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Sunday, 30 March 2014

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Western and Southern Provincial Council elections:

UPFA takes early lead

No major incidents - Elections Commissioner:

Voter turnout around 55% - PAFFREL:

The ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) took an early lead in the postal votes at the Western and Southern Provincial Council elections held yesterday. Early election results at the time of going to press indicated another landslide victory for the UPFA.

Voting for the two Provincial Councils concluded at 4 pm yesterday. Voters cast their votes in a peaceful atmosphere with a relatively high voter turnout reported in almost all districts – Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara in the Western PC and Galle, Matara, Hambantota in the Southern PC, election officials and observers said.

According to the election observers, the overall voter turnout of the two provinces was around 60 percent in almost all districts. Elections were conducted in a peaceful atmosphere with no major incidents reported. At the conclusion of the voting at 4 pm, the local election monitor PAFFREL forecast a 55 to 60 percent voter turnout in the two provinces.

PAFFREL stated that the voter turnout in Colombo was only 49 per ent while the highest percentage was recorded in the Hambantota District (61%). A voter percentage of 58% has been recorded in the Matara District, 55% in the Galle District, 57% in the Gampaha District and 58% in the Kalutara District.

Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said that no major incident was reported on election day.

Only a single election violence incident was reported when supporters of two rival political parties clashed in the Kankanamgoda Road area in Beruwala. However, police said the situation was brought under control following the intervention of the police and STF personnel.

“Compared to previous elections, a lower number of complaints were received by the Elections Department regarding election law violations during the elections date , the Commissioner said. Election observers said voter turnout increased in the afternoon.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa cast his vote at the polling booth at Medamulana in Weeraketiya around 7.45 am yesterday along with several Ministers and UPFA Hambantota district parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa.

Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe cast his vote at a polling centre at Thurstan College, Colombo 7 while JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva cast his vote at the polling centre at Swarnabimbaramaya in Beruwala.

According to a spokesman for the Election Secretariat, there were 4,253 polling centres in the six districts of the two provinces with 3,794 candidates vying for 155 seats in the two Provincial Councils. Twenty-four political parties and 42 independent groups fielded candidates for the Western and Southern PC polls.

According to the spokesman all arrangements were in place to take the ballot boxes to the counting centres yesterday evening under police escort and counting was due to begin around 5 pm yesterday.

The counting centres in the Colombo District were set up at D. S. Senanayake College, Royal College and Isipathana College. Two counting centres in the Gampaha district were set up at the Siyane College of Education and Bandaranayake Vidyalaya.

The Pasdunrata College of Education and Tissa Vidyalaya functioned as counting centres in the Kalutara district.

The Galle district counting centres were set up at the Southlands College and Technical College while Technical College in Medawatta and Rohana Vidyalaya in Wellamadama functioned as counting centres. Hambantota District counting centre had been set up at the Suchi National School.

The Elections Commissioner said except for Colombo and Gampaha districts, preferential votes in other districts will be announced by 12 noon today.

One hundred and two members for the Western Provincial Council and 53 members for the Southern Provincial Council will be elected and four bonus seats would be given including two for each province for the winning parties. Recognised political parties and Independent groups had fielded 2,743 candidates in the Western Province and 1,051 candidates in the Southern Province.

Over 4,024,614 people in the Western Province and 1,873,804 people in the Southern Province were eligible to vote at yesterday’s PC elections at 4253 polling centres. In addition, 70,000 Government officers and 26,000 Police officers had been assigned on election duty. The police had also placed special security arrangements including mobile check-ups at polling booths.

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