11th April, 2004  Volume 10, Issue 39

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UPFA nightmare over
'wait and see' policy of donors

By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema 

The implementation of the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government's economic policy as stated in their Rata Perata manifesto is now in question, as multinational donor agencies have aired serious concerns over the UPFA's proposed economic thrust.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Country Head, Jeremy Carter, "the UPFA government cannot do everything stated in their manifesto."

Carter pointed out that any new government that assumes power should decide on its priorities, adding that they should also consider previous commitments, promises and the situation in reality in doing so. Till then, the IMF would "wait and see."

The UPFA's sunshine manifesto carried pledges that the masses wanted to hear, but the feasibility of its deliverance is another question. The million-dollar question at this point is from where would the government find the necessary funds to implement its pledges? With it arises questions as to how the government plans to increase revenue and operate without running a large deficit.

In its manifesto, apart from spelling out a new economic order for a strong national economy, it has also stated a set of immediate relief measures that would help the masses. This, the party has promised to implement within in six months. The pledges include concessions for public and private sector employees in constructing new houses and security of employment for home guards, etc., along with guarantees to address the issue of salary anomalies of the armed forces and police personnel coupled with enhanced welfare benifits.

Under relief to cultivators, action is to be taken in order to conduct a further survey of unpaid loans to state and private banks by farmers due to loss of crops or unexpected low harvest. It has been pledged to waive off balances on a priority basis taking into consideration their income levels. The reduced fertiliser subsidy is also to be restored and special measures of relief such as seeds and agro-equipment at concessionary rates would be supplied to cultivate crops identified as of national importance. The pledges also include a guaranteed price scheme for paddy and other crops. Tariff concessions are also to be introduced for agricultural implements without harming local production.

Provision of milk for primary school children is also to be implemented.

As for relief for fishermen, solutions have been promised to their problems, particularly for those employed in deep sea fishing - measures to be taken with the assistance of the Indian government that would lead to the introduction of a special relief loan scheme for the purchasing of fishing boats and equipment.

Another notable pledge is the continuance of the Samurdhi programme in accordance with the vision and programme that commenced in 1995. Samurdhi benefits will be granted on a broader identified scale to eligible families.

Prices of certain essential items are also to be cut down according to the manifesto. The prices of infant milk food and medicine,  are to be reduced.

A consumer protectionist programme is to be introduced for essential foods and services.

The pledge that definitely earned votes for the UPFA was the ending of graduate unemployment. According to the manifesto, an urgent programme is to be formulated to solve the problem of graduate unemployment. A national policy ensuring employment after graduation is to be formulated. Employment opportunities for 25,000 graduates are to be provided within three months in a wide range of government services, another pledge that is raising a few eyebrows.

Large deficits

The other important pledge was employment for non graduates, 5,000 school leavers are to be trained as field officers in the agriculture sector, live-stock development and marketing, and in the prevention and control of alcohol, tobacco and drug use. They will also be trained in special welfare programmes for women and children. Another 10,000 school leavers are to be trained as tourist guides under an established scheme. An accelerated skills development programme for 25,000 school leavers will be put in place with the assistance of the private sector, the NDTF and Samurdhi Banks. Such training according to the UPFA would equip them for employment in the private sector.

The pledge to immediately correct salary anomalies in the public service and the promise to initiate corrective actions to solve the problem of prevailing pension anomalies too helped the UPFA to build much confidence among the masses in the run up to the elections.

All these immediate relief measures mentioned in the manifesto are to be implemented within a period not exceeding six months and the question now is how the government plans to fund these projects without running into large deficits that would result in the fluctuation of interest rates in the country coupled with the depreciation of the rupee.

However, in case the government plans to merely borrow money from lending agencies, they would have to think again as the donor agencies are adopting a wait and see attitude and also feel that the government still has to decide on its work programme and prioritise issues.

Strategy not clear

Carter went on to say that the government's commitments are yet not very clear. "The important stage would be to decide on a new strategy," he said. He explained that a country's budget is really about choices and finding means to achieve higher revenue than the previous year.

Carter opined that if a government plans to expedite a recruitment drive and increase salaries of public servants, they should first figure out ways of increasing their revenue. "A government could increase its revenue in several ways and broadening its tax base is one such way," Carter said. Savings and finance is another aspect of increasing revenue. However, Carter noted that in case the government wishes not to engage in the privatisation of public property, it would further lessen the finances the country would have otherwise received. Once the country receives a notably high revenue the next question is how to spend or how much they wish to spend.

The IMF representative also noted that the country couldn't run large deficits, as it would only harm the country's economic framework. "There is no infinite supply of funds and the government has to prioritise its work and make difficult choices," Carter added.

As for the balance US $ 3.5 billion of the US $ 4.5 billion aid package promised at the Tokyo donor conference, Carter said that the grants that were allocated during a period of three to four years would not be affected in any way. He further noted that certain ongoing projects would continue to be funded through the aid money adding that the rest would depend on the peace process.

Apart from the peace process, Carter also said that the funding would also depend on the reforms the government plans to introduce.

Policies

However, the government's stance is that the present policy of relying on committee systems to formulate and implement policies has reduced the efficiency of government due to the lack of ownership and involvement by the implementing agencies. To remedy the situation the UPFA government has pledged to set up a National Council for Economic Development (NCED), which would be a permanent secretariat with the highest level of political authority, in order to formulate and implement national economic policies. The NCED is also expected to promote public-private partnerships in policy formulation and is expected to be a conduit for regular dialogue with the government.

Another notable feature is the UPFA's stance of non-privatisation of public utility institutions including state banks. A new tax policy is also to be implemented in order to minimise the tax burden cast upon the masses at present.

The UPFA government's economic policy shows drastic changes in economic reforms and if the said relief measures are to be implemented, the country's revenue base would have to be increased, and fast.

The World Bank earlier decided to hold back US $ 2.45 million in TA operations before the general elections as it would be difficult for them to proceed with the funding if the Sri Lankan government engages in a major recruitment drive immediately after the elections.

Speaking to The Sunday Leader, ADB Country Head, John Cooney maintained that they would wait for the government to decide on its workload and prioritise them before discussing funding programmes.

According to Financial Analyst Alastair Corea, the government should first decide on sources to fund their pledges without disrupting the other markets in the country.

"Large deficits could damage the country's economy," he said adding that so far the government has not stated clearly how it plans to fund its pledges.

Borrowings

Corea explained that the common assumption would be to borrow money, adding that to increase spending in one area another area would have to receive fewer finances for survival.

Corea opined that the government would in such a situation have to find alternate sources to go about. He also noted that the country runs a fairly high debt ratio with revenue that is also not high. As such, the only solution is to either introduce higher taxation schemes or cut down in other areas of expenditure.

"Running with large deficits would only be disastrous to a country's economy as the interest rates and dollar rates would fluctuate," Corea said.

Speaking to The Sunday Leader, General Secretary, UPFA, Susil Premajayantha said the party is still not in a position to clearly speak of the implementation of the pledges, as they have still not formed the government. "Once the government is formed the pledges will take off ground," he promised.

Implementation

When asked how the party plans to go about implementing its pledges, Premaj- ayantha said that they have already made arrangements to implement them without running large deficits in the country's economy. "First we have to go into the Treasury and have a look at the funds available and then if the funds are not enough we would still go ahead with our plans as we will make necessary arrangements at that time," he said.

Premajayantha noted that there are countries ready to help the government, adding that they could also rely on credit lines like the one the PA had with India.

The UPFA plans to find the necessary sources to finance its pledges through borrowings from other countries among others.

Sri Lanka's economy sailed through in choppy seas  when the country recorded a negative growth rate in 2001, which was minus 1.5 per cent. The per capita income recorded at US $ 865 in 1988 by 2001 was only US $ 826. In 13 years the per capita has dropped by US $ 39. Countries that were lagging behind Sri Lanka made great improvements while Sri Lanka kept experiencing the results of economic mismanagement.

The growth rate that stood at minus 1.5% in 2001 increased to 4% in 2002 and it is now estimated that it had grown even further in 2003 to 5.5%. It was earlier projected that the 2004 growth rate would be 6% and it is yet to be seen whether the country would actually reach that target.

The ongoing peace process increased investor confidence and direct investments, which were US $ 171 million in 2001, increased to US $ 230 in 2002. However, it is estimated that direct investments for 2003 would be US$ 226 million as political instability took center stage during the latter part of the year. Interest rates too were doing well and the 12.6% recorded in 2001 was reduced to 9.8% in 2002 and it is estimated that it had gone down even further to 7.5% in 2003. As for total official reserves, in 2001 it was US $ 1289 million, US $ 1705 million in 2002 and in 2003, it was US $ 2178.4 million.


Representation in parliament 

By Jamila Najmuddin 

As the dust finally settles on the elections, the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) emerged victorious by securing the highest number of seats at the 2004 general election whereas the UNP, with 70 seats emerged as the single largest political party.

Although winning a total of 105 seats and victorious, it is largely what is dubbed a JVP victory than a PA victory, with the JVP itself securing 41 seats.

When it came to preference votes too, the JVP candidates did the party proud with Wimal Weerawansa receiving the second highest number of preferential votes of 237,185 in the Colombo District and also becoming the candidate with the second highest preferences.

The third highest preferences were also polled by a JVP candidate - Wijitha Herath who received 215,540 from the Gampaha District beating UNP's Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya and UPFA's Anura Bandaranaike.

Former Prime Minister and Leader, United National Front (UNF), Ranil Wickremesinghe received the highest number at the 2004 election, polling 329,524 preferential votes.

The UNF received a total of 82 seats including 11 national list slots and emerged victorious in the Badulla, Colombo, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya Districts whereas all other districts barring Wanni and Jaffna Districts in the Northern Province were secured by the UPFA.

In Colombo, the UNF received nine seats while the JVP captured three and the PA received five. The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) won three slots.

In Gampaha, the PA won six seats while the JVP captured three. The UNF received a total of six while the JHU received two.

In Kalutara, JVP received two seats with the PA winning four. The UNF captured three and the JHU one.

In Kandy, the UNF captured five seats, JVP captured two, the PA received three while the JHU and the SLMC secured one each.

In Matale, the PA captured four seats while the JVP won one seat. The UNF won two seats.

In Nuwara Eliya, the JVP, PA, UNF and the Upcountry People's Front (UPF) captured one seat each. The Ceylon Worker's Congress (CWC) won three - the highest number of seats secured by a party in Nuwara Eliya.

In the south, the UPFA emerged extremely strong - largely due to the JVP's strong base that swung opinion. In Galle, the JVP and PA received three seats each while the UNF received only four.

In Matara, the JVP received two while the PA captured three. The UNF also won three seats.

In Hambantota - the district where the JVP is strongest - the Marxist party received two seats, the PA three while the defeated UNF managed to secure two slots.

In the Northern Province, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) held sway with most other political parties being reduced to insignificance. The TNA recorded a resounding victory by securing eight seats in the Jaffna District while the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) captured only one seat.

In Wanni, the TNA emerged victorious again by securing five seats. The UNF too managed a single seat.

In Batticaloa, the TNA captured four seats while the SLMC received one.

In Digamadulla, the JVP captured one seat while the PA received two. The SLMC received two seats in its home base while the TNA and UNF captured one each.

In Trincomalee, the TNA captured two seats while the JVP and SLMC captured one each.

In the Wayamba Province, representation was equally divided. In Kurunegala, the PA managed six seats while the JVP captured three. The UNF captured seven seats.

In Puttalam, the PA captured three seats while the JVP two. The UNP won three seats.

In Anuradhapura, the PA received two seats whereas the JVP and the UNP secured three seats respectively.

In Polonnaruwa, the PA and UNF both captured two seats each while the JVP received one.

In the Uva Province too, it is the JVP that dominated the UPFA. In Badulla, the PA received two seats while the JVP secured one. The UNF emerged victorious with five seats.

In Moneragala, the PA and UNF received two seats each with the JVP receiving only one seat.

In Sabaragamuwa too, the UPFA's victory was crowned by the JVP's performance.

In the Ratnapura District, the PA and UNF received four seats each with the JVP capturing two. In Kegalle, the UNF secured four seats while the PA received three and the JVP two.


Shorter life span for minority govt.'s 

By Wilson Gnanadass 

Minority governments in parliamentary democracies are conventionally considered to be unstable and ineffective aberrations from the principle of majority rule.

The parliamentary election that just concluded has brought about a situation in Sri Lanka where no single party could command a clear majority in parliament. Today, for the second time in the history of Sri Lankan politics President Chandrika Kumaratunga swears in a minority government. The first time Sri Lanka saw a minority government was in 1960 that collapsed just after three months.

In July 1960, the then Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake assumed office with fewer seats than his opponents from the United Left Front (ULF).

At the time of electing a new Speaker the UNP proposed Albert F. Peiris from Naththandiya, who was twice Speaker of parliament previously. But the combined opposition proposed veteran Marxist T. B. Subasinghe's name for this post.

The UNP, given its first opportunity, failed to succeed in exercising its powers. The party was defeated for the first time in the election of Speaker.

Then subsequently the throne speech delivered by the then Governor General Oliver Gunethilake was also defeated and it was Senanayake's turn to decide what should be done.

Senanayake a true democrat recommended to the Governor General that parliament should be dissolved and a fresh election called for. Accordingly, parliament was dissolved after just three months of its existence and a fresh election was conducted. The ULF led by the late Sirimavo Bandaranaike won the election and assumed power. But after five years the same Dudley Senanayake again defeated the ULF in 1965.

Not exceptional

Through analysis of over 350 postwar governments, political analysts show that minority governments are neither exceptional nor unstable, but in fact a common feature of parliamentary democracies and frequently perform as well as, or better than, majority coalitions.

Serious questions are posed as to whether the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) could survive heading a minority government.

According to former Parliamentary Affairs Minister A. H. M. Azwer, no minority government could survive for a long time. He says if a money bill is presented to parliament and if it is defeated, the Executive President must call the opposition leader and request for the formation of a new government.

"It was in the good old days we had people like Senanayake who had the courage to walk up to the Governor General to recommend dissolution on the basis he lacks the majority. But nowadays politics of Sri Lanka is deeply rooted in intra-party rivalry and personal ambition of politicians. So it is unlikely that we could expect a repetition of what Dudley Senanayake did those days," he said.

Meanwhile, SLMC General Secretary, Hassan Ali says any minority government could weaken the very fabric of a nation. He says he doubts whether the UPFA government could go on for another six months without any hiccups.

Coalitions and alliances

However, many criticise minority governments by presenting the argument that they create deadlock within government and prevent changes. Others however, they view minority governments as beneficial for creating a more diverse government that reflects more than one viewpoint.

To deal with a situation where no clear majority appears, parties either form a coalition government, ad-hoc alliances or come to loose agreements with other parties to stay in office.

A common situation is governance with 'jumping majorities,' i.e. that the cabinet stays as long as it can negotiate support from parliament majorities which well may be differently formed from issue to issue, from bill to bill.

An alternative arrangement is a looser alliance of parties, exemplified by Sweden. There, the long governing Social-Democrats have governed with more or, mostly, less formal support from other parties; in the mid 20th century from Agrarians, after 1968 from Communists, and more recently from Greens and ex-Communists, and have thus been able to retain executive power and (in practice) legislative initiative. This is also common in Canada where parties can rarely cooperate enough to form a coalition, but will have loose agreements.

Occasionally, these agreements may be more formal while still falling short of creating a coalition government. In the Canadian province of Ontario the Ontario Liberal Party formed a minority government from 1985 to 1987 on the basis of a formal accord with the Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP) in which the NDP agreed to support the Liberals for two years and for that period vote with the government against motions of no confidence and vote with the government on budgetary legislation in exchange for the passage of certain legislation and other measures proposed by the NDP. The NDP, however, remained an opposition party and did not take seats in the cabinet so this was not a coalition government. This is also one example of how a party that does not have the greatest number of seats can form a minority government with the support of smaller parties as the Liberals had several fewer seats than the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.

Westminster system

Under the Westminster system's first past the post electoral system, with only one elected representative per constituency, minority cabinets are rare. This is because the riding system heavily biases the vote towards increasing the number of seats of the top parties and reducing the seats of smaller parties. A party with less than 40 per cent of the popular vote can often win an outright majority of the seats. Nations like Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom are thus usually governed by parties that control over half of the seats in their legislature.

In a minority situation the head of the largest party is still asked to form a government. They must then either form a coalition with one or more existing parties, or they must win enough support from the other parties or independents to avoid no-confidence motions. Because of no-confidence motions minority governments are inherently shortlived and frequently fall before their terms expire. The leader of a minority government will also often call an election in the hope of winning a stronger mandate from the electorate. In Canada, for instance, most minority governments last less than two years.

Proportional representation

Minority governments are more common in countries using proportional representation systems, where it seldom occurs that one single party wins a majority of their own. For instance under Israel's purely proportional system between 1949 and 1992 no one party ever controlled a majority of the seats. These countries are thus usually ruled either by coalitions of parties, or by minority cabinets. Countries in Continental Europe and Israel all have proportional representation and rarely have a single party that controls a majority of the parliament.


Hung like a horse

By Henry Holdenbottle 

Darling Chandi girl,

Gadzooks my dear self-appointed-mother-of-the-nation, did you ever think the reds would wipe you out like a lipstick smear, when you decided to go to the polls? Methinks you might have miscalculated the numbers a tad. But then who hadn't. Ranil poor darling, was reeling like a demented top. Turning like an inebriated moth. Twirling like a whirling dervish in heat. Nevertheless, we must give the chappie a modicum of credit. At least the greens still stuck on to more seats than you blue chaps could. What I always say is, if you play musical chairs to the tune of the bally working classes, be prepared to have the putuwa pulled away from under you. And this is precisely what has happened to the chair. The leaf has beetled all over it. Of course almost everybody knows that the betel leaf is carcinogenous and serves humanity best when spat out of the system. But obviously you were not in the know. Then again your PhD was in international relations not medicine. So how could you know?

Passing lightly over your ignorance for the nonce, how about the audacity of these low  JVP proletariat types? Even defeated your Mallo in your own seat of power in Gampaha. That's the trouble with the bally martyred proletariat darling, they seem to want so much. Give them an inch, or two-point-five centimetres if you prefer, and they take a mile, or one-point-six kilometres if you like. For two  years you were accustomed to a laid back sort of bloke who when given a mile was loath even to take a millimetre. So I can imagine your sense of complaisance when dealing with the red poops of the bally nincom variety. And the upshot of it all? A bunch of upstarts in parliament.

That's what.   From all accounts however, upstarts though they may be, the chaps are having no end of trouble with starting anything. Rightly or wrongly, a goodish chunk of the misguided masses voted for the red chaps and got 39 of them into the house. In fact one or two or may be even three Colombo seven aunties dripping with diamonds and boredom, voted Wimal in as the preferred stock. This show of preference does not seem to have yet injected the incompetent upstart with any courage. Running scared. That's what they are. 

Think about it. A posse of pock marked picketers who have spent their adult lives not to mention their impressionable childhood years, gulping kasippu, shouting rude slogans and striking, will now find it hard to take responsibility for the country and do a job of work. As you are always finding out dear, running a country is not about winning an election. Now that Weerawansa and Goonetilake are coyly fluttering their eyelids, rubbing their respective left toes against their right ankles and refusing like two blushing schoolgirls from Dompe Maha Vidyalaya, to take any ministries, we are having, as an American intelligence expert might say, a 'situation.'

Red in the cheek the fellows are nominating unknown JVP members to take over the many ministries they are wanting. I mean to say, darling if you have any power over them at all (I doubt you do), you should advise them that they can't come on to the cricket field, win the toss, and then suddenly decide to send in their second eleven. Some of the people in paradise, (those very people who can be fooled some of the time), may have voted the poops in. Having wiggled themselves in, they cannot shirk their duty towards their voters, by being fugitives from responsibility and preferring to stay on the sidelines with a microphone to criticise and shout slogans. We understand that slogan shouting and picketing is their level of competency but hey, they asked for the vote! Now take the bally half-witted mandate and run the bally country. I have to say darling if it was Arjuna who had asked for a runner I could have expected as much without batting an eyelid. But Wimal looks as fit as a fiddle. Let's hope he doesn't do with the fiddle what Nero did or worse still what many seem to do at band camp.

Now that a large serving of the sods have been dumped into the House by the Diyawanna Oya to mingle freely with the hakgedi types, your first meeting on April 22, will be eagerly watched by me darling. 

You see dear, now that the working classes have infiltrated the blue party and taken it over, you no doubt are slowly beginning to understand the master plan behind this marriage of yours. Having reduced you to a number lesser than what you had when you were in opposition not so long ago, I doubt that even those dodo heads taking down dictation at the daily propaganda sheet of yours can call it a 'landslide' victory. Then again, they did, didn't they? Call the most well hung election result in years, a landslide victory for you. Now what was it I called them. Oh yes.Dodo heads..the poor Richard-heads no doubt use the New Revised Sorbonne Dictionary edited by the renowned B.M. Sucker.

Never mind darling. My advise to you as always is take your vitamins and get a good night's rest. Not that poor Mahinda Rajapakse can take my advise eh? The sod can't rest his weary head on a down pillow at Temple Trees despite being made Prime Minister. Forbade him to so much as let his toenail cross the threshold didn't you? Wanted it all spick and span for when you abolish the presidency and come in as PM in four months time did you not? Pulled a long face you did dear as you swore him in. It was all caught on candid camera. Not half as long as Kadi's mug though as he stood sulking in a corner. It says not a little for Kadi's self control when he pulled the southern beau Mahinda towards him - and reluctantly hugged him Mahinda without once giving in to the temptation to wring his bally neck. 

We live as they say in interesting times. Well may be not Malik who will now get back to his knitting needles. No doubt the professional pandang karayas will drop the has-beens like a sack of rabu and start making fondue for the proletariat. But you ole girl I welcome with open arms. You give me so much choice material to write on. Ranil was such a bore. 

Meanwhile of course, the bally house by the oya is hung like a horse and I may as well tell you dear, that most people are having nightmares.


The big losers

By Dilrukshi Handunnetti 

With some 6,020 candidates representing 24 politcal parties and 192 independent groups having vied for seats in the 13th Parliament of Sri Lanka, the outcome has been shocking to many a parliamentarian with over 50 being voted out including 10 ministers.

Among those who suffered stunning defeats that cost them both their constituencies and parliamentary seats are former Southern Region Development, Ananda Kularatne, Samurdhi Minister, R.A.D. Sirisena, North West Region Development Minister, Jayathilake Podinilame, Human Resource Development Minister, Education and Cultural Affairs Minister, Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku, Irrigation Minister, H.G.P. Nelson, Minister Assisting Wanni Rehabilitation, Noordeen Mashoor, School Education Minister, Suranimala Rajapaksa, Minister Assisting Foreign Affairs, Lal Dharmapriya Gamage,  State Transport Minister, Piyasoma Upali,  Paddy Cultivation Development Minister, D. M. Bandaranayake and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Deputy Minister, Jayasundara Wijekoon.

Also, three PA chief ministers fell by the wayside while only Chief Minister, Western Province, Reginald Cooray managed to gain entry to the House. The defeated chief ministers are Mohan Saliya Ellawala (Sabaragamuwa), H.G. Sirisena (South) and A.M. Buddhadasa (Uva).

In addition to the portfolio holders, some 37 parliamentarians also lost their parliamentary seats this time.

The losers in Colombo are Lilantha Perera and Jayantha Kategoda from the UNF and Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and Chandana Kathriaarachchi from the UPFA, two arch critics of the PA forming an alliance with the JVP.

In Gampaha, the key losers were onetime ministers representing opposing sides - Reggie Ranatunga from the UPFA and Wijeyapala Mendis from the UNF. Pole-vaulter Athula Nimalasiri Jayasinghe and Olitha Prematiratne from the UNF too were big losers as were UPFA's senior member Neil Rupasinghe and Sarana Gunawardhane.

In Kalutara, UPFA's Tudor Dayaratne was defeated along with UNF's Lakshman Wijemanne.

In Ratnapura, UNF lost three members, Ajith Kumara Meddegama, Piyadasa Abeynayake, and A.A. Wijetunga while from the UPFA, Chief Minister, Sabaragamuwa, Mohan Ellawala and Asoka Jayawardena were defeated.

In the south too there were several defeats. In Galle, Ven. Baddegama Samitha Thero, UNF's Ananda Abeywickrema and Jayantha Jayaweera lost their seats.

In Matara, a heavy loser was Chief Minister, Southern Province, H.G. Sirisena, former UNF parliamentarians H.R.Wimalasiri, Justin Galappatty and UPFA's H.R. Piyasiri.

From the deep south, former deputy chairman of committees and UNF candidate Siri Andrahennadi suffered defeat.

In Kurunegala, UNF's Anura Gopallawa and UPFA's Somakumari Tennakoon lost their seats while in Puttalam, Sugath Tissera of the UNF failed to secure his slot.

In the central hills too, many suffered defeats including some political heavyweights.

In Matale, both the UNP and the UPFA recorded losses with Sanjeewa Kaviratne (UNF) and Bandula Yalegama and D. D. W. Wickremaratne (UPFA) suffering collective defeat.

In Nuwara Eliya, UNP heavyweight and a former Women's Affairs Minister, Renuka Herath failed to gain entry, as did S. Sathasivam and Kumara Dassanayake of the UPFA.

Raja Rata had a few losers. UPFA District Leader, Anuradhapura, H.B. Semasingha failed to win a place in the house while UNF's Polonnaruwa parliamentarian, Sydney Jayaratne and UPFA's Ananda Sarathkumara Ratnayaka suffered humiliating defeats this time.

In Badulla, UNF's Upali Samaraweera and K. Velayuthan both lost their places whereas in Moneragala, UPFA's Wijith Wijemuni Soyza and S.A.R. Maddumabandara were among the losers. Former  Commerce Deputy Minister Jayasundara Wijekoon and Ananda Kumarasiri too failed to make it this year.

In the Eastern Province, in Trincomalee, M. K. D. S. Gunawardhane of the UPFA lost his seat as did A. Vinayagamoorthy of the TNA who shifted base from the north to the east. In Batticoloa, two strong candidates - TNA's Joseph Pararajasingham and UPFA's A.H.M. Hisbulla both lost.

In Jaffna in the Northern Province, from the EPDP it was only party leader Douglas Devananda who secured a place in the 13th Parliament. A significant loser there was beleaguered leader of the TULF, Veerasingham Anandasangaree who contested as an independent candidate. In Wanni, PLOTE Leader, Dharmalingam Sidarthan suffered a humiliating defeat.

The number of candidates at this year's general election was the highest recorded since independence. In the year 2000, some 4,943 candidates joined the fray while in the year 2001, the number of candidates stood at 5,477 whereas some 6,020 contested in 2004.


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