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World Briefing / Sri Lanka

Ruling parties win Jaffna election

August 09, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

Sri Lanka's ruling coalition has won the first postwar elections, held near the island's former battlefields. An ethnic Tamil party seen as a front for the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels came in second.

According to state television, President Mahinda Rajapaksa's ruling coalition has won the Jaffna town council, securing 13 of the 23 seats, and the pro-rebel Tamil National Alliance won eight seats.

The Tamil party won the Vavuniya town council, taking five of the 11 seats, and the ruling party won two.

The victory in Jaffna, the heartland of the country's ethnic minority Tamils and birthplace of the insurgency, will give the government a chance to claim it as an endorsement. In the war-battered regions, however, more than 77% of the Jaffna voters stayed away and only half of those eligible in Vavuniya cast ballots.

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