Sri Lanka's ruling party on Sunday won two provincial council elections, seen as a precursor to an early national poll and an endorsement of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's war against Tamil separatists.
And for the first time since Sri Lanka put a new constitution in place in 1978, the Department of Elections cancelled results due to voting irregularities.
The election board on Sunday said results showed Rajapaksa's United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) had won the Central Province poll with 59.5 percent to the main opposition United National Party's 38.7 percent.
In the North Western provincial poll, the UPFA had garnered almost 60 percent of the seats and was certain to win despite the cancellation of a single polling station's results over allegations of improprieties.
Analysts said that decision boded well for future elections, after decades of polls tainted by vote-rigging and violence.
"It will be a deterrent for the future, hopefully for political parties to observe basic election rules," said Rohan Edirisinghe, an independent political analyst and senior lecturer at Colombo University.
Rajapaksa has seen strong popularity as a result of his government's war against the Tamil Tiger separatists, which has made more progress than any other offensive in the history of the 25-year war.
Last Mod: 15 Şubat 2009, 13:53