Sri Lanka goes to polls in closely fought battle
COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka is going for presidential polls today after a violence marred month long campaign that left at least one person dead in what is predicted to be a tight race.
Incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa is seeking a third term after defeating Tamil Tiger separatists in 2009 and embarking on an infrastructure rebuilding drive.
His challenger, former health minister Maithripala Sirisena has come forward as a joint opposition candidate on a platform of abolishing an executive presidency and re-establishing an independent judiciary and public service.
Polls monitors said the campaign has been marred by more than 400 incidents of violence.
Elections commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya had called on 15.04 million eligible voters to exercise their franchise early. Voting begins at 12,315 polling stations at 7.00 am.
More than 70,000 policemen would be on duty and Deshapriya said the military would be called in if there was violence.