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Sri Lankan opposition alleges election fraud

Sri Lanka's largest opposition alliance has accused President Mahinda Rajapaksa's ruling coalition of committing electoral fraud following the results of the country's first post-war parliamentary election.

Sri Lanka's largest opposition alliance has accused President Mahinda Rajapaksa's ruling coalition of committing electoral fraud following the results of the country's first post-war parliamentary election.

Rajapaksa's United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has so far won 117 of the 225 contested seats, the elections department said on its website Friday.

A party must get 113 seats to achieve a simple majority and form a government.

UPFA's closest rival, the United National Front, won 46 seats in Thursday's vote.

UNF official Tissa Attanayake accused Rajapaksa's government of using violence and intimidation to sway voters during the campaign and on election day.

"This has not been a fair poll," Attanayake told a local newspaper. "We will hold discussions soon to decide on what steps should be taken."

So far, results for only 180 seats have been declared.

The elections department suspended releasing results for 16 seats after it annulled votes from 38 voting stations in two districts and called for a revote. A date for the revote is yet to be announced.

Coup allegations

Another 29 seats are allocated according to the per cent of the vote each party receives.

The Democratic National Alliance party, led by defeated presidential candidate and former army chief Gen. Sarath Fonseka, won five seats.

Fonseka was detained earlier this year amid allegations he was plotting a military coup. Court martial proceedings were to begin in early April, but were postponed indefinitely, according to the BBC.

Thursday's election results consolidate Rajapaksa's political dominance, but it remains unclear if his coalition can secure the two-thirds majority needed to change the constitution.

Rajapaksa was re-elected in presidential polls three months ago following the end of the long civil war against ethnic Tamil rebels.

Government minister Keheliya Rambukwella said Thursday's victory was a "clear manifestation of the people's confidence in the president and the government."

"We believe we are also capable of meeting the challenge of development," he said.

A key issue confronting the new government will be how to reconcile with the Tamil community following the end of the civil war.

Rajapaksa has yet to follow through on his promise to discuss a power-sharing deal with the Tamils, more than 200,000 of whom remain displaced by the war.

With files from The Associated Press