Sri Lanka’s prime minister has defeated the country’s former strongman in parliamentary elections, blocking his attempted political comeback eight months after he lost the presidency.
Official results showed prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party won 93 out of 196 directly elected seats, while former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s United People’s Freedom Alliance secured 83.
Smaller parties won the remaining elected seats in Monday’s balloting. The elections commissioner will distribute 29 other seats according to the proportion of votes received nationally by each party to fill the 225-member parliament.
Parliamentary candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa gestures outside a polling station after casting his vote in Medamulana village, southern Sri Lanka.
Mr Rajapaksa was defeated by a former ally, Maithripala Sirisena, in the January 8 presidential election.
A political party or a coalition must have at least 113 seats to be able to form a government.