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The 2015 Sri Lankan parliamentary election was held on 17 August 2015, ten months ahead of schedule, to elect 225 members to Sri Lanka’s 15th Parliament.

The incumbent United National Party (UNP) led United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) won 106 seats, an increase of 46 since the 2010 election, but failed to secure a majority in Parliament. The main opposition United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) won 95 seats, a decline of 49. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the largest party representing Sri Lankan Tamils, won 16 seats, an increase of two from 2010. The remaining eight seats were won by Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna , Sri Lanka Muslim Congress  and Eelam People’s Democratic Party . Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, leader of the UNFGG and UNP, was able to form a national government with the support of UPFA MPs loyal to President Maithripala Sirisena.

Table of contents

Electoral system

196 MPs were elected from 22 multi-member electoral districts using the D’Hondt method with an open list, a proportional representation system. The remaining 29 seats were allocated to contesting parties and independent groups in proportion to their share of the national vote.


Nominations took place between 6 July 2015 and 13 July 2015. Postal voting took place on 5 August 2015 and 6 August 2015 except for school teachers who cast their postal votes on 3 August 2015. The date of the election was set for 17 August 2015.  15,044,490 Sri Lankans were eligible to vote at the election.  12,314 polling stations and 1,600 counting centers were used. Nearly 200,000 state employees and over 70,000 police officers were deployed on election duties.

The new parliament is expected to meet on 1 September 2015.

Contesting parties

  • A total of 6,151 candidates from 21 registered political parties (3,653) and 201 independent groups (2,498) compteted for the 196 district seats.
  • The nominations of 12 registered political parties and 24 independent groups were rejected.
  • The UPFA, United National Front for Good Governance and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) contested in all 22 electoral districts.

United People’s Freedom Alliance

  • The ruling UPFA suffered a series of defections to the opposition during the 2015 presidential election.
  • After the election the UPFA and its main constituent, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), pledged support for newly elected President Sirisena’s reform program.
  • Sirisena became chairman/leader of the SLFP on 16 January 2015 and of the UPFA on 14 March 2015. However, large sections of the UPFA/SLFP remained loyal to former President Rajapaksa.
  • They called for Rajapaksa to be made the UPFA’s prime ministerial candidate at the forthcoming parliamentary election. This alarmed those members of the UPFA/SLPF who had supported Sirisena during the presidential election. They urged Sirisena to prevent Rajapaksa’s return to politics but Sirisena remained silent on the matter.
  • After the parliamentary election was called it was announced that Rajapaksa would contest but not as the prime ministerial candidate which would be decided after the election. Feeling “betrayed” by Sirisena, his supporters in the UPFA/SLFP allied themselves with the UNP to form the United National Front for Good Governance.

United National Front for Good Governance

  • The UNP had contested past parliamentary elections in alliance with smaller parties representing ethnic minorities but many of these had defected to the UPFA after the election.
  • Prior to this election being called the UNP had claimed it would contest the election on its own. However, after the election had been called it started forming alliances with minority parties including the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA).
  • On 12 July 2015 the UNP, SLMC and TPA signed agreements with the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) and anti-Rajapaksa members of the SLFP to form the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) to contest the election.
  • The All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) also contested with the UNFGG. The UNFGG is believed to have had the tacit support of President Sirisena but officially he has pledged to be neutral.
  • The UNFGG had originally been established by the renaming of the JHU after it left the UPFA. It was registered as a political party with the diamond symbol.
  • Despite this the UNFGG contested the election under the name and elephant symbol of the UNP. UNFGG general-secretary Champika Ranawaka has stated that the JHU name and its conch symbol will be revived after the election.

Other parties

  • The Tamil National Alliance, the largest party representing the Sri Lankan Tamils, contested in the five electoral districts in the north and east and was aiming to win 20 seats.
  • The JVP, which had contested the two previous parliamentary elections in alliances, contested this election on its own. Sarath Fonseka’s Democratic Party contested in all but three electoral districts.
  • The SLMC, despite being a member of the UNFGG, contested on its own in two electoral districts. Similarly, the ACMC contested on its own in one electoral district. The Ceylon Workers’ Congress, a member of the UPFA, contested on its own in three electoral districts.
  • The Sinhalese Buddhist nationalist Bodu Bala Sena allied with the United Lanka Great Council (Eksath Lanka Maha Sabha) to contest as the Buddhist People’s Front (Bodu Jana Peramuna) in 16 electoral districts.


The UNFGG became the largest group in Parliament after securing 45.66% of votes and 106 seats whilst the UPFA won 42.38% of votes and 95 seats. Rajapaksa quickly conceded defeat in his attempt to become Prime Minister.











Sri Lankan parliament election, 2015, en.wikipedia.org.

DHondt_method, en.wikipedia.org.




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