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Sri Lanka 2020 general elections turnout lower, steepest in Kurunegala

ECONOMYNEXT – Voter turnout at Sri Lanka’s 2020 general elections has been lower than in 2015 based on initial estimates released by the Elections Commission, with the steepest falls seen in Kurunegala, Ratnapura in an election conducted amid a global Coronavirus pandemic.

But turnout in Batticaloa was up 2.8 percent compared to 2015 general elections, Jaffna 2.44 percent and Wanni 1.11 percent compared to 2015.

The steepest fall of 10 in turnout compared to 2015 general elections was seen in Kurunegala, followed by 9.8 fall percent in Ratnapura.

Falls of 9 percent were also seen Gampaha, Kaluthara and Galle, based on the estimated numbers.

There were steep falls across districts compared to the 2019 presidential elections, which was bigger than the gaps seen between the 2015 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

Different dynamics play at Sri Lanka’s Presidential elections compared to general elections.

In general supporters of the winning President stay at home thinking their party will win in any case, while supporters of the loser’s party tend to be dispirited and stay at home as well, political analysts say.

A strong showing at any election is considered an anti-incumbency vote.

However the Coronavirus epidemic is a new factor, which was widely expected to reduce turnout. The elections commission took steps to ensure social distancing in the polling booths.

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In this election Sri Lanka Podujana Party of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was urging supporters to turnout in numbers to give the new administration a two thirds majority. (Colombo/Aug06/2020)