ECONOMYNEXT – Key ministers of Sri Lanka’s short term UNP-led administration of 2015 dealing with economic policy and investment have been re-elected in the August 17 polls with scoring high on preferential votes.
Prime Minister and Policy Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also party leader scored a record 556,600 preferences from Colombo district. His rival Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was finance and highway minister in his administration scored 424,539 votes in Kurunegala.
Deputy Policy Minister Harsha de Silva scored 114,147 preferences coming third on the UNP Colombo list after Sujeeva Serasinghe, who however lost the polling division he was assigned to the opposition.
"I have registered a huge win," social media savvy de Silva said in a facebook.com post. " This is way beyond my expectations," he added humbly.
Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, whose supporters were gunned down in open daylight came a closed behind Harsha with 111,394.
Investment Minister Kabir Hashim topped the list in his home Kegalle district with 109,030 preferential votes.
Deputy Investment Minister Eran Wickremeratne was elected with 82,737 votes.
"The people of Sri Lanka have spoken," Wickremeratne said in twitter.com message. "The mandate we received to ensure the continuation of good governance was resounding.
"It is in this light that I would like to thank all those who supported and encouraged me throughout the election process. This is a responsibility I do not take lightly," he added on his facebook.com page.
The UNP administration is starting with black mark over a scam in government bond auctions, which critics allege figures among the most sophisticated white collar scams seen in the country, which even relatively educated people find it difficult to understand due to its complexity.
It became the virtually the sole corruption charge levelled against the administration during the campaign and before.
One twitter user estimated that 0.5 to 0.75 million votes could have been lost to the UNP due to the scam.
Another said there were 500,000 good reasons not to take any action on the bondscam, in a reference to the preferences given to UNP leader Wickremesinghe. (Colombo/Aug19/2015)