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* Polling begins for Sri Lanka parliamentary elections amid coronavirus fears
Wed, Aug 5, 2020, 09:15 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Aug 05, Colombo: Polling for the 2020 parliamentary election commenced in Sri Lanka Wednesday at 7 am in 12,985 polling stations across the country under strict health guidelines.

The National Elections Commission requested the voters to go the polling stations early to exercise their franchise while Election Chief Mahinda Deshapriya on Tuesday assured that all health guidelines are in place at polling centers to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and polling centers are COVID-free.

The Ministry of Health has deployed health officers, including public health inspectors, at polling stations under the supervision of local health service directors and medical officers to ensure strict adherence to the health safety measures.

The Election Commission said the voters can take a black or blue color ball point pen to mark the vote. A sanitized pen will be provided by the polling center to voters who cannot bring a pen. All polling centers have been disinfected last two days.

Voting will end at 5:00 p.m. allowing the last hour for the self-quarantined voters to cast their ballots. The counting will begin on Thursday and the results are expected to be released on Friday.

According to the Election Commission 16,263,885 voters are eligible to cast their ballot to elect 196 lawmakers to the 225-member parliament. The other 29 will be elected from a national list according to the number of votes received by the respective parties or independent groups.

A total of 7,452 candidates from 40 recognized political parties and 313 independent groups are contesting the general election this year.

Nearly 300,000 officers have been deployed for election duties this year, while about 82,000 police and other security personnel have been deployed to provide security to the 12,985 polling centers and 69 ballot counting centers.

The counting of votes in the respective districts is scheduled to begin at 7.00 am and 8.00 am on Thursday.

Each political party and independent group will have the opportunity to retain its representatives in the premises of the counting center, two for each constituency.


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