Colombo: War-battered people in Sri Lanka's Tamil-dominated north voted overwhelmingly for pro-LTTE TNA, handing it 18 seats in local council polls there, while the ruling UPFA of President Mahinda Rajapaksa swept the elections in other parts of the country bagging a total of 45 seats.
    
The United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) registered win in 45 councils out of the 65 that went to polls on Saturday, according to the official results declared on Sunday.
    
Pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA) won 18 councils while their rival Tamil party TULF secured control of two councils in the north, once the bastion of Tigers.
    
The ruling UPFA dominated by Rajapaksa's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) was able to win control of two councils in the north.
    
For this, the credit goes to Douglas Devananda, the Tamil minister and leader of the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP), whose party dominates the Jaffna islets of Delft and Velanai, the only councils the ruling coalition could win in the north.
    
"This was yet another demonstration of President's (Mahinda Rajapaksa's) popularity. The people have for the first time in electoral history recognised the Sri Lanka Freedom Party as a major force in northern politics," Rajitha Senaratne, the Minister of Fisheries, said.
    
Sri Lankan Tamils in the former rebel heartland of Kilinochchi in the north cast their votes on Saturday to elect a local council representative after more than 25 years.
    
The local council elections were conducted across Sri Lanka but the focus was on Kilinochchi and Jaffna in the north, where Tamils voted two years after a three-decade war came to an end with the killing of Tiger supremo V Prabhakaran.

(Agencies)