Today (26) marks one year since the people of Sri Lanka voted President Mahinda Rajapaksa to a second term of office. The Presidential election on 26 Jan 2010 was the first national election in the country since the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009.
The election was held in a free and fair manner with a voter turnout of over 70% while in some districts the voting percentage was over 75% .
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, representing the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) cast his vote at Medamulana polling booth at his hometown while his main contender former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka could not cast his vote as he had not registered as a voter the previous year.
At this election, President Rajapaksa was elected for a second term by an overwhelming mandate. He polled 57.88% of votes, while the former Army Commander polled 40.15% . The President polled 6,015,934 votes while Fonseka polled 4,173,185.
President Rajapaksa who was first elected for a six-year term in November 2005, sought a fresh mandate from the people having completed four years of his term, and just more than six months after his government militarily defeated the LTTE. His rationale for seeking a fresh mandate before the end of his first term of office was because the Tamil population in the North & East of the county was prevented from voting in the November 2005 election, following an order by the LTTE to boycott the poll. He said this election would give the Tamil people, thus deprived of voting on 2005, the opportunity to freely exercise their franchise, and would achieve his goal of obtaining a mandate from the entire country, to carry out the process of reconciliation among communities, and the development work that had already been commenced in his first four years in office.
The people were highly impressed by the manner in which he stood up to western powers and international organizations that were seeking to prevent the final rout of the LTTE and its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, through a ceasefire in the final stages of the battle against terror.
Since he was elected, President Rajapaksa has launched a massive development drive in the entire island especially the war-torn North to revive national economy, and entered a path for reconciliation. According to the Central Bank, the economic growth in 2010 was 8% with the unemployment rate down to 5.3% .