ECONONYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed confidence of winning the parliamentary polls, and urged supporters to be peaceful.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the elections were free and fair and met the legal and democratic norms, soon after casting his vote in Colombo.
"This was made possible because of the January 08 revolution and we of the United National Front as a contesting group representing a cross section of political parties and civil society and contesting as the UNP is confident of victory," he said.
Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, called upon the people to be peaceful and for state officials to enforce the law.
"I think our victory is very clear," he said.
There was brisk polling in many areas, though most analysts expect the turnout to be less than in the presidential elections in January 08.
The UNP is going to polls after bringing down prices of fuel and some essential items, but with its record dented by a scam in bond markets, which was defended at the highest levels of the administration.
‘Chandadayakaya’, a columnist at The Sunday Times, an English weekly said the scam may cost the green party about half a million votes. Both the scam and the alleged cover up shocked backers of the party.
Analysts say the vote had become almost a referendum on ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa after his surprise entry, which allowed the ruling party to resurrect the record of nepotism and corruption seen during the last regime.