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* Election Department gearing up to hold Sri Lanka parliamentary polls
Sun, Apr 4, 2010, 08:37 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 04, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Election Secretariat says it is finalizing all arrangements to smoothly hold a free and fair election at the upcoming parliamentary polls on April 8th.

According to the Election Secretariat, selection and training officials for election duties have already been finalized. The officials appointed for election duties should report to the relevant Returning Officer by next Tuesday (06) evening. The returning officers are ready to send them to the relevant polling centers by Wednesday.

According to the election officials all campaign activities for the upcoming general election are to end by midnight on Monday (05). All major political parties will hold their last campaign rallies on Monday.

A total of 7,620 contestants from 36 accepted political parties and 301 independent groups are vying for 196 seats in the 225-member parliament. The remaining 29 slots are filled by the national list parliamentarians.

Meanwhile, nearly 59,000 police personnel are to be deployed to ensure a violence-free election, the police said.

A special operation is to begin today to remove all illegal election propaganda material including posters, cutouts, and banners. The operation will continue until midnight tomorrow, head of the police elections desk, Senior DIG Gamini Navaratne said.

The police have received 267 complaints with regard to violating election laws and nearly half of the complaints are on inter-party clashes due to the rivalry over preferential votes.

The DIG said investigations were underway into the complaints with 244 suspects arrested and legal action had been initiated against them. Another 208 suspects are yet to be arrested, Navaratne said.

Meanwhile, a team of 16 election monitors from Asian Network for Free Election who arrived in the country last week have already started pre-monitoring activities related to the election.

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