Sri Lanka ex-strongman's party makes strong showing in polls

Sri Lanka's former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa has called for snap parliamentary elections after the party he fielded as a proxy swept local elections over the weekend in a major blow to the reformist government elected just three years ago.

Rajapaksa told reporters Monday that the government had lost its mandate to govern and that the people must be given a chance to elect a new parliament.

According to unofficial results, the Sri Lanka People's Front, backed by Rajapaksa, won more than 230 local councils out of the 341 for which elections were held on Saturday.

Rajapaksa, who lost the 2015 presidential election, said the people want him back because the government is considering a new constitution that would share power with ethnic minority Tamils and sell state assets.