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* Low voter turnout than expected in Sri Lanka general election
Thu, Apr 8, 2010, 07:09 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 08, Colombo: Sri Lanka's first post-war polls to elect the country's 7th parliament ended this evening peacefully without major incidents according to the election officials.

However, according to the election monitors the voter turnout was lower than expected in the polls conducted through out the country after the 30-year war. Only about 55% voters have turned up at the polling booths when the polls closed by 4:00 p.m., the monitors said. The election watchdog People's Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) says the overall turnout was about 50-52%.

The Election Secretariat said the actual percentages will be released after the final result is tabulated.

The General Secretary of the ruling UPFA, Minister Susil Premajayantha said that although the voter turnout is comparatively less than during the last Presidential election, the government is confident of victory.

"The government is very confident of winning the election with a majority," he said.

The opposition parties, UNP and Marxist JVP are hopeful that the low voter turnout may help their chances of getting elected as they have managed to get their supporters out to vote.

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was elected a to second term at the presidential elections held in January, is seeking a two-third majority in the parliament to carry out his development programs for the country and to bring necessary constitutional reforms. The opposition parties however say the President is strengthening his position to suppress the opposition and turn the country into a dictatorship.


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