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* Measures to ensure free and fair elections in Sri Lanka
Tue, Apr 6, 2010, 09:01 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 06, Colombo: In an effort to ensure free and fair parliamentary elections, Sri Lanka Election Department is to set up coordination offices near the polling booths to prevent election irregularities.

In a circular issued, the Election Commissioner Dayananda Dishanayake has advised the Returning Officers to set up such offices to prevent poll violations and report to the relevant polling booths in case they receive complaints.

The coordination offices are to be set up within a distance that can be reached in half an hour from a polling booth. The Commissioner has taken measures to deploy an Assistant Returning Officer, two police officers along with two other election officials for each office.

Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mahinda Balasuriya said the police have sought assistance from three armed forces and the Special Task Force (STF) to severely deal with any troublemakers at polling booths and counting centers.

Additional security personnel will be deployed to all police stations in the country to control election violence and violations of election laws. The police have been instructed to provide high security to troublesome spots, the Police Chief said.

Meanwhile, a contingent of international monitors who arrived in the country last week has already started pre-monitoring activities related to the election.

Over 14 million Sri Lankan voters will cast their ballots on Thursday, April 8th to elect 196 members to the parliament. A total of 7620 candidates representing 36 parties and 301 independent groups are vying for a slot.

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