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Chandrika falls short of majority in Lanka

Colombo, April 4
Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s party today won 105 seats in the 225-member parliament to emerge as the single largest group as no party could muster an absolute majority in the general elections, called to resolve political instability.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) came second with 82 seats while the thir place went to proxies of Tamil Tiger guerrillas, who bagged 22 seats, the election commission said.

Ms Kumaratunga’s Freedom Alliance (FA) won 4.22 million votes, or 45.60 per cent of the total votes polled, at an election held under a system of proportional representation, official results showed. Mr Wickremesinghe’s UNP got 3.5 million votes or 37.83 per cent of the votes.

No party managed to cross the magic number of 113 needed to enjoy an absolute majority in the 225-member legislature, pointing to either a minority government or a shaky coalition.

Election officials said the FA would have to prove its majority on the floor of the House on April 22, after Ms Kumaratunga chose a member of parliament from her group to be Prime Minister.

Party officials said the FA had begun holding talks with smaller parties, which could swing the balance for the President’s party.

Although the UNP took a trouncing in the poll, it could join hands with smaller groups in parliament to pose a serious threat to the life-span of a minority government. — PTI

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