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Compare data for parliamentary chambers in the Last elections module

A historical Archive of past election results for this chamber can be found on a separate page

Parliament name Parliament
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 2 April 2004
Purpose of elections General elections were held for all the seats in Parliament following premature dissolution of this body on 9 February 2004. Elections had previously taken place in December 2001.
On 7 February 2004 President Chandrika Kumaratunga dissolved Parliament and called early elections for 2 April 2004 three years ahead of schedule. These were the island's third general elections in four years and were called in a bid to break a political stalemate between President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe over how to handle peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels to end the civil war that has lasted for the last two decades and killed some 64 000 people.

During the conflict tens of thousands of Sri Lankans couldn't vote either because of Tiger-imposed election boycotts or because more than 1.6 million people were repeatedly displaced by the fighting. Most of the voteless were among the country's 3.2 million Tamils who are predominant in the north and east of the country where most of the fighting raged. The rest of the country is dominated by the 14 million ethnic Sinhalese.

In 2002 a Norwegian-brokered cease-fire with the rebels was signed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe. However the talks about a political solution to the conflict were stalled in April 2003 when the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam walked out. Efforts to restart talks failed in November 2003 after President Kumaratunga dismissed three ministers in the government saying that the Prime Minister had compromised security in his talks with the Tigers. The process was further complicated in March 2004 by a split in the rebel ranks after a Tamil Tiger leader Mr. V Muralitharan known as Karuna led a breakaway from the main Tiger rebel group and the two factions were threatening to go to war against each other.

Although the United National Party (UNP) of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had won the elections in 2001 there had been an awkward cohabitation between President Kumaratunga who leads the United Peoples' Freedom Alliance a rival party and has vast constitutional powers and Mr. Wickremesinghe who controlled Parliament.

During the electoral campaign both pledged to reopen talks as soon as possible but differed sharply in their approach. President Kumaratunga accused Mr. Wickremesinghe of endangering the country's security by giving away too much to win peace with the rebels. Her United Peoples' Freedom Alliance also accused the government of corruption and appealed to the people to "join hands to rid the country of war uncertainty and corruption". Meanwhile Mr Wickremesinghe's UNP campaigned almost exclusively on the Prime Minister's peace bid saying he needed a new mandate to complete the process.

A record 6 024 candidates from 24 registered political parties and 192 independent groups including for the first time a party of Buddhist monks contested the elections. Another wildcard was the inclusion of the People's Liberation Front (JVP) a hard-line nationalist party with Marxist economic policies in the United Peoples' Freedom Alliance.

Political violence rose in the days prior to polling day although it remained far less than in the last election in 2001 when some 61 people had been killed in political attacks. In eastern parts of the country pre-poll violence left at least two people dead including a candidate close to the breakaway Tiger leader.

Police deployed a 64 000-strong force to guard the 10 400 polling booths and counting centres while the military patrolled and reinforced areas prone to violence. Some 25 000 local and international election monitors including the European Union and the Commonwealth were also deployed on election day.

Results showed that President Chandrika Kumaratunga's United Peoples' Freedom Alliance had won 105 seats eight seats short of the 113 needed to secure a majority in the 225-member legislature. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe's United National Party followed with 82 seats. Candidates loyal to the Tamil Tigers took third place in the election winning 22 seats. The National Heritage Party of Buddhist monks won nine seats.

The first meeting of the newly elected Parliament was held on 22 April 2004. Mr. W. J. M. Lokkubandara was elected as its new Speaker.

On 6 April 2004 the until then Leader of the Opposition Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse was sworn-in as the new Prime Minister.
Voter turnout
Round no 12 April 2004
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes

Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes %
United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA)
United National Party (UNP)
Lanka Tamil State Party (ITAK)
National Sinhala Heritage (JHU)
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC)
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total
United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) 105
United National Party (UNP) 82
Lanka Tamil State Party (ITAK) 22
National Sinhala Heritage (JHU) 9
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) 5
Others 2
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
The UPFA is formed by:
- Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)
- Communist Party of Sri Lanka
- Democratic United National Front
- Lanka Equal Society Party
- Sri Lanka People's Party.

- Department of Elections Website
- Parliament (01.01.2008)

- Mr. Chandra Nehru MP for Batticaloa on 7 February 2005.
- Mr. Laksman Kadirgamar MP & Minister was killed on 13 August 2005.
- Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham MP was shot and killed on 25 December 2005.

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