Sri Lankans’ hopes for their nation

Al JazeeraSri Lankans are voting in parliamentary elections to elect the Indian Ocean republic’s 16th parliament. The parliament has 225 members, so any party or coalition must win at least 113 seats to form a government. An estimated 15 million people aged 18 or over are registered to vote.

The month-long campaign was dominated by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s attempt to make a political comeback.

Rajapaksa is leading the opposition United People’s Freedom Alliance against incumbent Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is seeking a wider mandate for his United National Party.

Al Jazeera spoke to voters in the capital Colombo, and asked what they hope for from their new government.

HK Lasantha, 38, and Dineesha Lasantha, 38 
IT businessman and housewife

“We are hoping for the country being free of corruption. Everything is related to law and order. If you have that then everything is fine. This is our country and we want to live here and protect it and make it prosper.”

K Jafferjee, 54
Businessman

“I’m voting for democracy, freedom, fairness, equality, friendly atmosphere and economic prosperity for all. I would like my country to copy the formula of Singapore and the Far East – inclusive development for all.”

Sarojini Kadiragama, 88
Housewife

“I realised that we are never going to have a clean parliament. Corruption is here and it’s going to stay. But I want a government that will deal with it and not sweep it under the carpet. A government that will give its people the right to hold the goverment accountable for its actions.”

Neshani Jayamaha Dahanayake , 35
Lawyer

“I’m voting for progress for the country. I want it to be as it was before. I feel that since the beginning of this year, we haven’t progressed in any way.”

Buddhika Prasan, 21
Student

“I am voting for a higher employment rate and equal opportunities for all.  No matter if they are Sinhala or Tamil or Muslim or Christian. I’m hoping that people will get a chance to make something of themselves based on merit and not on your ethnic or religious or financial background.” (Al Jazeera)

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