Voting in Sri Lanka’s parliamentary election ends

Election  ballot boxVoting in Sri Lanka’s parliamentary elections on Monday ended after a high turnout and unmarred by serious incidents, officials said. Over 65 per cent of the registered 15 million voters turned up for one the most peaceful elections in more than a decade, officials said.

Voter turnout was better than the average 60 per cent turnout at a parliamentary election, they said. A string of minor election violations including distribution of candidate propaganda materials, intimidation of supporters of rival candidates and petty bribery of voters were reported.

Election monitors said more than 1,500 complaints had been received and three election-related deaths reported during the campaign, but no incidents occcured serious enough to affect the poll, officials said.

“We have had no serious incidents that affected the election,” the head of the monitoring group Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE), Keerthi Tennakoon said.

More than 200,000 officials, police and monitors backed by commandos from the country’s Special Task Force in six of the 22 electoral districts were deployed to prevent violence.

Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa is trying to make a comeback despite being voted out of office in January. He is leading the opposition United People’s Freedom Alliance against incumbent Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party.

The elections are being held to chose members for the 225-seat parliament for the next five year period. The counting of votes is due to begin Monday night with final results expected to be announced Tuesday.(dpa)

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