UNP bites the dust
By Leon Berenger
The United National Party (UNP) was heading for a humiliating defeat at the 5 August 2020 General Election as it failed to win even a single seat and was left trailing behind the Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB) or National People’s Power (NPP) and in some electorates, even behind little known Independent groups.
The UNP-led by former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe could not retain a single seat in its traditional strongholds and was seen hurtling towards its worst ever defeat since 1970, so much so that it requested the Election Commission Chairman to halt the counting of the Party votes in the Colombo District, in an apparent move to avoid further embarrassment.
In certain electorates where the UNP had earlier maintained a steady vote base, the Party however, was not even in the frame at the Parliamentary Poll.
On the other hand, the alternative to the UNP, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) led by former Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa was trailing a distant second to the Sri Lanka Podujana Perumuna (SLPP) that was heading for a landslide victory, securing victories in all but one of the 22 electoral Districts.
At the time of going to print, the SLPP had secured 4,475,783 votes while the SJB gathered 1,839,292 votes, the JJB/NPP which ended up third grabbed 294,928 votes and the UNP obtained a mere 169,278 votes (2.07 per cent).
With the UNP facing its worst ever defeat in its political history, the JJB on the other hand was able to secure the third place for the first time in a major national Election.