ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s parliamentary polls on August 17 was free and fair and the most peaceful seen in decades, Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said.
"We have conducted peaceful and free and fair election," Deshapriya told reporters after polls closed Monday.
"According police reports and my assistant commissioners’ reports it is so far so good."
He said in the 48 hour period before the poll no deaths or major incidents were reported. Most candidates have also kept to the rules, he said.
A 19th amendment to the constitution, the police, candidate, the public, polls monitoring agencies and the media helped make this a peaceful elections he said, calling upon the victors not to engage in violence.
About 50 had been arrested today for elections violations.
They will enjoy dinner at remand prison today," he said in characteristic style.
Deshapriya affectionately known as ‘mako’, an acronym for elections commissioner in the Sinhalese language, gained respect for enforcing the rules at the Presidential Elections in January, in much tougher conditions where there were widespread mis-use of state resources.
Deshapriya said he had been with the elections office since the early 1980s and this was one of the most peaceful elections.
The elections office hoped to be begin counting as soon as returning officers certified that polls were conducted according to law.
Postal votes which are cast by state officials and elections officers before the polls, are already being counted, he said.
The first results are like to be out by midnight Monday, Deshapriya said.
"Please enjoy your victory in peace," he said. "The victors and the losers have the same rights." (Colombo/Aug17/2015)