Sri Lanka's ruling party yesterday celebrated its landslide victory in the country's first peacetime parliamentary polls since crushing separatist Tamil rebels, but the opposition cried foul.
Government supporters carried national flags as they paraded through the streets and lit firecrackers, despite an official week-long ban on public celebrations. President Mahinda Rajapakse said he saw the overwhelming majority for his United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) as a vote for his economic policies and the crushing of the Tamil Tiger rebels in a military offensive last year.
The US welcomed Rajapakse's victory and said Washington expected him to deliver on promises of national reconciliation and protect human rights. The US embassy, which has consistently denied allegations made by ruling party leaders that it supported the opposition at recent elections, said the US was looking forward to working with Rajapakse's new government.
The UPFA got 117 seats in the 225-member assembly with another 45 seats still to be declared. The main opposition United National Party got 46 seats.