Sri Lankans hold first post war general election (2)

16:53, April 08, 2010      

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Out of the 36 political parties in the race, the main contenders are the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), the main opposition United National Party (UNP) and the newly formed Democratic National Alliance headed by the leftist JVP or the People's Liberation Front. The first election result will be released by the midnight of Thursday or in the wee hours of Friday, Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake said.

The elections commissioner has deployed over 58,000 police personnel for election duty. In addition, the Army will also be deployed in strength to assist the police to prevent possible incidents at polling stations.

The police's elite Special Task Force will be deployed at polling stations where certain incidents had been reported during earlier elections, Dissanayake said.

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 election campaign of the most crucial general elections in recent times was marred not by inter-party violence as usual but by intra-party rivalry, analysts say.

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