Polling commences for 266 local councils in Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Thursday, 30 March 2006, 05:16 GMT]
Polling in about 8829 centers to elect 3624 members to 266 local government authorities comprising 12 municipal councils (MC), 34 urban councils (UC) and 220 pradesiya sabahs (PS) countrywide began Thursday morning at 7 a.m. A total 11,037,763 voters are eligible to cast their franchise to elect their members from about 25,523 candidates fielded by political parties and independent groups.

Polling closes at 4 p.m. and the counting of votes will commence in all district secretariats where elections are held at 8 p.m. Thursday. The first result is to be announced around early morning on Friday, election department official said.

Polling was brisk in some parts of the south in the morning and moderate elsewhere at the start and no untoward incidents were reported from anywhere in the country soon after polling began, the sources said.

About 65000 police personnel are deployed to maintain law and order in the polling station areas. The Sri Lanka Army has been put on red alert to quell any disturbances during polling period, police sources said.

The elections to twelve local authorities in Trincomalee district and to some local authorities in Amparai district also began Thursday morning.

Cluster polling stations are located in no man zones which lie between the borders of the territories of army and LTTE controlled in the Muttur east for the voters in LTTE held Muttur east villages to cast their franchise, election department sources said.

Total number of local government authorities in the country is about 330. Of them elections are held to only 266 local government authorities. Elections to 62 local authorities were not held for various reasons. Elections to Verugal PS in Trincomalee district and Puthukudiruppu in Mullaitivu district were not held because two political parties ITAK and EPDP returned uncontested respectively when nominations were closed on February 16.

The elections to 22 local government authorities including the municipal councils of Colombo, Gampaha and Galle have been postponed on the direction of the Court of Appeal following petitions filed by aggrieved political parties over the rejection of their nomination lists submitted on the last date of nominations closed on February 16 for the failure to fulfill requirements needed according to the Local Government Election Ordinance.

Elections to forty five local government authorities in the six districts of Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Killinochchi, Mannar, Vavuniya and Batticaloa have been postponed by the Commissioner of Elections till September 30 on the recommendations of the respective District Returning Officers on reports that ground situation is conducive for holding poll, sources said.

 

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