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* Sri Lanka ruling party candidates pledge free and fair non violent election
Sun, Feb 28, 2010, 08:41 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 28, Anuradhapura: All candidates of the ruling party United people's Freedom Alliance yesterday pledged to conduct a free and fair election campaign without violence for the upcoming parliamentary elections on April 8.

Following religious observances of all faiths held in Anuradhapura, all the UPFA candidates and governors and chief ministers of all provinces gathered at the President's House in Anuradhapura and gave this pledge together with the President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The Maha Sangha and intellectuals have hailed the move the President has taken to ensure the elections are conducted in a peaceful atmosphere setting an example for other parties.

Chief incumbent of the Kiri Vehera Raja Maha Vihara and Chancellor of the Uva Wellassa University Dr. Aluthwewa Soratha Thera said the foundation was laid yesterday for members of parliament to take the path adopted by the President. The Thera pointed out that the President's aim is to convert Sri Lanka into an exemplary country firmly rooted in religion and discipline.

Chancellor of the Sabaragamuwa University professor Kumburugamuwe Wajira Thera said it is a sign of prosperity that patriotic candidates are giving firm assurances regarding good governance.

The local and international election monitors have said that the presidential election held in January was free and fair despite the violence in the run up to the elections. However, the monitors said the campaign was not more violent than the past elections in the country.

(Pictures by Sudath Silva)

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