12,211 3.42% 0 11,982 3.35% 0 357,508 100.00% 8 68.83%
Ratnapura Sabaragamuwa 284,117 44.94% 5 323,636 51.19% 6 - - - 21,525 3.40% 0 2,918 0.46% 0 632,196 100.00% 11 80.88%
Trincomalee Eastern 83,638 46.36% 2 38,463 21.32% 1 45,894 25.44% 1 2,556 1.42% 0 9,845 5.46% 0 180,396 100.00% 4 74.34%
Vanni Northern 39,513 23.98% 1 20,965 12.72% 1 89,886 54.55% 4 876 0.53% 0 13,535 8.21% 0 164,775 100.00% 6 71.89%
National List 13 12 2 2 0 29
Total 5,098,916 45.66% 106 4,732,664 42.38% 95 515,963 4.62% 16 543,944 4.87% 6 275,488 2.47% 2 11,166,975 100.00% 225 74.23%

Elected members[edit]

International reaction[edit]

Supranational bodies
  •  United Nations – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson issued a statement on 18 August 2015 applauding the Sri Lankan people "for their peaceful and broad-based participation in the parliamentary elections" and encouraging the new government to "make further progress on good governance, accountability and reconciliation".[140][141][142]
  •  European Union – The European External Action Service spokesperson issued a statement on 19 August 2015 stating that the election was "genuine, well administered and peaceful" and saying that the new government needed prioritise "good governance, human rights and the rule of law as well as the crucial tasks of accountability and genuine national reconciliation".[143][144]
Nations
  •  Australia – Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop issued a statement on 21 August 2015 congratulating Wickremesinghe, saying she looked forward to working with the new government "to further develop our strong bilateral relationship" and supporting Sri Lanka on national reconciliation.[145][146]
  •  China – Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying congratulated Wickremesinghe on 19 August 2015, saying China was "ready to work with Sri Lanka to consolidate the traditional friendship, strengthen mutually-beneficial cooperation, and elevate China-Sri Lanka strategic cooperation partnership to a new level".[147][148]
  •  France – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development issued a statement on 20 August 2015 welcoming the smooth running of the election, characterising it as "one more step forward towards strengthening democracy" and saying that hopefully this would support human rights and inter-community reconciliation.[149][150]
  •  India – Prime Minister Narendra Modi telephoned Wickremesinghe on 18 August 2015 to congratulate him and the Sri Lankan people for the "peaceful conduct of polls".[151][152][153]
  •  Japan – Prime Minister Shinzō Abe sent a congratulatory message to Wickremesinghe "following a free and democratic Parliamentary election".[154][155]
  •    Nepal – Prime Minister Sushil Koirala sent a congratulatory message Wickremesinghe and expressed his desire to work closely with his Sri Lankan counterpart to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries.[156][157]
  •  Singapore – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sent a congratulatory letter to Wickremesinghe adding that "Singapore has consistently supported national reconciliation, peace and progress in Sri Lanka".[158][159]
  •  South Korea – Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn sent a congratulatory message to Wickremesinghe saying that the election result "reflects the desire and willingness of the people of Sri Lanka to strengthen democracy and restore good governance" and that "democracy in Sri Lanka is making significant progress".[160]
  •  United Kingdom – Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond issued a statement on 21 August 2015 congratulating Wickremesinghe, crediting the Sri Lankan people for the way the election was run and offering UK support for achieving "reconciliation and a lasting peace".[161][162]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ President Sirisena is the nominal leader of the UPFA. Most leading members of the alliance remain loyal to former President Rajapaksa.
  2. ^ Represents seats won by the now defunct United National Front (UNF) at the 2010 parliamentary election. The UNFGG consists of most of the members of the UNF in 2010 (Democratic People's Front, National Union of Workers, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and United National Party) and some the members of the UPFA in 2010 (All Ceylon Makkal Congress, Jathika Hela Urumaya, United Left Front and Up-Country People's Front).
  3. ^ The UNFGG contested under the name and symbol of UNP.
  4. ^ a b The ACMC contested separately in one district (Ampara) and with the UNFGG in other districts.
  5. ^ a b The SLMC contested separately in two districts (Batticaloa and Vanni) and with the UNFGG in other districts.
  6. ^ a b The CWC contested separately in three districts (Badulla, Kandy and Kegalle) and with the UPFA in other districts.
  7. ^ The CF contested separately in two districts (Nuwara Eliya and Vanni) and with the UPFA in other districts.
  8. ^ The LP contested separately in four districts (Colombo, Galle, Kurunegala and Matara) and with the UPFA in other districts.
  9. ^ The TNA contested under the name and symbol of ITAK.
  10. ^ The TNPF contested under the name and symbol of ACTC.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]