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Sri Lanka vote will help unify the nation: US

[AFP, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 08:08 No Comment]

Sri Lanka’s first peacetime parliamentary polls won in a landslide by the country’s ruling party can pave the way for President Mahinda Rajapakse to unify the nation, a US official said Monday.

"I think one of the noteworthy things about the recent elections was that hardline Sinhalese nationalist parties took a severe beating in these elections," said US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake.

Rajapakse said he saw the overwhelming majority won by his United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) on Saturday as a vote for his economic policies and the crushing of the Tamil Tiger rebels in a military offensive last year.

Blake said he saw the outcome as a "telling and important result, because these particular parties had opposed any kind of power-sharing with the Tamils and with the Muslims.

"The results of these elections really open the way for President Rajapaksa to take important action to unify the country and get it back on a path of growth."

The UPFA secured 117 seats in the 225-member assembly with another 45 seats still to be declared. It is projected to win another 24 to 28 seats when the final tally is announced.

Blake predicted that the ruling party "probably will be able to get a two-thirds majority when all the dust has settled."

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