Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's party SLPP has secured a two - thirds majority in Sri Lanka's parliamentary elections. The SLPP won 146 of the 225 seats in parliament and, together with the support of the party's allies, the matter is thus settled.

In November last year, the Prime Minister's younger brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, won the presidential election, and since then, the Lancas have largely embraced the family's populist policies. The nationalist wave in the country is described by observers as having received a strong push forward after the Islamist bombings that hit several Sri Lankan cities during Easter Day 2019.

"The results so far indicate an excellent victory for SLPP," the president wrote on Twitter when around 60 percent of the votes were counted.

Large voter turnout

President Rajapaksa's hope was precisely to secure a two - thirds majority in the election. Through it, the brothers can withdraw the constitutional reform introduced by the previous government that limits the power of the president. He also wants to be able to appoint Brother Mahinda, who was previously president and who is the prime minister in the current transitional government, as the actual prime minister.

Nearly 70 percent of eligible Lancas are said to have cast their ballots during Wednesday's "corona-secured" election, in which mouth-covered voters were flanked by medical staff and polling station workers wearing protective equipment.

SLPP's strongman Udaya Gammanpila says he is surprised by the big win.

- We expected a win, a spectacular win, but not this big, he says to reporters after the result has been determined.

Financial challenges

The president said he was pleased with the high turnout despite the pandemic.

- As the first South Asian country to hold elections during covid-19, we have seen evidence of the people's confidence in our ability to control the pandemic.

Extensive economic challenges now await the new Parliament. The Asian Development Bank predicts that the Sri Lankan economy will decline by 6.1 percent by 2020.