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Sri Lankan parliamentary election, 2004

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Sri Lankan parliamentary election, 2004

13th Sri Lankan parliamentary election

2 April 2004

All 225 seats to the Parliament of Sri Lanka
113 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 75.96%
  First party Second party
 
Leader Chandrika Kumaratunga Ranil Wickremesinghe
Party United People's Freedom Alliance United National Front
Leader since 1994 1994
Leader's seat n/a Colombo District
Last election 77 seats, 37.20% [1] 109 seats, 45.60%
Seats won 105 82
Seat change Increase12 {{Navbox with collapsible sections name = Religion topics state = autocollapse bodyclass = hlist title = Religion selected = sect1 = Major groups abbr1 = major child group1 = Abrahamic list1 = group2 = Indo-European child |groupstyle=font-weight:normal; group1 = Indo-Iranian list1 = group2 = European list2 = group1 = Abrahamic child |groupstyle=font-weight:normal; | group1 = Judaism list1 = group2 = Christianity list2 =
Popular vote 4,223,970 3,504,200
Percentage 45.60% 37.83%
Swing -0.01% -7.73%

Winners of polling divisions. UPFA in blue and UNF in green.

Prime Minister before election

Ranil Wickremesinghe
United National Front

Prime Minister-designate

Mahinda Rajapaksa
United People's Freedom Alliance

Coat of arms of Sri Lanka, showing a lion holding a sword in its right forepaw surrounded by a ring made from blue lotus petals which is placed on top of a grain vase sprouting rice grains to encircle it. A Dharmacakra is on the top while a sun and moon are at the bottom on each side of the vase.
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Sri Lanka

Parliamentary elections were held in Sri Lanka on 2 April 2004. The ruling United National Party of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was defeated, winning only eighty two seats in the 225-member Sri Lankan parliament. The opposition United People's Freedom Alliance won 105 seats. While this was eight seats short of an absolute majority, the Alliance was able to form a government.

On 6 April President Chandrika Kumaratunga commissioned Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former Labour Minister, as Prime Minister.

Parties

The United People's Freedom Alliance was formed as an alliance between President Kumaratunga's party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), and the leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna. Other parties that belong to the People's Alliance, such as the Communist Party of Sri Lanka, the Democratic United National Front, the Lanka Sama Samaja Party, Mahajana Eksath Peramuna and the Sri Lanka Mahajana Pakshaya, later joined UPFA.

In the 2001 elections, the People's Alliance and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna had fought separately. Then the JVP won 9.1% of the vote and sixteen seats. At this election it is reported than as many as thirty nine JVP members won seats as UPFA candidates.

The runner-up in the election was the United National Front (UNF), the front led by the United National Party. In addition to the UNP, the UNF also had candidates from minor parties such as Ceylon Workers Congress.

Other parties winning seats were the Buddhist, Sinhala nationalist outfit Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), the pro-LTTE alliance Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP). The Democratic Peoples Liberation Front (the political wing of PLOTE) lost their parliamentary representation.

Campaign

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe's UNF government had been in limbo since October 2003, when President Kumaratunga declared a state of emergency and took three key cabinet portfolios for her party. During the campaign, she argued that Wickremasinghe had been too soft on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and promised to take a harder line. The UNF, for its part, stressed the economic gains that had been made with the ceasefire and the need to find a negotiated solution to the civil war.

Voting

Polling booths opened at 07:00 local time and remained open until 16:00 (01:00 to 10:00 UTC). A total of 10,670 polling stations were installed to receive votes from 12.9 million eligible voters. Voter turnout was high, at around 75%.

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