Today is election day in Sri Lanka. Eight months after casting their ballots in a presidential elections, Sri Lankans head back to the polls to chose a new parliament, from which the Prime Minister will be selected.
Many shops and factories are closed today. A curfew could be imposed in the night in case of incidents of violence. During the last weeks, four Sri Lankans have died in election-related violence. Despite the deaths, until now the campaign and the election day turned out to be more peaceful than during past election periods. In order to keep the peace, 75,000 police officers have been deployed across the country since yesterday.
Of the Indian Ocean 21 million inhabitants about 15 million are eligible to vote. The voter turnout for today’s parliamentary elections is expected to be about 60% (compared to 82% for the presidential elections last January). 6,151 candidates are competing to win of 225 seats. Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. and voting ends at 4:00 p.m. Sri Lanka time. Sri Lankans are heading to over 12,000 polling booths this Monday. There are around 13,000 poll monitors.
Today’s parliamentary election will decide whether former president Mahinda Rajapaksa can stage a comeback as prime minister, although President Sirisena has reportedly vowed not to make him the prime minister even if his coalition wins the parliamentary elections.
Sri Lanka has not a tradtion of exit polls, this is why there are few indications of winners until the official government results are revealed. Voters can not only cast votes for parties but also for preferred candidates. This is why the final results are not known even when the percentages for parties are already published. The final results are not expected until tomorrow. We will keep you informed.
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