3rd Lead (Update)

Voter turn out low for PC polls

[TamilNet, Saturday, 10 July 2004, 08:52 GMT]
Voter turn out for elections to six provincial councils in Sri Lanka on Saturday was the lowest in the island's polls history, officials said. ''Only 45 percent of the voters cast their votes today'', a senior election official in Colombo said. "Disgust with the current political confusion appears to be the cause behind this voter apathy", said a columnist for a Sinhala daily in Colombo. TamilNet confirmed with the election officials the final voter turn out for the elections was 45 percent.

Fifty five thousand Policemen and women have been deployed in the six provinces to prevent violence during the polling, according to officials.

PAFFREL, an elections monitoring group, said thirty two incidents of polls related violence were reported until early afternoon Saturday. Four thousand hundred and thirty four candidates from twenty three political parties and thirty five independent groups are contesting the provincial polls. Sri Lanka has eight provinces. Elections are being held for the Western, Central, Southern, Northcentral, Uva and Sabaragamuwa provincial councils. Polls for the Wayamba Province (Kurunagala) were held last month and President Kumaratunga's United People's Freedom Alliance won the majority of seats. Elections for the Tamil dominated Northeast Provincial Council were held only once in 1988. It was dissolved in early 1990 after its chief minister, frustrated by Colombo's refusal to devolve power, announced his intention to unilaterally declare the province as an independent Tamil state.

 

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