Poll results: JVP sees red
Nandana Gunathileka and Somawansa Amarasinghe
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
JVP that emerged as the third force in the country’s
political platform following the 2004 general election
has seen a massive erosion in its vote base at the
party polled just 56,384 (2.42%) votes at the Western
Provincial Council (WPC) poll securing three seats in
the council. The party contested the last WPC election
in 2004 on the UPFA ticket and won 23 slots.
JVP received a total of 26,738 votes (4.90%) in the
North Central Province and managed to secure one slot in
the council after having eight members in the previous
council. In the Sabaragamuwa Province the party managed
to poll 19,068 votes (2.23%) to return only two members
to the council, which is a decline from the previous 10
senior JVP source told The Sunday Leader that they were
confidant the current voting trend would see a change
during a general or presidential election. “The JVP has
performed well at the recent provincial council
elections amidst many obstacles apart from the
government’s campaign based on the military victories,”
added that although the party has recorded a decline in
its vote base, it has managed to protect its
JVP does not need positions in councils or parliament to
continue its journey. All other parties that contested
with the government cannot sustain themselves for long.
They will whither once they move out of the UPFA,” he
close look at the party’s performance at recent
elections indicates heavy fluctuations in its vote base.
JVP that started to record an increase in its vote base
from the 1982 presidential election saw its peak at the
2001 general elections where it polled 815,353 votes
party then recorded a drastic decline at the 2002 local
government elections where it managed to poll only
424,760 votes. The JVP at the election won one local
On its own
forming the UPFA, the party contested the general
election under that banner in 2004 till 2006 when it
once again contested an election on its own.
2006 local government election although the JVP managed
to increase its number of votes from that received at
the 2002 local government elections, it managed to win
only one local government authority.
however interesting to look at the JVP’s performance at
elections since it began contesting elections in 1977.
1977 the JVP for the first time fielded candidates at an
election. The party fielded four candidates to contest
from four electorates as independent candidates.
elections, Vijitha Ranaweera contested from Tangalle and
polled 1,234 votes (3.09%), Robert Jayasekera from
Hakmana polled 724 votes (1.74%), K.I.M. Ranatunga from
Horowpathana polled 687 votes (2.76%) and K.H.
Chandrapala from Anuradhapura West polled 797 votes
party next contested the District Development Committee
elections held in 1981 as an independent group and
managed to get 13 members elected to the committees.
JVP’s real entrance to mainstream politics was when the
party’s founding leader Rohana Wijeweera contested the
1982 presidential election and received 273,428 votes
at the 1994 general election that the JVP managed to
secure its first parliamentary seat from the Hambantota
the party’s then General Secretary Somawansa Amarasinghe
was in exile, the party could not contest the election
as the JVP and instead had to contest the election under
the Progressive Front banner with the Flower Vase as its
symbol. At the elections, the JVP managed to poll 90,078
votes to secure a parliamentary seat, which was filled
by Nihal Galappatti.
Galappatti in the same year was nominated as the party’s
presidential candidate. However he withdrew from the
election following PA candidate, Chandrika Kumaratunga’s
promise to abolish the executive presidency.
Although Galappatti announced his decision to withdraw
from the election, he still received 22,752 votes.
JVP that contested the local government elections in
1997 managed to get 101 of its members elected to
several authorities, but did not win any of the local
1999, the party nominated Nandana Gunathileka as its
presidential candidate. Gunathileka who contested as a
common candidate representing the Left parties in the
country polled 344,173 votes (4.08%).
provincial council elections held the same year, 1999,
the JVP received 794,238 votes from seven provinces.
in 1999, that the JVP managed to stamp its mark as a
serious contender at an island wide election. The JVP
strengthened by the results of the 1999 provincial
polls, then contested the 2000 general election.
Although the party’s number of votes saw a slight
decline from the 1999 provincial polls, the party
managed to secure 10 parliamentary seats. The JVP
received 518,774 votes (6%) at the general election in
However, within a short span of one year, at the 2001
general election, the party managed to increase its vote
base to 815,353 votes (9.10%). The JVP secured 15 seats
in parliament at the 2001 general election.
party was unable to hold on to its votes received at the
2001 general election and build on it and recorded a
drop in its vote base in 2002. The party’s vote base
dropped from 815,353 to 424,760 at the local government
elections in 2002. However, the JVP won the
Tissamaharama local government authority for the first
time at the 2002 elections.
2004, the party together with the SLFP formed the UPFA
and contested the general election securing 39
Although the party returned 39 members to the
legislature, the number of votes secured solely by the
JVP was not determined as it contested in an alliance.
2006, there was no clear indication of the JVP’s actual
vote base. In 2006, after parting ways with the UPFA
government they decided to contest the local government
elections on its own.
JVP that topped the UPFA list in a large number of
districts at the 2004 general election suffered a major
setback with their votes almost halved.
JVP however polled more votes than they did at the 2002
local authority election and managed to win only the
Tissamaharama local government authority.
The bottom line is that the JVP since its entrance to
mainstream politics has experienced several lean periods
from time to time, but has managed to successfully
bounce back each time. It would indeed be interesting to
see if the red comrades can make history repeat itself
and be the third force it once was.