COLOMBO, JUNE 3, REUTER — Sri Lanka’s ruling United National! Party has won control of the two provincial councils at stake in Thursday’s elections, officials said on Friday.
They said the UNP won 35 seats in the 56member central province council in elections which went ahead despite a campaign of violence by Marxist rebels.
The United Socialist Alliance, a group of four leftist parties, won 78 seats and the recently formed Sri Lanka Moslem Congress took three.
In the Western Province, which embraces the capital Colombo, the UNP won 52 seats, the socialists 42 and the Moslem congress six, another new group, the Liberal party, won two seats.
The victory gives the UNP control of all six of the island’s nine provinces for which elections have been held so far.
Police said the Marxist People’s Liberation Front (JVP) attacked polling stations with guns and bombs and set fire to trains, buses and government buildings in an attempt to disrupt the elections.
The Sinhalese JVP opposes the setting up of semiautonomous councils in the island’s nine provinces, a key element in a controversial Indian Sri Lankan pact aimed by ending violence by separatist guerrillas from the minority Tamil community.
Indian troops have been sent to Sri Lanka to enforce the accord signed by President Junius Jayewardene and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi last July.
The UNP won control of four other councils in elections held in April.
Polling for the council in the Southern Province, 4 JVP strong: hold, has been postponed until next Thursday so that extra security can be provided.
Elections in the north and east, where the Indian troops are fighting the Tamil guerrillas, have also been postponed for security reasons.
Indian defense minister KR. Pant said in Colombo this week that 50,000 Indian soldiers deployed in the north and east would be able to create suitable conditions in July to start preparing for elections there.
Article extracted from this publication >> June 10, 1988