As expected the
Government romped home at the Western Provincial election
virtually steam rolling over the opposition in a poll which is
largely seen as a referendum on the President’s leadership in
the current military success.
That a UPFA victory at the yesterday’s Provincial Election
was a mere formality was plain to even a political novice. What
was not anticipated however was the scale of the victory
achieved by the Government.
We say this because it is the general contention that the
Western Province would not be swayed by the ongoing military
successes being a Province where the urban voter is concentrated
not to mention the country’s economic hub necessarily throwing
up different demographies compared to other provinces.
The UNP too campaigned on the basis that the urban voter hard
pressed by his economic woes would have little interest in the
victorious end to the three decades old war or the unfolding
human drama involving the civilians.
But the near 70% victory achieved by the UPFA has shown that
the people as a whole have rallied behind the Government to
consolidate it’s military victories which is going to have an
impact on the Western Province as well.
In short what was witnessed on Saturday was a spontaneous
response by the voters of the Western Province to follow in the
pattern of all other Provinces that hitherto went to the polls.
What was seen at the WP was the collective chorus of the people
applauding the victories of the armed forces and President’s
Mahinda Rajapaksa’s unwavering commitment to smash the LTTE that
brought so much misery to the country.
From the results of the poll it is clear that the response
was an overwhelming one. It was as if this was the only way the
people could celebrate the military victory. The election was
used as an out let by the people to expresses this spontaneous
joy. There was no politics involved as voters cast their ballot
across party lines. This was seen by the stunning majorities
achieved by the Government.
It is difficult to imagine how the UNP is going to recover
from this debacle. It is plain to all that the tide of
popularity has entrenched itself with the President with no
signs of it diminishing.
That the electorate has given a ringing endorsement to the
Government’s military campaign is also a indication that no
other factor can come into the equation, at least at this
The UNP it must be said badly miscalculated the mood of the
voter in the Western Province in believing that the military
victories would have little impact on this segment of the voter
population. Feeble attempts to reverse the tide by acknowledging
the victories of the forces by party stalwarts on TV talk shows
were but too little too late.
They (the voters) had firmly reposed their trust in the
President’s ability to eliminate the LTTE. As earlier mentioned
in these columns it is the Western province particularly the
Colombo city which had borne the brunt of LTTE attacks such as
suicide strikes and bus bombings.
Now with the near annihilation of the outfit the people in
the Western Province would be able to heave a huge sigh of
relief. They could now go about their business freely and
without fear. The entrepreneurial sections too would see good
prospects for business. This too no doubt cumulatively had a
bearing on yesterday’s results.
The steady erosion of the votes in the UNP bastions was a
clear indication of such a trend.
Where would the grand old party go from here? The simmering
discontent with the party leadership is bound to re-surface with
the number of serial defeats certain to extend with the up
coming elections in the Southern and Uva Provinces.
It is difficult to imagine the party reversing the current
trend in the foreseeable future with the voters firmly behind
By this endorsement the people of the Western Province had
also given the thumbs up to the President’s stand of standing up
to foreign pressure to go for a ceasefire. They would no doubt
have weighed this against the record of the Opposition Leader.
More or less this was a confidence vote on President
Rajapaksa’s unwavering leadership that saw the elimination of
what was once the most ruthless terrorist outfit in the world.
The people of the Western Province bore up with all the
inconveniences of road closures and body checks having faith in
his leadership to rid the country of the one problem that was
setting it back from the road to progress and prosperity.
As the results showed the victory was unprecedented. Never in
the post independent history has such enormous majorities being
recorded by a single party in an election. It shows that the
voters have set their minds beyond their mundane problems and
local issues and cast their ballot on behalf of the nation.
It is hoped the newly elected Provincial Councillors of the
Western Province would take cognisance of this and do their
utmost for the welfare of the WP voters who gave them such a
bonanza on behalf of the President.