Parliamentary Chamber: Parliament


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Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  5 December 2001

Purpose of elections:

  General elections were held for all the seats in Parliament following premature dissolution of this body. Elections had previously taken place in October 2000.

Background and outcome of elections:

  On 11 October 2001 Parliament was dissolved and new elections ordered after the Government lost its House majority. The second elections in 14 months were held on 5 December 2001.

A week after the announcement of new elections, four opposition Tamil parties announced the formation of a Tamil Nationalist Alliance to contest the elections.

Some 12 million were eligible to chose among 4610 candidates fielded by 27 registered parties and 133 independent groups. An estimated 76 per cent of the electorate turned out to vote.

The 18-year ethnic war was the main issue of teh electoral campaign. Another key issue of the campaign was the economy which had suffered due to escalating military expenditure.

The government had to step up security as violence marred the end of the campaign period the weekend before the polls. The rallies went peacefully but the election chief reported that 14 people had died so far in pre-election violence, while the private Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) put the toll even higher at 25 deaths. The vote was also marked by widespread allegations of intimidation and fraud.

According to the final results, the opposition United national Party won 45.62% of the vote, 109 of the 225 seats in Parliament, while its Sri Lanka Muslim Congress allies took five seats. The People's Alliance secured 37.19% of the votes, 77 seats, while its Marxist ally, the people's Liberation Front, obtained 9.4% and 16 seats.

After the results were announced, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake tendered his resignation to President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who invited UNP leader Mr Ranil Wickremasinghe for talks on a new government.

Mr Wickremasinghe was sworn in as Prime Minister on 9 December 2001.

Round no 1 (5 December 2001): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 12 428 762
Voters 9 449 813 (76.03%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 493 944
Valid votes 8 955 869

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
United National Party (UNP) 4 086 026 45.62
People's Alliance (PA) 3 330 815 37.19
People's Liberation Front (JVP) 815 353 9.40
Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) 348 164 3.88
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) 105 346 1.18
Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) 72 783 0.81
Democratic People's Liberation Front (DPLF) 16 669 0.19

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
United National Party (UNP) 109
People's Alliance (PA) 77
People's Liberation Front (JVP) 16
Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) 15
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) 5
Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) 2
Democratic People's Liberation Front (DPLF) 1

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 215
Women: 10
Percent of women: 4.44

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Copyright 2001 Inter-Parliamentary Union