Parliamentary Chamber: Parliament


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Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  10 October 2000

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office

Background and outcome of elections:

  Parliament was dissolved on 18 August 2000, one week before the end of its six-year term, and the government announced that elections would be held on 10 October 2000. This announcement came in the wake of postponement of debate on the new Constitution which was introduced in Parliament two weeks before. The draft Constitution planned to transform the existing Presidential System into a Parliamentary System of Government with greater power for the Prime Minister and the Parliament. It would also devolve powers to regions, giving them control over land and finance, which would have given Tamil majority areas greater power in running their own administration. President Kumaratunga called for the elections hoping that the results would give her party enough seats to gain the two-thirds majority needed to change the Constitution.

Even before the electoral campaign started, the main opposition party, the United National Party (UNP), accused the government of planning to rig the parliamentary elections and called for the participation of international observers. The UNP said the government was illegally giving out polling cards to its supporters, even though the election date had not yet been announced.

The 17-year ethnic war was the main issue of the electoral campaign that was marked by violent clashes between rival political factions claiming at least seven lives.

Another key issue of the campaign was the economy, as the government had increased taxes to finance the military budget (equivalent of $1 billion).

Also during the electoral campaign, the UNP accused the government of trying to intimidate the Elections Commissioner, Mr Dissanayake, by placing him under police investigation for ordering millions of stickers to be attached to ballot papers in what he said as an effort to minimise fraud in the election. The government criticised Mr Dissanayake for not consulting the political parties before taking the decision.

Some 12 million voters were eligible to chose among the record 5,038 candidates fielded by 29 registered parties and 99 independent groups. Although no voting took place in the rebel-held areas, polling stations operated on the fringe of these areas, allowing people to cast ballots. An estimated 75 per cent of the electorate turned out to vote.

According to the final results, the seven-party People's Alliance Party (PA) won 107 seats but fell short of an absolute majority. The UNP won 89 seats, the leftist People's Liberation Front (JVP) won 10 seats, the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), 5, the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) 4 seats and other parties won 6 seats. Shortly after the announcement of the results, the ruling PA said it would form the next government with the support of the EPDP.

On 13 October 2000, President Kumaratunga swore in Mr Ratnasir Wickremanayaka as the new Prime Minister. He had also occupied the post in the outgoing government since August 2000.

Round no 1 (10 October 2000): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 12 071 062
Voters 9 128 823 (76 %)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 481 155
Valid votes 8 647 668

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
People's Alliance (PA) 3 900 901 45.11
United National Party (UNP) 3 477 770 40.22
People's Liberation Front (JVP) 518 774 6.00
Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) 106 033 1.23
Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) 50 890 0.59
National Unity Alliance (NUA) 197 983 2.29
Sihala Urumaya (SU) 127 863 1.48
Others n.a. n.a.

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
People's Alliance (PA) 107
United National Party (UNP) 89
People's Liberation Front (JVP) 10
Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) 5
Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) 4
National Unity Alliance (NUA) 4
Sihala Urumaya (SU) 1
Others 5

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 216
Women: 9
Percent of women: 4.00

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Copyright 2000 Inter-Parliamentary Union