Sri Lanka turnout worries on eve of voting

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan’s top election officials expressed concern that the turnout at Monday’s parliamentary election could be lower following a lacklustre election campaign.

A highly-placed election official said he would be happy if the turnout exceeded 65 percent at Monday’s vote where 15.04 million people are eligible to vote.

The authorities are using the 2014 electoral registers which mean the youngest to vote Monday would be 20 years old although anyone over 18 years is eligible to vote, at least in theory.

The turnout patters generally show that fewer people vote at an election that follows soon after a major election.

In 2010, the parliamentary election held in April saw the turnout drop to a dismal 59.31 percent compared to 74.5 at the January presidential election where Mahinda Rajapaksa won re-election with 57.88 percent of the popular vote.

Political analyst Kusal Perera said a drop in the turnout would be bad for Rajapaksa’s United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA).

"When there is a perception that your party is losing, the tendency is for the supporters to try and stay away from voting, " Perera said.

"That is what is happening to the UPFA now. It happened to the UNP at previous elections."

A spokesman for Rajapaksa said he was appealing to voters to go out and vote.
 

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