Politicians clash in Sri Lanka election run-up

09:38, March 12, 2010      

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An opposition candidate was arrested while two ministers accused each other of perpetrating violence on Thursday in the campaign for Sri Lanka's parliamentary election to be held next month.

Dunesh Gankanda, the main opposition candidate at Pelmadulla in south eastern Ratnapura district was arrested Thursday, said the police.

Gankanda, a legislator in the last parliament, was accused of assaulting a policeman.

In the central hilly country area of Passara, two ministers Arumugam Thondaman and Vadivel Suresh were involved in an intra- party clash for preference votes, said the police.

Thondaman's supporters said Suresh attacked them while Suresh claimed that an electoral office of his was destroyed by Thondaman 's supporters.

Thondaman and Suresh are fellow candidates of the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance from the central district of Nuwara Eliya.

Meanwhile, the police election chief Gamini Navarate appealed to party leaders and candidates to refrain from intra-party violence.

In Sri Lanka, it is common for candidates from one party to vie each other for preference votes.

Each voter is eligible to mark three preference votes for three candidates of their choice. Candidates with highest number of preference votes are appointed based on the proportional representation system of elections.

The police said more than 50 complaints had been recorded on election related violence and most of them have been incidents of intra-party violence.

Source: Xinhua
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