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Counting of votes in Parliamentary poll begins and first results out in the afternoon – officials

MOSTLY PEACEFUL POLL – Voters lined up at a polling station in Anuradhapura

ECONOMYNEXT – Counting in Sri Lanka’s ninth Parliamentary General Elections starts in all 22 districts at 0800hours breaking with the traditional count which used to be done on the night of the poll.

The first results are expected to be announced in the afternoon.

The Commissioner-General of Elections Saman Sri Rathnayake told EconomyNext that the decision to do the count the day after was to avoid election staff from being extremely fatigued.

“Because of the Covid situation we wanted to ensure that no-one is very tired as their resistance to infections is reduced in such a situation,” he said.

Last evening the Chairman of the National Elections Commission said that the Districts of Badulla, Ratnapura, and some in the North may be the first results to be announced after the Postal Votes.

He said the first results would be available around 2:30 pm today.

Polling averages hovered around the 70 percent mark, at least 12 percentage points below the voting at the Presidential elections held last November.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last night tweeted expressing “gladness” over the voter turnout.

“As the first South Asian country to hold general elections amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it reflects the confidence that the people have in our efforts to control this pandemic,” he said.

Officials also reported that there were no serious incidents of violence although over 300 violations of Election Law had been reported. Most of the violations were blamed on the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna.

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The Samagi Jana Balavegaya complained to the Election Commission against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa arriving at Polling Stations in Nikaweratiya accompanied by hundreds of supporters.

However the incident passed off peacefully and the SJB did not ask for the annulment of the poll in that area.

(Colombo, August 6, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

 

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