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Last updated: 04 May, 2009 - Published 13:27 GMT
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People 'do not vote for pledges'
New WPC ministers with the president and the governer (photo: Sudath Silva)
President says the public no longer votes for the election promises

Sri Lankan public "no longer thinks of the stomachs" when voting, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said.

The president has made the remarks at the Presidential secretariat addressing the new ministers and members of the Western Provincial Council (WPC).

"Today the people of our country do not think only of their stomachs when voting. The time when people voted for election promises is over. Today they place the country first. All other needs are put into second place compared to the needs of the country," he was quoted as saying in the government's official website.

New ministers

Gamapaha district WPC member Prasanna Ranatunga, who received the most preferential votes, was sworn in as the new chief minister in the WPC.

Jagath Thilakasiri Perera, Upali Kodikara, Anthony Nimal Lansa and Udaya Prabhath Gammanpila were appointed by the president as the ministers in the WPC.

Ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) secured a sweeping victory at the 25 April WPC elections.

Opposition United National Party (UNP) and other opposition parties only secured 36 seats while the UPFA won 68 seats.

The ruling party was also victorious in all recent provincial council elections including the newly formed eastern province.

"The repeated victories in elections show that the people endorse the path taken by our government and that they believe the country is going in proper direction," the president has told the ruling party members of the WPC.

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