Watching the election results, it’s tempting to see the thing as a contest, where someone ‘takes the lead’. But it doesn’t work like that. Results come in basically at random. Right now, for example, the UPFA is leading by about 40k, but the margin last election in Colombo was 160k. This thing will be swayed dramatically when Western and Central districts report.
As you can see from this map of seats per district, some areas are much more important than others:
The UNP will definitely take Colombo. The bellweather districts are really Gampaha, Kandy and of course Kurunegela, where Mahinda is running. The other indicator is if the UPFA loses the south.
It’s also notable that a lot of the Northern votes went to the coalition last time and now go to the ITAK/TNA. If they went to the UNP they’d be winning, but they’re not going to the SLFP either. Those votes are effectively out of play for both parties. The thing will be decided on the West Coast and in the Central Province, IMHO.
Of course, within a few hours all this will be known. If you’re watching now, here are a few places to follow the results. I recommend Ada Derana for the best presentation. When you’re watching just remember, it’s not a cricket match where one score affects the next. Everyone has already voted. Personally, I think the fundamentals of big districts in the Western Province favor the UNP in what looks like a close fight now, but we’ll see soon enough.