Election offices ready for Sri Lanka poll

19:33, January 25, 2010      

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Sri Lanka's Elections Department commenced initial arrangements ahead of Tuesday's presidential election, officials said on Monday.

The department said dispatch of ballot boxes and officials to over 11,000 polling stations in 22 electoral districts had begun. All of them should be available at respective stations by 3 p.m local time (0930 GMT)

G. A. J. Sylvester, the chief election official for the capital Colombo said that 1026 polling stations would be operational in the capital district.

Some 14 million people are expected to vote between 7 a.m and 4 p.m local time (0130 to 1030 GMT) at Tuesday's poll.

Meanwhile, the independent watch group, CMEV or the Center for Monitoring Election Violence said that they were concerned that the integrity of the election process was seriously damaged in the run-up to the election.

"There was a blatant disregard for the rule of law, undermining of the authority of the Elections Commissioner," Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, the Head of CMEV told reporters.

More than 800 cases of election-related violence including five deaths have been reported since the election was declared in November.

Rajapaksa, the incumbent, finds formidable challenge from his former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka in the sixth presidential election of the country which is to be held on Jan. 26. Both go for public to claim credit for their role of crushing the Tamil Tiger rebellion and the unification of the country after over three decades.

Source: Xinhua
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