Low turnout said favouring ruling party

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 06 April 1999, 16:27 GMT]
A senior official at the Election Commissioner's department said this evening that 69 percent of the votes in the five provinces were cast by 3 p.m. this afternoon. He said overall turnout was excellent except in the district of Colombo.

He said that voter turnout was relatively low here, probably due to the heavy rains which hit the city from the early hours of the morning.

The low polling could actually impact on the UNP's performance said a political analyst.

He said low turn out means that the silent voter who is not affiliated to any party did not come out in sufficient numbers to register his/her disaffection with the ruling party.

It is the politically neutral voters who tilt the balance he pointed out.

If they have not come out in strength to register their opposition then it will benfit the PA whose supporters have voted in large numbers he pointed out.

The UNP's chief candidate in the central province, Keheliya Rambukkwella who is in remand prison now over an election related killing was allowed to cast his vote today.

The UNP has alleged that the PA has engaged in widespread rigging, violence and impersonation.

It said that hooded thugs had gone to many Tamil areas in the central province and forcibly seized polling cards from voters last night.

The pary said that opposition polling agents were chased out of booths by thugs of the ruling party.

A PA spokeman in Colombo told TamilNet that this the UNP is making these allegations because it is already aware that it is going to be defeated.

He said that the opposition is already trying to blame the PA for losing the provincial elections.

Meanwhile election officials said that 24 ballot boxes from polling booths in Udu Dumbara in the Kandy district (Central province) have not been brought to the Kandy Kachcheri for counting until 9.30 p.m.

They did not explain the reason for the unusual delay of more than five hours.

The Commissioner of Elections, Mr. Dayananda Dissanayaka, meanwhile said that the ballot box at a polling booth in Kandy had to be taken to the counting centre before closing time due to unavoidable circumstances.

He, however did not specify the place where his officials had been compelled to take such action.

 

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