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Sri Lanka parliamentary polls open

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s 2015 parliamentary polls has opened on August 17, after a period of relatively peaceful campaigning, and elections laws being better enforced compared to the past though several supporters of the ruling United National Party were killed.

A total of 6,151 candidates are vying for 225 places in parliament with recognized political parties fielding 3,653 candidates and 2,498 independents.

Both Sri Lanka’s Commissioner of Elections Mahindra Deshapriya and police came in for praise from monitors.

The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE), a polls monitoring group said four supporters of the ruling UNP had died, but mis-use of state property was much less.

"The misuse of public property has been inherent to Sri Lankan elections and in the last elections of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government such abuses were widespread often with the blessings of the most senior politicians," CaFFE said.

"However during this election (President) Sirisena and (Prime Minister) Wickremesinghe have not misused public property and have led the fight against the misuse of public property."

Polls monitors said in recent election the police had tended to act in a biased manner but under the current administration, over 400 people have been arrested of which 40 percent were from the ruling UNP.

About 39 percent were from the opposition United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and 21 percent were from other parties.

"This shows that election law violators have been arrested regardless of the party associations," CAFFE said.





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