Sri Lanka ready for parliamentary polls: officials

09:45, April 08, 2010      

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Officials from Sri Lanka's Elections Department said on Wednesday that everything has been ready for the island's first post-civil war parliamentary election which will be carried out from 7 a.m. (0130 GMT) to 4 p.m. (1030 GMT) on Thursday at 11,098 polling centers in the country.

Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake told reporters that the election would be held according to the 2008 Voters Register.

"Voters who have their National Identity Card, Passport, Religious Identity Card, Elder Identity Card, Pension ID card, Driving License or the temporary identity card which were issued especially for voting, are eligible to vote at tomorrow's poll," said Dissanayake.

The elections chief said 123,000 public servants are to be deployed for election duty on Thursday.

He said there are six special polling centers in the north central Anuradhapura district for civilians displaced by the final battles between the government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009.

Chief of the Police Elections Bureau Gamini Navarathna said about 70,000 police and Army personnel will be deployed for the security on the day prior to the election, Election Day and the following day.

Navarathna said normally two armed police officers are attached to a polling center, but it has been increased up to five in threatened polling centers.

He said special police mobile units are also operating around the country in the election period.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa dissolved the island's parliament in February shortly after his landslide victory at the Jan. 26 presidential election when he defeated former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka by about 1.8 million votes.

The Elections Department said 7,620 candidates from 36 accepted political parties and 301 independent groups would be contesting this year's election.

The new 225-member legislature is scheduled to hold its first session on April 22.

Source: Xinhua


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