Elections Commissioner says ready for polls on Friday

[TamilNet, Thursday, 01 April 2004, 16:56 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s Elections Commissioner, Mr.Dayananda Dissanayake, said Thursday that all arrangements have been made to hold the country’s thirteenth parliamentary election since it gained independence on Friday. Mr. Dissanayake will use the powers vested in him as Commissioner through the 17th Amendment to the constitution to ensure a free and fair general election, election department sources said.

The Commissioner has given strict orders to the police manning polling stations in the 22 electoral districts throughout the country to open fire if necessary on those who violate election laws or try to stuff the ballot boxes by force, try to snatch away or destroy or those who try to prevent people from exercising their legitimate right to cast their votes, sources said, adding that Mr. Dissanayake will nullify the election of a particular polling station and will send instruction to hold fresh polls if any incidents of ballot stuffing are reported.

A total of 12,899,032 registered voters will exercise their franchise in 10,600 polling stations Friday to elect 196 members from the 22 districts and another 29 on the basis of the total votes at the national level under the proportional electoral system, sources said.

A total number of 52 recognized political parties and 192 independent groups are contesting the election, fielding a total of 5,698 candidates. These include 286 Buddhist monks contesting in 20 districts.


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