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* Sri Lanka election monitors say candidates bribing voters
Sun, Mar 9, 2014, 12:52 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 09, Colombo: Election monitors in Sri Lanka say that a large number of candidates have imported various items to be sold among the people who support them at the Western and Southern Provincial Council elections.

According to the election monitors, candidates plan to distribute mobile phones, wristwatches, laptops and other equipment among the supporters.

Election monitors have complained that the distribution of such items to obtain votes amounted to bribing, a clear violation of election regulations and law.

As a result of the protests, some candidates have reportedly suspended distribution of materials to people but some others continue to distribute items like plastic chairs and spades etc.

Local news reports said last week that Pasindu Yapa Abeywardena, son of Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, had imported two containers of mobile phones to be distributed among the people of Matara district from where he is contenting for the Southern Provincial Council.

However, the candidate rejected the claim and said that he had requested the Fraud Investigation Unit of police to probe the incident.

Many of the candidates accused of distributing equipment are the sons or close relatives of government ministers.

However, Minister Johnston Fernando's son Johan Fernando who was accused of distributing gifts among voters failed to become first in preferential votes as he expected at the Northwestern Provincial Council elections in September last year.

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